Comoros is located off the coast of East Africa near the northern section of the Mozambique Channel. It is made up of more than 800,000 people spread across three main islands (Grand Comore, Anjouan and Moheli). For years, it has been known as one of the poorest countries in the entire world consisting of inadequate transportation, an increasingly young population and a dearth of natural resources. Even though they are still struggling, they have made strides over the years in many areas, specifically in the light of girls’ education in Comoros.
In 2013, Dubai Cares, a philanthropic organization focused on improving children’s access to education in developing countries, chose to launch a program specifically targeting girls’ education in Comoros. The program took the time to educate and train teachers and local authorities on how to create gender-friendly classrooms and teach gender-friendly class material. Furthermore, Dubai Cares made it a central part of their program to raise awareness in the community, specifically in topics such as the demand for quality education and gender disparities.
According to Tariq Al Gurg, the chief executive of Dubai Cares, the program for girls’ education in Comoros was focused on three main goals:
- Improve upon the accessibility of quality education
- Reduce or attempt to eliminate any gender disparities and improve female attendance
- Improve development in childhood education
Dubai Cares’ chose these aspects as their focus because they understand the importance of education for women. Girls are consistently tested and faced with obstacles that boys simply do not have to face when it comes to education. It is important to acknowledge the impact that girls’ education in Comoros, and worldwide, can have in the fight against poverty.
Al Gurg, emphasizes the importance of improving upon girl’s education when he states, “It creates a ripple effect of positive change in the community and country. As future mothers and wives, who will play an integral role in nurturing and raising families, these girls hold the key to a future generation of educated and enlightened children.”
Dubai Cares’ four-year program, implemented by UNICEF, has considerably improved girls’ education in Comoros. The improvements and results include:
- Approximately 58,000 students benefitted through the program
- $2.6 million had been raised to improve educational standards and reduce gender disparities
- Education reform in 309 public primary schools
- 190 renovated Koranic Teaching Classes created in 153 public primary schools
- 6,200 children, ranging from 3-5 years of age, receive aid for school enrollment
Dubai Cares has laid the groundwork for other programs being launched around the world. The Dubai Cares program has created an environment for girls’ education in Comoros that fosters positivity and an eagerness to learn. Comoros is in an amazing position to build off the improvements that have been made.
The Future of Education in Comoros
In July 2018, Dubai Cares announced the launch of another program in Comoros. This one is set to build off of the success of their prior program implemented in 2013. While the last program’s focus was on girls’ education in Comoros, this program’s focus will be on early childhood development (ECD) among all children. The program will also be implementing parenting practices such as the encouragement of appropriate nutrition, hygiene and early educational stimulation. It is set to help at least 269,382 children as well as teachers across all 394 primary schools in Comoros.
Dubai Cares took the initiative to improve girls’ education in Comoros. This focus to fight and foster positive learning environments for all genders has created a building block for all. The success of the 2013 girls’ education program has afforded the opportunity for success in this newly implemented 2018 program focused on early childhood development.
Although Comoros remains one of the poorest countries in the world, they are far more advanced when it comes to understanding the importance of women and a good education. By allowing women the benefits of attaining an education, many doors are being opened for everyone in the community of Comoros. Other countries should take note.
– Emilie Cieslak