During many years of war in Sudan virtually all schools outside the major cities were destroyed. In the meantime for them to be rebuilt, almost all schooling is taking place under the trees.
Photo: David Isaksson, Global Reporting
Investing in education is of fundamental importance for poverty reduction as well as long-term sustainable development. It gives people the tools necessary to build an equal, peaceful and democratic society. However, a long-term perspective is needed in order to be able to see how investing in knowledge and learning can yield concrete results.
Basic education, and a population that is able to read and write are key to economic growth and political and social development. People who don’t have access to education have limited opportunities to influence their lives and take part in different activities in their community. Better education has also shown to lead to better health, gender equality and democratisation. One of the UN Millennium Development Goals foresees that in 2015 all children should get a chance to go to school. But to reach that goal, additional resources must be allocated for education.
Roughly two thirds of Sida's development aid for education is channelled through bilateral aid to education sectors in partner countries. Afghanistan is the single largest recipient where Sida, among others, supports the so-called Community Based Education programmes. The aim is to bring the school to children, as an effective way to reach especially those girls who cannot get to school otherwise. Other countries where Sida supports education include: Cambodia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Bolivia and Kosovo.
The second third of Sida's support is awarded to global programmes, such as UNESCO’s Global Initiative Education For All (EFA) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
Experience shows that when women are educated and have a greater influence at home and in the society, more children go to school, fewer are hungry and families and thus society’s economy as a whole is better. In 2012, almost one third of Sida's overall support was allocated to education initiatives that had improved gender equality as their main purpose.
Enhanced opportunities for poor people to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and to obtain a good education, is one of the subsidiary targets in the Swedish government's aid policy framework.