On Monday 22 March, the APPG on Global Education and the International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd) joined forces to organise an exchange event where parliamentarians from the United Kingdom and Kenyan parliaments met to discuss the importance of financing education including via a fully funded Global Partnership for Education. The governments of the UK and Kenya will co-host the Global Partnership for Education’s financing summit in London in July.
Attendees heard from a series of speakers who spoke about the impact of COVID-19 has had on education in Kenya, the UK and across the world. Speakers encouraged parliamentarians to consider how they can use their roles as policy makers, legislators and advocates to champion education, and ensure that education financing is protected both nationally and internationally.
Stephen Twigg, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and former UK MP reflected on the powerful relationship between the UK and Kenya as partners and joint advocates for the right to education. Mr Twigg particularly noted the opportunity in the 2021 replenishment campaign of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
“GPE seeks to marry international support through development assistance with domestic resource mobilisation in countries, and Kenya is a great case study of GPE’s success.”
Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President of Kenya, shared the ambitions of the Kenyan government, stating Kenya’s commitment to ensuring that all children across the world receive a quality education.
Alicia Herbert OBE, the Director for Education, Children, and Youth at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office provided a powerful call to action to parliamentary attendees, reminding them that whilst COVID-19 has set educational back, even prior to the pandemic 9 in 10 children in low-income countries were unable to read a simple age-appropriate text by the age of 10.
MPs were also joined by two passionate youth advocates for education – Tierna, a campaign champion with the Send My Friend to School coalition, and Cynthia Nyongesa, a Youth Leader with the Global Partnership for Education.
Tierna reminded parliamentarians that:
“A good education is constructive in helping to develop the future of a person. All children and young people deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and achieve the best education outcome possible.”
Tierna’s reflections were complemented by Cynthia, who shared her work to advocate for her peers across the world through her digital platform, Cynthia UNTAMED. She also recognised the vital role of GPE in supporting education in Kenya:
“I acknowledge the GPE in supporting Kenya’s primary education development programme which addresses barriers to learning. Significant strides have been made in gender equality with the enrolment of girls and boys almost equal.”
Parliamentarians responded considering their role as advocates and how they can work together to mobilise support for GPE’s ambition of raising at least US$5 billion in the 2021-25 replenishment campaign.
Senator Dr. Alice Milgo, Chair of the Kenyan Senate Education Committee, considered the role of parliamentary committees as vehicles for oversight and accountability for government’s work on education. She encouraged her fellow parliamentarians in both Kenya and the UK to continue to combine their role as representatives with their legislative role to ensure that commitments to quality and inclusive education are enshrined in law.
The remarks shared by parliamentarians demonstrated their commitment to both the replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, and education financing more broadly.
The GPE replenishment campaign will culminate in a summit on 28 and 29 July 2021, in the UK, which will be co-hosted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.