• 25 March 2014

Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organization working towards tackling poverty through education in developing countries, today announced a new AED 17 million (USD 4,614,533) holistic quality learning program in Pakistan at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD) 2014. Dubai Cares will implement the program in partnership with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), a long-standing collaborator in Pakistan.

The new program, which aligns with and supports the UN Secretary-General’s 5 year ‘Global Education First Initiative’, will promote education transitions from pre-primary to primary school for children, especially girls and vulnerable groups, and provide accelerated learning for thousands of out-of-school children. The 3-year program will directly benefit 385,800 school children across the Sindh and Punjab regions as well as two regions in Baluchistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: “Every child should have the opportunity to achieve personal, professional and social success. At Dubai Cares, we believe that the journey begins with strong primary education. This new program in Pakistan focuses on the critical aspect of helping pre-primary age children, especially girls and those from vulnerable groups, build up their foundational learning skills so that they are not at a disadvantage once they reach the primary school level. This in turn will help them successfully transition to higher educational levels, giving them a platform to hone their talents and grow to become national assets.”

Pakistan has made steady progress in ensuring universal education for its young citizens over the years; however, it still faces severe challenges in meeting the targets for universal primary education set under the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All program by the United Nations. The 2013 Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO) ranks Pakistan second in terms of the number of out of school children. The country is also dealing with low female literacy levels, compounded by low girls’ enrollment ratios at the primary level (overall 77% and 68% in rural areas). In addition, the educational system in Pakistan is crippled by poor standards in curriculum, resources and infrastructure, across both the private and public sectors. This program will build on the successes of Dubai Cares’ two existing programs in Pakistan, both of which place a strong emphasis on gender equality and the provision of safe learning environments.

The program will establish the framework for holistic experiential learning, support girl’s education and promote children’s transition from pre-primary to primary education. The program will also provide accelerated learning and support for out-of-school children to improve their learning levels. Additionally, the program will train teachers in hard-to-access areas, through a “Teachers Without Frontier” model and generate a culture of reading to improve learning and citizenship across Pakistan’s schools. From a monitoring and assessment perspective, the program will leverage and build consensus on measuring learning among the global and national educational community through the Learning Metrics Task Force.

Dubai Cares will be working with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), which promotes education in Pakistan with the aim of facilitating human and social transformation, for the roll-out of the program. Commenting on the partnership with ITA, Al Gurg said: “ITA has consistently proved its determination as a local agency with strong organization, advocacy and lobbying skills. The organization was instrumental in gaining greater buy-in and commitment from the government of Pakistan for our previous programs. Its involvement will ensure that our program is completely aligned with the educational needs of the region and can be transferred to the full ownership of the government in three years’ time.”

Baela Raza Jamil, Director Programs, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), said: “Following successful programs in Pakistan since 2008, in 2014 Dubai Cares made a bolder commitment to promote education in the most vulnerable areas of Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan. This program is both relevant and innovative, keeping abreast of accelerated progress towards 2015 goals and beyond, ensuring a focus on girls’ education and capacity enhancement of female teachers in remote areas. The program will reach 385,800 beneficiaries; 3,770 schools and 205,200 communities; and train almost 12,800 teachers. ITA is honored to be working with Dubai Cares and the Government of Pakistan to march forward with scalable programs.”

In addition to the announcement, Dubai Cares also established a significant presence at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD) 2014, leading industry discussions and showcasing learnings from successful programs. The 10th edition of DIHAD focused on developing Dubai as a philanthropic hub by bringing together humanitarian players and agencies from around the globe for discussions on industry best practices in humanitarian and development assistance as well as to explore collaborations on key projects.

“Dubai Cares is a strong supporter of DIHAD as it promotes powerful synergies between agencies in knowledge-sharing as well as implementation. Located at the crossroads of the East and the West, Dubai is in a favorable position to deliver humanitarian aid to hotspots around the world and DIHAD provides us with a platform to plan out how we can marshal resources from around the globe and deploy them in the best possible manner,” concluded Al Gurg.

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