Opportunity Summary: Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies is governed by representatives from Members States, multilateral funds, UN agencies, private sector and civil society organisations in a High-Level Steering Group (HLSG) and Executive Committee (ExCom).

The ECW Operational Manual states that at least four civil society organisation representatives are selected to ‘represent northern, southern and youth organisations’ in the HLSG and ExCom.


1.   Four sub-groups forming the ECW civil society constituency

Four new sub-groups will be created under an overall umbrella civil society constituency. Each sub-group will elect a representative organisation for the HLSG and ExCom (two people from the organisation, one for HLSG and other for ExCom) through a transparent, open election process.

The proposed four CSO sub-groups are the following and should have diversity across regions, language, gender, disability, organisational size, etc.

  • 1 x National/local/regional NGO/CSO/network
  • 1 x Teacher organisation
  • 1 x youth/student-led organisation
  • 1 x INGO/international/northern network 


ecw cso graphic

1.1         Terms of reference for the membership of the sub-groups


For all sub-groups

  1. A sub-group only becomes operational when it has a minimum of 10 registered organisation
  2. If membership of any sub-group falls below 10, its positions within ECW governance will be unfilled
  3. Membership of sub-groups is open to civil society organisations only: for-profit/corporate entities and foundations are not eligible for
  4. Membership of sub-groups remains open and new members can join at any
  5. An organisation can only be a member of one sub-group.



Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) including community and faith-based organisations, which are headquartered and operate in an aid- recipient, developing country and have programmes in the field of education (formal or non- formal) at the national or subnational/local level are welcomed to be a member of this sub-group. National NGOs and CSO in crisis-affected countries are strongly encouraged to join this sub- group. NGOs which are affiliated to an international NGO, a commercial corporation or its foundation, which have their headquarters in a developed country, cannot be a member of this sub-group.*



INGOs, international and northern networks are non-profit institutions (including faith based organisations) operating in at least two continents which may develop, finance or implement activities in the domain of education as either their primary or secondary mission and are based in an aid-giving country.*

*Using ISAC Definitions



Teacher organisations are registered teacher trade unions, professional associations or their federations or confederations composed predominantly of teachers, education support personnel or/and researchers working in the field of education. Member Organisations of Education International are automatically members of the teacher organisations sub-group.



Membership of the youth/student-led sub-group is open to organisations which meet the following criteria:

Organisations which are youth- or student-led: this means where the organisation is led predominantly by young people aged 30 or below. For example, at least 51% of the organisation’s membership or board must be young people aged 30 or below, or for membership organisations, at least 51% of your membership must be youth- or student-led. For grassroots or informal groups, at least 51% of the people who make decisions regarding the work of the organisation must be aged 30 or below.

And one or both of the following: 

  • Organisations which work in the field of education: this includes both formal education (such as school/university-based groups) and informal education (such as community-based groups working on education issues).

  • Organisations which work in or on emergency contexts: this includes organisations of any size working directly with displaced populations or advocating for the rights of displaced populations.

Organisations do not have to be legally or formally registered to be a member of the youth/student- led sub-group.


2.    Job description and role specification of elected representatives

Elected organisations will serve a two-year term, renewable once by re-election should they wish.

Each elected organisation must have significant experience (at least 5 years for the INGO, national/local NGO and teacher sub-groups) in either programmatic or advocacy (ideally both) on education in emergencies (e.g. conflict, displacement, environmental crisis). This is an essential criteria for nomination.

The civil society representatives should work to support ECW deliver upon its 5 Strategic Objectives through administering the constituencies' activity towards three pillars (with further details below):

  1. Representing the views of the constituency/sub-groups in the HLSG & ExCom
  2. Coordinating civil society advocacy in support of ECW and education in
  3. Engaging with the ECW Secretariat to strengthen ECW’s systems, process and policies, including through ensuring that CSOs are represented on ECW Reference


a.      Representing the views of the constituency in the HLSG & ExCom

The most important aspect of these roles is to effectively and accurately represent the views of their civil society constituency/sub-groups, prioritising the needs of people living in crisis and emergency settings. HLSG & ExCom members should have a clear understanding of whom they represent as well as the constituency/sub-group’s expectations for their role on the HLSG & ExCom. Once in post, representatives must consult widely before expressing the position of the constituency/sub-groups, and then follow up with effective communication to ensure discussion and engagement on important issues and ECW decisions e.g. organising and facilitating regular calls, actively reaching out to seek input, and using online communication tools to communicate frequently with the constituency/sub-groups.

The ExCom members are responsible for managing the constituency/their sub-groups and leading consultations among the constituency/their sub-group to determine a common position and to build consensus. They must also be prepared to represent differences of views that may exist within the constituency and sub-groups and will be called to vote on ExCom decisions on behalf of its sub-group, if necessary.


b.     Coordinating civil society advocacy in support of ECW

Civil society representatives should coordinate with the constituency to advocate for more funding for education in emergencies and support ECW with developing and implementing advocacy strategies in support of resource mobilisation. Representatives should coordinate advocacy action (such as joint statements, donor outreach, social media, public mobilisation) to call upon donors and humanitarian community to invest in the ECW Global Trust Fund and/or in-country through aligning their investment behind Multi-Year Resilience Plans.


c.      Engaging with the ECW Secretariat to strengthen ECW’s systems, processes and policies, including ensuring that CSOs are represented on ECW Reference Groups

Ensure that all ECW Reference Groups include civil society representatives by undertaking an appropriate process such as requesting expressions of interest from sub-groups/constituency. Collect feedback from the constituency on how to best operationalise ECW’s processes and undertake proactive outreach to ECW and other ExCom and HLSG members to improve ECW’s systems, processes and systems to ensure smooth delivery and coordination at global and country level. CSO representatives are expected to help bridging the gap between global policy- makers and in-country implementation.


Minimum Expectations of HLSG Candidates

  • Experience as a Chief Executive Officer/leader of a civil society organisation or network
  • Commitment to fulfil the role as per the HLSG Terms of Reference (see accompanying documentation)
  • Demonstrated dedication to the cause & extensive experience and current work focus in the education in emergencies sector
  • Committed to working with their ExCom representative in their role.
  • Make every effort to effectively and accurately represent their sub-groups perspectives in ECW face-to-face meetings, teleconferences and online communication, throughout the two-year term
  • Knowledge of and willingness to learn about ECW, its mission and processes, particularly country-level processes such as local education groups (LEGs), Education Cluster, Education in Emergencies Working Groups (EiEWGs), as well as general issues in the field of education in emergencies
  • Knowledge of financing for education in emergencies policy trends, including aid architecture
  • Strong communication skills in order to fully participate at face-to-face meetings at a high- level
  • Strategic thinking, political understanding, and ability to represent civil society at high levels
  • The ability to operate in English
  • Willingness to meet the time commitments required to ensure effective representation of civil society on the ECW HLSG. An estimate of the time needed:
    • Preparation/reading ahead of meetings: approximately 1/2 day ahead of meetings
    • Consultation & feedback with ExCom Board Member: Regular/constant
    • Attendance at meetings: twice a year, 1 hour per meeting
    • Liaison/lobbying of other ECW HLSG members: Around 2-4 working days per year
    • Attendance at extraordinary meetings: up to 1-2 days per year


Minimum Expectations of ExCom Candidates

  • ExCom are senior working level representatives.
  • Commitment to fulfil the role as per the ExCom Terms of Reference (see accompanying documentation)
  • Demonstrated dedication to the cause and extensive experience and current work focus in the education in emergencies sector.
  • Experience seeking input across a constituency, network or coalition. Facilitation and consensus-building skills.
  • Committed to sharing information and reporting back on important matters
  • Make every effort to effectively and accurately represent civil society in ECW face-to-face meetings, teleconferences and online communication, throughout the term
  • Knowledge of and willingness to learn about ECW, its mission and processes, particularly country-level processes such as LEGs, Education Cluster, EiEWGs, as well as general issues in the field of education in emergencies
  • Knowledge of financing for education in emergencies policy trends, including aid architecture.
  • Strong communication skills in order to fully participate at face-to-face and other meetings of the ExCom, and to contribute to any ongoing written communications between ExCom members.
  • The ability to operate in English.
  • Willingness to meet the time commitments required to ensure effective representation of civil society on the ExCom. An estimate of the time needed is 25% level of effort:
    • Preparation/reading ahead of meetings: approximately 1 day per meeting
    • Consultation with sub-group members: Regular/constant
    • Engagement with HLSG representatives: Regular/constant
    • Attendance at meetings: twice a year, 2-3 days per meeting
    • Participation in ExCom teleconference meetings: 1-3 hours per call, calls happen roughly once every 1-2 months
    • Feedback and engagement with to sub-group members: Regular/constant
    • Liaison/lobbying of other ExCom members: Around 5 working days per year
    • Attendance at extraordinary meetings: up to 2-5 days per year.


Role purpose of the for ExCom Members

  • Ensure new members can join the sub-groups. Plan the agenda, lead discussion points on monthly constituency calls.
  • Represent the views of the constituency in ExCom meetings and discussions, both face- to-face and on conference calls/online.
  • Brief and prepare their HLSG member ahead of HLSG meetings and regularly keep them updated on ExCom and ECW news and progress.
  • Share all relevant information, including ExCom papers (where permitted) as soon as possible before meetings, and to report back regularly to the constituency/sub-group that has elected them. They must also be prepared to respond to queries and provide advice on an ad-hoc basis through dedicated online mailing lists and discussion forums. The post- holders must also seek to actively encourage debate and engagement within the constituency on key ECW issues or other matters to be raised.
  • Each ExCom meeting attracts a thick file of papers which require the post-holder to have a good degree of technical knowledge of education in emergencies programming/coordination/advocacy/ funding/ insider knowledge.
  • To note, ECW papers are provided in English. There may be financial, or time support available from ECW for translation into other languages.
  • ECW has a number of Reference Groups made up of representatives usually delegated by ExCom members to ensure a varied perspective. Each group should include civil society representatives and therefore ExCom representatives play a role in ensuring this happens. Representatives should issue a transparent opportunity and process to the constituency using the Reference Group Terms of Reference as shared by the ECW Secretariat. All civil society representatives on Reference Groups should keep the constituency updated on group activity.
  • The posts are voluntary and no remuneration is provided for undertaking these roles.


During the nomination process, candidates for the elections and their representatives must confirm their commitment to:

  • Being available to participate in meetings and actively consult with the sub-group
  • Acquiring and maintaining knowledge of ECW
  • Willingness to be an advocate on behalf of civil society


Support available to civil society

  • If funding is available, ECW may be able to offer some funding for Developing/Emergency Setting civil society representatives (travel/accommodation costs) to take part in in-person HLSG and ExCom meetings.
  • If either or both of the elected organisation’s representatives from the youth/student-led sub-group is below the age of 18, Section 4.2 of the child protection and safeguarding policy of 100 Million will be applied.
  • All of the organisations supporting civil society within ECW governance are strongly advocating for greater inclusion by calling for ECW to operate in multiple languages. However, at present, the ECW governance structures and meetings, including all documentation, are only available in English. As such, election organisation's representatives must be able to work in English.


3.   Election process

What entities are we electing?

The candidates: each sub-group must elect one organisation to represent them in the ECW governance structure; candidate eligibility is detailed below.

The nominated representatives: Each candidate must nominate two representatives - one for the HLSG, one for ExCom - whose names and relevant information must be included in the candidate manifesto.

The election: subgroups will elect one of the candidates on the understanding that the named nominated representatives will take the seats in the ECW governance structure.


Eligibility for elected organisations of each sub-group

Organisations which wish to stand for election to represent a sub-group in the ECW governance structure must meet all of the following criteria:

  • must be a registered member of the sub-group for which it wishes to stand
  • must have extensive and current experience of working in education in emergencies contexts.

In addition:

  • For the INGO/international/Northern sub-group candidates must have significant operations in developing, humanitarian and crisis-affected countries e.g. across at least 2 continents.
  • For the National NGO/CSO candidates must be located in a country/region with recognised humanitarian emergency.
  • For the youth/student-led sub-group candidates must work in education in emergencies, but this can be formal or informal education.
  • For the teacher sub-group candidates must work in education in emergencies.


How are we electing?

  • The nomination process will be open for at least two weeks.
  • The elections are held over a two-week period.
  • Incumbent elected organisations, the Global Campaign for Education, Education International, 100 Million, Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and Education Cluster will be responsible for the promotion of the elections, through soliciting members to join the sub-groups and soliciting civil society nominees.
  • The election will use the alternative voting system, which allows each member of the sub- group to vote for as many candidates as they wish in order of preference.
  • Votes are counted by preference; to win, the nominee must reach a quota of 50%+1.
  • If no candidate reaches the quota in the first round of the count, the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated and the next preference votes from their ballots will be redistributed, and so on until a candidate reaches the quota.
  • Voting takes place by secret ballot electronically but voting papers will be released to candidates if requested and the names of the organisations who have taken part in the election can be published.
  • The Returning Officers for the elections will be the Global Campaign for Education (INGO/international sub-group and NGO/local/regional CSO sub-group); Education International (teachers’ sub-group); and 100 Million (youth/student-led sub-group). INEE and the Global Education Cluster will act as independent observers for all elections.
  • While the elected organisations will take on the management of the sub-groups upon their induction, the Global Campaign for Education, Education International, and 100 Million will continue to act as Returning Officers for each subsequent election to avoid conflict of interest, unless a) they tender their resignation as Returning Officers to the constituency; b) these Terms of Reference are changed by a majority vote of all elected organisations within the civil society constitution; or c) a majority vote of no-confidence in any of the organisations as Returning Officer is made by the elected organisations as a result of any official complaint(s) made by members of the subgroup to INEE and the Global Education Cluster in their role as independent observers.


How do you stand for election?

  • Eligible organisations can nominate themselves and their named representatives for the HLSG & ExCom by completing a nomination form.
  • There is no requirement to be nominated and seconded by additional organisations.
  • When sending the nomination form, nominees must also complete a manifesto of 800 words (template included in the form) outlining their experience on education in emergencies and why they want to take on the role in line with the criteria above and ECW Terms of Reference for the HLSG & ExCom, including demonstrated commitment to right to education principles.
  • The manifesto documents for each sub-group will be circulated with the ballot form and must be submitted in English.
  • Nominees can use the voting period to campaign if they wish to.

Please note that ECW currently operates in English only and therefore speaking this language is important to effectively playing these roles. Elected civil society organisations should seek to translate communications if financial resources allow it.


4.   Resignations and No Confidence 

If an elected organisation’s representative resigns their seat, or is deemed to have resigned by leaving their organisation, or can no longer act as a member of the ECW HLSG or ExCom for any reason, their organisation should nominate a new named representative and inform the constituency.

Sub-groups are also able to declare no confidence in their elected organisations. If a member of the sub-group feels that their elected organisation is not performing their tasks adequately, that person can call for a vote of no confidence by proposing a motion to vote no confidence in a representative, which must:

  • Provide clear reasons for the motion – such as no communication or dialogue with the constituency/sub-group, voting against agreed constituency/sub-group policy during HLSG & ExCom meetings, repeated absence from HLSG & ExCom meetings
  • Be seconded by another sub-group member based in a different country.

The organisation will be sent the proposed vote of no confidence and be asked to prepare a 200- word statement in response to the motion.

The motion and the statement will be circulated to the sub-group full constituency with a two-week period for members to vote in favor or against the motion. The motion will require a two-thirds majority to be passed. If an organisation is asked to stand down following a vote of no confidence, a replacement will be sought by by-election.

If sub-groups have concerns about one of their elected organisation’s nominated representatives, a formal complaint procedure will apply.


5.   Ways of working/coordination 

For streamlined coordination and communication to and between the sub-groups, there will be one overall constituency listserv, within which four sub-groups will have their own listservs.


Managing data throughout election process

Data for each sub-group election will be maintained by an organisation which is fully compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, including the public availability of their GDPR compliance and privacy statements. For the youth/student-led sub-group, the organisation must also have an appropriate child protection and safeguarding policy for data protection purposes.

  • For the National/local NGO and INGO/international network sub-groups, data will be maintained by the Global Campaign for Education
  • For the youth/student-led subgroup, data will be maintained by 100 Million.
  • For the teacher subgroup, data will be maintained by Education International.


Managing data once elected organisations are in place

The elected organisations for each sub-group should comply by their national data protection regulations in order to maintain and protect the listserv for each sub-group.

The four CSO representatives are responsible for organising activities within the sub-groups they represent as needed (e.g setting ad hoc calls, separate consultations, proactive work and advocacy activities).


Potential CSO coordination role

In addition, ECW has shown interest in funding a CSO coordination role (estimated for 1-2 days a week, within one of the elected organisations, most likely the INGO) to be responsible for:

  • Setting up monthly CSO constituency call
  • Taking and sharing minutes from these calls
  • Acting as a conduit between ECW Secretariat and CSO representatives
  • Organising meetings/calls between the four CSO representatives
  • Sharing communications received from ECW (including ExCom papers), analysing them where possible and setting up processes for gathering feedback and organising consultations

The new elected representatives will need to take forward conversations with ECW on this new coordination role.