A Dubai Cares’ delegation led by Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares recently concluded a series of field visits in Comoros to evaluate the impact and success of its completed 4-year primary education program which was implemented by UNICEF and benefited 57,842 children. The aim of the AED 9.5 million (US$2. 6 million) funded Dubai Cares program was to improve access and quality of basic education for children in all districts, reduce the gender disparity in school enrolment, and improve children’s developmental readiness to start primary school on time, especially among girls and vulnerable children.
Implemented in the three main islands of Grand Comore, Anjouan and Moheli in Comoros, a sovereign island nation located off the eastern coast of Africa, the program has been instrumental in supporting the Comorian National Education Ministry’s reform process covering all the 309 public primary schools in the country.
Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Cares said: “This field visit to our completed 4-year program in Comoros is for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (ME&L) purposes. Such visits allow us to assess the impact our programs have had on the children, their families and the local communities. ME&L is integral to the successful implementation of programs, moreover it is consistent with the directions from our founder, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to launch successful programs aimed at reducing, ideally removing, obstacles that prevent children across the developing world from accessing quality primary education.
“Our program in Comoros is a very important one as it focuses on three critical elements that are key components of every Dubai Cares program going forward – accessibility to quality primary education, gender equality, and early child development. We are hopeful and confident that our involvement with and support of the educational reform process alongside the Ministry of National Education will empower an entire generation of children in the country,” added Al Gurg.
The program comprised of three main components – scaling up the national educational reform, reduction of gender disparities and keeping girls in schools, and improving significantly the development of early childhood education in Comoros.
As part of the educational reform process, the program focused on supporting institutional capacity building and more effective management of the education system in order to ensure minimum basic competencies for all children, at the end of each level until completion of the primary education cycle. It also included the setting up of coordination mechanisms between implementing partners and the National Ministry of Education to enhance collaboration and avoid conflicts. In order to improve the quality of education, the program included working with teachers and local authorities to provide support and training in areas such as participatory teaching methodologies, gender-friendly classrooms and school management. Considering the low education levels in the country, the role of the community has been essential to drive the reform process and in this regard, Dubai Cares has been supporting communication activities to raise awareness among students, parents and communities thus increasing the demand for quality education.
In order to ensure gender equality in schools, the program has supported community and media campaigns to fight socio-cultural barriers to girl’s education and scaling up the girls friendly school initiative. The multi-pronged campaign has also sought to raise the level of understanding of children’s rights and community responsibilities to uphold these rights, and improving access to water and hygiene facilities in schools.
In Comoros, Koranic schools have been an integral part of the primary education process for children. The Dubai Cares program has facilitated the rapid development of pre-elementary education through the expansion of the Renovated Koranic Teaching (RKT) classes leading to 6,200 children enrolling in 190 RKT classes in 153 public primary schools situated mainly in the rural areas.