Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, is a UAE-based global philanthropic organization working towards providing children in developing countries with access to quality education through the design and funding of programs that are integrated, impactful, sustainable and scalable. Education is more than a human right, it is an irrevocable asset. Yet, 124 million children and young adolescents around the world don’t go to school and a further 250 million children cannot adequately read and write.
Education is one of the most effective tools to break the cycle of poverty, a belief held by our founder His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It was from this belief and the desire to give children - regardless of their gender, nationality, race or religion - the opportunity to become positive contributors to society, that His Highness established Dubai Cares on September 19, 2007.
Our mission to increase children’s access to quality education is guided by a common principle: children ready for schools, schools ready for children, parents and community ready to play their role. Understanding that contexts vary and that what works in one setting may not be effective in another, we develop interventions that follow fundamental elements such as safe and conducive school environments with access to clean water and adequate sanitation facilities that promote regular attendance. Realizing the irreplaceable value of teachers, we understand that when teachers are adequately trained, supported and incentivized, we can achieve gains in learning outcomes. Similarly, education systems strengthened with governance, monitoring capability and utilizing a curriculum that enables effective teaching and learning, enable us to attain better performance. Most importantly, we see that when children go through early childhood education prior to primary education as well as receive adequate nutrition, basic healthcare and information, we can achieve improved attendance and academic progression. These elements are translated into our programs and compose our key portfolios of Quality of Education & Learning, School Health & Nutrition, School Infrastructure, Education in Emergencies, as well as our investment in evidence-based programming and action research; 65% of Dubai Cares programs are based on the existing body of evidence, while 35% of them contribute to the global evidence-base.
Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme in all Dubai Cares’ education programs with an approach that aims to secure equal access for boys and girls to safe learning environments with adequate facilities, materials and academic support from gender sensitized teachers and communities. The organization strives to provide equal opportunities for girls and boys by improving the quality, relevance and gender sensitivity of teaching and learning.
Central to Dubai Cares’ approach is a focus on monitoring, evaluation and learning. This ongoing process enables the organization to gather evidence collected during regular field visits, relevant reports by implementing partners, as well as reports by academic institutions that Dubai Cares appoints to independently evaluate its programs. Dubai Cares uses this knowledge to design and fund innovative and stimulating programs that test alternative models and hypothesis to increase the impact of its interventions. Monitoring, evaluation and learning helps Dubai Cares understand what works and what does not. It ensures the organization’s ability to adapt to changes, mobilize more resources, develop innovative approaches and better utilize funds.
Dubai Cares programs aim to provide and validate evidence that facilitates informed decision-making, influences government policies and attracts international donors. This process enables a transition from program-based interventions to national, regional or international program scale-ups through co-funding and leverage funding.
Over the past 9 years, Dubai Cares has successfully launched education programs reaching over 16 million beneficiaries in 45 developing countries in partnership with UN aid agencies and international and local NGOs such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Plan International, World Food Program (WFP), Pratham, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, Associates in Research and Education for Development (ARED), CARE International, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children among others.
Through programs that are based on, or contribute to the evidence base, Dubai Cares drills down to the essence of the issue, taking the lead in dealing with lesser known obstacles to education such as lack of gender-sensitive sanitation facilities or adequate student nutrition or health. As a result, the organization has managed to increase the level of enrollment in schools, reduced dropout rates, improved the quality of education, assured gender equality across all programs and contributed to the global body of evidence-based best practices.
With the support of the UAE community, Dubai Cares is making a difference in the lives of children and their communities by:
To date, Dubai Cares has supported education programs in Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.
Shaping the Global Education Agenda
Globally, Dubai Cares plays an important role in advancing the global education agenda, particularly by taking on the role of technical convener on key education issues. For instance, Dubai Cares has been supporting the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF), contributing to the development of learning metrics for delivering quality education and establishing a defined mechanism to influence the post-2015 education framework.
Dubai Cares was also selected by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon to join as a partner in his 5-year Global Education First Initiative which was launched in September 2012 during the week of the UN General Assembly in New York to ensure quality, relevant and transformative education for all children across the world.
As part of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Paris during April 2014, Dubai Cares joined a global alliance led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with 13 leading pharmaceutical companies, global health organizations, private foundations and donors, and governments pledging support to reduce the global burden of NTDs. One of Dubai Cares’ strategic approaches to improving student enrollment and learning outcomes is through an integrated school health and nutrition model that is made up of school-based deworming activities, school feeding and WASH (Water Sanitation & Hygiene) in schools.
Dubai Cares has also supported efforts by representatives from the United Nations and other relevant agencies, to transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years. Dubai Cares is currently working together with UN agencies as well as international and local NGOs to support countries in their efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) – to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. This is ensured by designing and funding of integrated, impactful, sustainable and scalable programs.
Education in Emergencies
In order to address the critical need to provide quality education to children affected by crisis, in September 2015 Dubai Cares co-hosted an event titled “Education: A Lifeline, Not a Luxury” on the sidelines of the week of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York. During the event, Dubai Cares highlighted the importance of education in crisis areas, and announced that it will be championing education in emergencies globally by providing quality education to children and adolescents who have been forced out of school by conflict and emergency.
In September 2016, Dubai Cares announced a new research envelope known as Evidence for Education in Emergencies (E3) during the week of the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The launch event was hosted jointly with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), focusing on generating ideas on how to inform critically needed research, which in turn would inform political decision makers working to create effective policies.
UAE Community Engagement
In the UAE, Dubai Cares engages residents through a series of volunteer, awareness and fundraising initiatives that are linked to its global mandate. These initiatives include the annual Walk for Education, Volunteer Emirates, Volunteer Globally and Ramadan Campaign.