LEGO Foundation Awards $100 Million to Launch Play Initiative

LEGO Foundation Awards $100 Million to Launch Play Initiative

The International Rescue Committee has announced a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation to bring play-based early learning to refugee children.

Led by IRC, in partnership with War Child, Plan International, Ubongo, Behavioural Insights Team, and Innovations for Poverty Action, the PlayMatters initiative will provide early-learning solutions for pre-primary and primary-school-age children affected by humanitarian crises in three East African countries, including Ethiopia and Uganda, and help them build critical social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and creative skills. The initiative ultimately hopes to deliver positive educational outcomes for approximately 800,000 children and reach approximately 10,000 pre-primary and primary school teachers and personnel, as well as 170,000 primary caregivers, who will receive training focused on delivering learning through play to children who have experienced adversity.

According to IRC, more than sixty-two million children have been prevented from attending school in countries affected by war and displacement, while many others receive a poor-quality education on account of humanitarian crises, yet education has received less than 3 percent of all humanitarian aid in recent years. The initiative is a direct response to the Global Compact for Refugees' call for the international community to support governments in the Global South in addressing humanitarian crises and the many challenges they present.

"We know that nearly half of all refugees are children, but humanitarian funding still thinks of education as just an add-on. We need big solutions with bold ideas that put education at the forefront of humanitarian response," said IRC president and CEO David Miliband. "With the LEGO Foundation's investment in play-based learning and the IRC's expertise in reaching the most vulnerable, this partnership has the potential to reshape education for a generation of refugee children."