Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has officially announced today the allocation of AED 73,470,000 (USD 20,000,000) for Education in Emergencies. The commitment will initially cover 3 programs in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone, in addition to future programs to be announced in the coming year. The press conference was attended by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares and Jennifer Sklar, Deputy Director of Education at the International Rescue Committee. Also in attendance were key campaign donors, Mohammad Al Ansari, Chairman & Managing Director, Al Ansari Exchange, Salim M.A., Director, Lulu Group International and Noor Al Ghafari on behalf of Waleed Al Ghafari.
During the press conference, Dubai Cares also launched a new community awareness and fundraising campaign, known as #LastILearned, in support of its Education in Emergencies strategy. The campaign will run for a period of one month and aims to raise funds and build awareness around the plight of children affected by conflict and natural disasters. Education is a fundamental right of every child, yet in times of conflict and disaster access to education gets disrupted and in many cases results in lost generations of children and youth. Dubai Cares’ #LastILearned campaign takes away the numbers and tells the real stories of the children affected by emergencies such as the story of 15-year-old Nadia who has not been receiving an education since the beginning of the Syrian conflict and who shares the last thing she learned in school.
Emphasizing the importance of Education in Emergencies, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said, “Despite the growing number of children caught in conflict and natural disasters, statistics show only one per cent of overall humanitarian aid is spent on education. This makes the needs of children living in fragile states an urgent priority for us. We need to show greater commitment to the children and their parents who have voiced their need for education despite their uncertain conditions. We have to unite and act faster than ever to ensure that children’s education is not interrupted, resulting in generations missing out on an education they so desperately need. The opportunity costs of these years lost due to conflict and natural disasters is exceedingly high and we need to do everything we can to prevent it. My belief is that the adults of the future will be literate, only if all children of today get the education they deserve.”
In July 2015, during the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, Dubai Cares highlighted the need for a greater focus to be placed on the various fragile and conflict-affected states and situations. The UAE global philanthropic organization then announced in September 2015 on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week in New York that it would champion Education in Emergencies in order to address the critical need to provide quality education to children affected by crisis. This was followed by an announcement in May 2016 at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, where Dubai Cares committed to increase the share of its Education in Emergencies programs to 33 per cent of its financial portfolio over the next two years, out of which 10 per cent of all funding for Education in Emergencies will be invested in research and evaluations. Also at the Summit, Dubai Cares was selected as a member of the newly formed High-Level Steering Group for the Education Cannot Wait fund and committed AED 9,183,750 (USD 2,500,000) to support the initial set-up of the fund’s secretariat. Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund to prioritize education in humanitarian action. Finally, in September this year, during the 71st UNGA, Dubai Cares announced a Research Envelope worth AED 36,735,000 (USD 10,000,000) which aims to generate more and better evidence to inform decision and policy-makers on what works and what models of delivery of education in emergencies offer the greatest potential for impact.
Since the beginning of the year, representatives from Dubai Cares have been visiting countries and regions around the world to witness firsthand the struggles faced by children and young adolescents caught up in conflicts, gathering and feeding back information that guided the organization’s strategy for Education in Emergencies as well as provided insight for the #LastILearned campaign.
Today one in 113 people are either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum, and more than half of the world’s refugees are children. The average length of displacement today has reached 17 years and the average length of conflict today is 37 years. According to the United Nations, girls are almost 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in conflict-affected countries and adolescent girls are nearly 90 per cent more likely to be out of secondary school in conflict-affected countries than their peers in stable countries.
Al Gurg continued, “#LastILearned is an extremely novel campaign that I have no doubt will prove to be highly effective and impactful. The problems faced by children and adolescents impacted by conflict and natural disasters cannot be ignored, and we at Dubai Cares intend to do everything we can to help them. The Education in Emergencies programs we are announcing today are just a start. We are committed to providing children affected by emergencies the education they need to give them hope, make them more resilient and help them achieve their full potential.”
The new programs in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone, are part of “Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action” (3EA), which is a new initiative that brings together Dubai Cares, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Global TIES for Children /New York University (NYU) in a pioneering three-year initiative that seeks to have a catalytic effect on the Education in Emergencies sector by testing the impact of key interventions in these emergency settings. All three programs aim to help determine which interventions are most effective for improving children’s learning outcomes and under what circumstances, thus generating evidence for global education actors to ensure that children in crisis-affected settings attend safe and predictable schools and gain the reading, math and social-emotional skills they need to thrive and succeed in school and life.
Jennifer Sklar, Deputy Director, Education at International Rescue Committee said, “We are grateful to Dubai Cares for their strong commitment to education in emergencies. Through the Education in Emergencies: Evidence for Action (3EA) initiative we will ensure that children and youth exposed to years of war-related traumas will have access to safe and predictable learning opportunities that teach them both the academic and social-emotional skills they need to learn and thrive. We hope this initiative will jumpstart change in the humanitarian sector and develop the knowledge and evidence we need to inform global policy and practice.”
The AED 8,816,400 (USD 2,400,000) 3EA program in Lebanon is two-fold and aims to improve the reading, math and social-emotional outcomes for 4,600 highly vulnerable Syrian refugee children aged 6-16; strengthen the capacity of 50 teachers in learning in a healing classroom; and improve parent engagement in children’s learning and protection.
Similarly the AED 7,714,350 (USD 2,100,000) 3EA program in Niger, aims to improve the reading, math, and social-emotional outcomes for 4,000 highly vulnerable Nigerian refugee children aged 6-14 who have been displaced by the insecurity caused by Boko Haram’s reign across the border in Nigeria, as well as provide tutoring support and strengthen the capacity of 200 teachers and education authorities. Furthermore, parent and community engagement in children’s learning and protection will be strengthened and low-intensity targeted (LIT) interventions such as mindfulness and Brain Games will also be integrated into the children’s tutoring programs.
The AED 7,347,000 (USD 2,000,000) “Learn Safe in Bo” 3EA program in Sierra Leone, aims to support the Ministry of Education in its near- and long-term goals for improved education quality and learning outcomes by ensuring that at least 4,000 children (6-16 years old) whose education was interrupted during the Ebola crisis attend safe, quality and predictable primary and lower secondary education in the Bo district. The program will allow children to acquire the reading, writing, and socio-emotional skills that they need in order to mitigate the effects of adversity in order to thrive.
The UAE community, both individuals and corporates are invited to get involved in the campaign by:
Dubai Cares’ #LastILearned has already received support from various organizations and individuals in the UAE such as Al Ansari Exchange, Chalhoub Group, Lulu Group International, Majed Al Kazem and Waleed Al Ghafari. The campaign has also received in-kind support from Arabian Radio Network (ARN), Dubai Channels Network, Etisalat, Hills Advertising, ITP Publishing Group, J. Walter Thompson (JWT) and Vox Cinemas.
Mohammad Ali Al Ansari, Chairman and Managing Director, Al Ansari Exchange, said: “#LastILearned” campaign is a very noble initiative that aims to provide education to the children who are affected by conflicts or natural disasters. We strongly support Dubai Cares in their highly benevolent initiative ensuring that children in crisis-affected areas have easy, safe and quick access to quality education and learning so that they can overcome the challenges and become successful in their lives. We have committed to Dubai Cares through donations in the past and will continue to offer our support for their philanthropic efforts in the future, as we firmly believe that education and health are every child’s fundamental right and are essential for the progress of the global economy.”
Salim M.A., Director, Lulu Group International said, “In line with the vision of our Chairman & Managing Director, Mr. Yusuff Ali M.A., we at Lulu group are committed to supporting humanitarian initiatives, particularly those supported by the UAE leadership, that bring drastic changes in the life of children. This campaign by Dubai Cares is one such great initiative and we are proud to support Dubai Cares in this initiative as well as others in the past few years. We firmly believe that no matter what turmoil is affecting the world today, a child should not be deprived of education as it is the only way to bring about a positive change and peace in our society and the world at large.”
Over the past 9 years, Dubai Cares has successfully launched education programs reaching over 16 million beneficiaries in 45 developing countries. With the support of the UAE community, Dubai Cares is making a difference in the lives of children and their communities by building and renovating 1,580 classrooms and schools; providing more than 770 water wells and potable water sources; constructing more than 5,900 latrines in schools; providing nutritious food to 482,350 children in schools, training over 63,990 teachers; keeping more than 34.4 million children free from intestinal worms through de-worming activities; distributing over 2.8 million books written in local languages; and establishing over 5,100 Parent-Teacher Associations.
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