Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has formally announced a new research envelope known as Evidence for Education in Emergencies (E3) at a special event in New York during the week of the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 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. The event was attended by 90 experts and policy makers from the education field, including senior representatives from UN agencies, international NGOs, foundations, donor governments, the academia and the private sector.
The importance of education for preventing lost generations of children and youth has been gaining increasing recognition over recent years, thanks to efforts from global political champions. At the same time, the critical situation of displacement and migration has put pressure on the international humanitarian community and its partners who are faced with substantial shortfalls in funding across all sectors. Last year conditions worsened with forced displacement reaching its highest level since the end of the Second World War. Today, one in 113 people is 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. Simultaneously, emergency relief in all sectors is extending into longer-term humanitarian support.
Speaking from the event which was co-hosted by Dubai Cares and INEE, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said, “Clearly there are worsening problems throughout the Middle East and beyond. Children are particularly vulnerable, with their education often impacted or denied altogether. According to UNICEF, refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugees.”
Al Gurg continued, “Today, Dubai Cares is announcing a five-year research envelope worth AED 36,735,000 (USD 10 million), 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. We stand witness to billions of dollars spent on humanitarian aid, with only 1 per cent allocated to education. In order to increase that percentage and tackle the huge education deficit currently on our hands, more evidence on the impact that different emergency education interventions have on the educational achievements and the socio-emotional wellbeing of children & youth affected by instability and crises is necessary. That is the purpose behind the launch of E3. Not only will it produce global goods for the education in emergencies sector, but it will also allow humanitarian and philanthropic organizations such as Dubai Cares to make evidence-based decisions when allocating funds to aid programs.”
The launch of E3 follows the commitment made by Dubai Cares at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. “In Istanbul, we made a commitment to allocate at least 10 percent of all our funding for education in emergencies towards research, and now we are fulfilling our promise, which is in line with Dubai Cares’ objective of ensuring long-term, sustainable impact in and through education systems,” added Al Gurg.
Ensuring equitable quality education and learning for all requires addressing the population of children who are most educationally deprived. There are more than 124 million children and young adolescents who are currently out of school, and many millions more who are in school but not learning due to armed conflict and crisis. Civil society, UN agencies, international NGOs, governments, local communities and donors all agree, however that there is an “overwhelming lack of evidence” as to what works to promote children’s learning in crisis-affected situations.
Dean Brooks, INEE Director said, “Throughout the global consultations held in 2015 and 2016, INEE members around the world echoed the request for solid evidence on which to base their policies and programs. Dubai Cares’ E3 is a direct and very welcome response to this request.”
“We are not alone in this,” Al Gurg sums up. “Dubai Cares already supports critical research in Lebanon, Niger and Sierra Leone, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and New York University – it works extremely well and we want to actively encourage this practice of convening partnerships between academia and implementing agencies. It’s the logical way forward for getting the best quality outcomes and what E3 aims to do is complement and connect with other evidence gathering mechanisms. But the net result will be that children – even those who are displaced – will receive a quality education because we will be armed with facts gained from this extensive research.”
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Dubai Cares also signed an AED 11,020,500 (USD 3 million) partnership agreement with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), aimed at supporting developing countries progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. The agreement was signed by Tariq Al Gurg and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
The Dubai Cares delegation, led by Tariq Al Gurg, also attended a number of noteworthy bilateral meetings held on the sidelines of the 71st UNGA, including the launch of the report and the agenda action of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity chaired by Rt. Hon Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education; the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Steering Group Meeting; and the Global Business Coalition for Education High-Level Breakfast Meeting in addition to a number of bilateral meetings with UN agencies and International NGOs.