Girl’s Education in Comoros
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.

Dubai Cares

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:

  1. Improve upon the accessibility of quality education
  2. Reduce or attempt to eliminate any gender disparities and improve female attendance
  3. 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.”

Measurable Success

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
Photo: Flickr

Dubai CaresIn September 2017, philanthropic organization Dubai Cares celebrated their tenth anniversary. The global nonprofit was founded by Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Its mission is to provide education to citizens from countries where educational opportunities are sparse.

Currently, Dubai Cares has facilitated educational programs in 45 countries. According to The National, this has had a positive effect on 16 million youths. The organization has also partnered with other global organizations, like UNICEF, CARE International and the World Food Programme. Along with these, Dubai Cares has joined with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other nongovernmental organizations to influence the global community’s commitment toward better educational practices.

When the charity was first formed, it focused on funding educational programs created by others. After hiring Chief Executive Al Gurg, Dubai Cares began constructing their own solutions.

Dubai Cares operates under the belief that education is a fundamental right that should be available to everyone regardless of race, gender or religion. Lack of education is one of the biggest causes of global poverty. The organization is particularly interested in promoting education for girls around the world, 62 million of whom are not in school.

Over the past 10 years, Dubai Cares has built or renovated over 2,000 classrooms and trained nearly 64,000 teachers. The organization acknowledges, however, that there are many things that affect education beyond the schools or quality of education.

One of these issues involves health-related problems, including malnutrition and disease. To combat these, Dubai Cares has invested in providing healthy food, clean water and effective hygienic practices to students. Another issue that severely affects education is military conflict within the country. One recent philanthropic mission the organization undertook involved educating children dealing with national violence in Columbia.

The continued successes of Dubai Cares have cemented it as a pinnacle in the fight for global education.

Cortney Rowe

Photo: Flickr

Deworming Scheme in Ethiopia
Recently, Dubai Cares, a humanitarian organization based in the United Arab Emirates, declared its decision to launch a deworming scheme in Ethiopia. This program is estimated to last for two years and is projected to benefit approximately 15.6 million school children in Ethiopia.

The deworming program is targeting the elimination of harmful conditions such as schistosomiasis, trachoma and onchocerciasis. Schistosomiasis is caused by worms, and the condition can be transmitted through infected water. This mechanism of transmission places school-age children at heightened risk of transmission because of their tendency to swim and play in public water grounds.

As a tropical infection, the prevalence of schistosomiasis infection exceeds 90 percent in Ethiopia, with age ranges 10-14 and 15-19 years being disproportionately affected by the disease.

The deworming scheme in Ethiopia forms an integral part of a five-year plan that aims to protect all school children at risk from the onset of neglected tropical diseases. The implementation of this scheme in Ethiopian schools also reflects the concerted public effort by the Minister of Health in Ethiopia, toward the eradication of conditions that have severe impacts on quality of life.

Intestinal parasitic worms, the root cause of most of these conditions, reside in the intestines where they quickly reproduce in ambient conditions. Children in developing countries are more prone to developing infectious diseases caused by worms because of poor hygiene and interaction with unclean water.

Trachoma, schistosomiasis and onchocerciasis all form part of a larger group of diseases referred to as the neglected tropical diseases. Trachoma is an infectious eye condition, which is transmitted relatively quickly in conditions with poor water supply, dense insect populations and populous living areas. In advanced stages, trachoma can lead to blindness. Ethiopia is constantly deemed as the country most affected by trachoma globally.

Onchocerciasis, otherwise known as river blindness, is transmitted through the bite of black flies that reside in hordes near free-flowing rivers. Onchocerciasis can result in reduced vision, blindness, skin conditions and itchiness. Globally, it is deemed as the second most common infectious cause of blindness, with trachoma being the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world.

Dubai Cares is certainly not a new organization on the philanthropic front. Previous initiatives by Dubai Cares have similarly involved a focus on children’s health, such as the Home Grown School Feeding Program, which was implemented in Ghana a few years back. The deworming scheme in Ethiopia offers hope in terms of reduction of mortality and suffering associated with the debilitating neglected tropical diseases.

The eradication of neglected tropical diseases is an important objective in developing countries such as Ethiopia. These diseases impose a serious cost on the economy in terms of lost potential growth, poor health and reduced human resource availability.

School children, in particular, need to be healthy and capable of absorbing the knowledge that is taught to them in schools. These children are representative of a better, brighter future and it is part of social responsibility to optimize and maintain child health.

Tanvi Ambulkar

Photo: Flickr

School. An aspect of our lives that is usually a source of unwanted stress; more often a place we begrudgingly go, crankily absorbed in our own tired eyes and mandatory Monday mornings.

But what we have come to expect as a place of permanence doesn’t exist for others around the world. Instead of bemoaning the undoubtedly hard work receiving an education entails, we should be cherishing it for what it is: an opportunity many do not receive.

This year, more than 37 million children and adolescents live in circumstances surrounding emergency and conflict which have forced them out of their schools. Children are finding themselves in the middle of warzones or natural disasters, which disrupts any hopes of receiving a sound education. According to the organization which advocates for primary school children, Dubai Cares, attacks on education are the highest they have been in the past 40 years and the greatest since the height of the second world war.

The ongoing education crisis was a topic of discussion at the Oslo Summit on Education for Development which convened in July of this year, where it was agreed upon that efforts in investment and attention towards children in these circumstances are inefficient. In fact, in 2014, only one percent of overall humanitarian aid and two percent of humanitarian appeals went towards educating children.

In a Huffington Post article written by Dubai Cares, Chief Executive Officer Tariq Al Gurg said “With the average length of displacement for refugees now approaching 20 years — and over 70 percent of those children out of school — we know that these emergencies are no longer brief blips in the life of a child. Thus, we need a new platform and funding model that enables an immediate and sustained response.”

Currently, Dubai Cares’ program reaches 14 million children across 39 developing countries and recognizes a tremendous public support system, with over eight million individuals endorsing the #UpForSchool campaign, a petition supporting the belief that every child should have access to an education. Dubai Cares will continue to endorse efforts which help the humanitarian aid at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Week in September 2015.

However, there is good news for some of the most under-funded areas in the world currently experiencing emergencies and disasters. The United Nations has allocated $70 million in funds for aid to places like Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Nikki Schaffer

Sources: Dubai Cares, A World at School, Huffington Post, Brookings
Photo: Flickr

In an effort to provide basic educational tools to children affected by the conflict in Gaza, UAE-based organization Dubai Cares assembled over 50,000 school kits for children in Gaza, Palestine.

The summer of 2014 proved to be devastating for many in Palestine and around the world. An increase in militarized conflict claimed the lives of over 2,000 people and it is estimated that at least 100,000 homes were destroyed. With such damage occurring, citizens are fleeing the country and those who cannot leave, face insurmountable obstacles.

This worrisome conflict has caused a number of responses from around the globe, but the one that has proved the most important is from the international aid community. A number of organizations have stepped up to help create positive change and provide necessary aid to communities in Gaza, especially the children. The persistent violence and wreckage of regional infrastructure has made attending school a challenge for many children.

To help rebuild the educational system in Gaza, Dubai Cares assembled a team of volunteers to create school kits that would be distributed to children, in conjunction with United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA. The kits include a backpack, notebooks, sketchbooks, a geometry kit, a calculator and a pencil case equipped with pens, pencils, crayons, erasers, etc.

Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, Tariq Al Gurg said, “This was a memorable campaign for us as we had the chance to extend further support to the children of Gaza by sending them the school kits that the UAE community put together for them. Despite the fact that these children live under hazardous conditions, the people of the UAE strongly felt that they deserve the same educational opportunities as their peers in other parts of the world.”

This campaign was launched as a part of Dubai Cares’ ‘Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education.’ Initiative, launched in October of 2014. This initiative, at a total of approximately $3 million, was created in an effort to rebuild Palestine’s educational sector by implementing programs that focused on providing children with psycho-social support, coping mechanisms and heightened educational security so that they are well equipped when the region gains stability.

Al Gurg said, “Palestinian children need the security of education in order to grow their skill set and rise above the challenges they face today.”

Dubai Cares continues to place an emphasis on rehabilitating the children of Gaza so that they have the chance to take an active part in their own futures. As these children continue to face the day to day challenges of living in a conflict zone, perhaps it is with hope that they view these kits; a gesture of goodwill from the people of a country not so far away.

– Candice Hughes

Sources: Dubai Cares 1, Dubai Cares 2, Dubai Cares 3, The National, Yahoo News
Photo: Flickr

In Brussels on June 26, 2014, the Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Conference received pledges of over $28.5 billion. This is good news for both the growth of education worldwide and the Global Partnership for Education, which will use the funds to finance educational programs in over 60 developing countries. Nigeria, with over 10.5 million school-aged children not in school, will be among those helped.

This $28.5 billion gain shows a growing consensus from the international community on the importance of education in the developing world. Currently, 57 million school-aged children are not in school, and consequently, are not receiving an education. A further 250 million children worldwide cannot count, read or write despite receiving four years of schooling. These are the statistics that the GPE and its donors are fighting against.

The Global Partnership of Education, established in 2002, is an amalgamation of developing nations, donor governments, international aid organizations and civil societies. This multilateral partnership’s mission statement explains they, “galvanize and coordinate a global effort to deliver a good quality education, to all girls and boys, prioritizing the poorest and most vulnerable.” They do this by helping increase funding for a developing country’s education budget, as well as by helping develop and establish educational programs for these countries.

The work the GPE has accomplished prior to the convention in Brussels is quite formidable. In GPE partner countries, the rate of out-of-school children has decreased from 39 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2011. Furthermore, during the same time frame, they have also had a growth in students’ completion of primary school, jumping from 56 percent to 74 percent. In addition, they have shown a strong financial commitment to the countries involved, investing more than $3 billion in the educational funds of its developing nation partners from 2000 to 2011.

The replenishment conference, which took place in Brussels, is part of a second replenishment period that GPE is entering into. During this time, the GPE is looking to receive funds to help finance upcoming projects and initiatives from 2015 to 2018. The expected outcome of this replenishment conference was $16 billion in pledged funds to the GPE from their developing nation partners, and the GPE was pleasantly surprised to find that they had received $26 billion in pledges instead.

Also, during the conference, donor countries pledged $2.1 billion to the GPE, over half of the GPE’s $3.5 billion objective for donor countries, during the whole of their replenishment period. Notable donor countries included the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

At this same conference, for the first time, private sector entities pledged funds to the GPE. These private sector entities were CIFF (Children’s Investment Fund Foundation) and Dubai Cares. Both are philanthropic organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children across the world.

With this large amount of money pledged at the conference, the Global Partnership for Education is hoping to achieve a multitude of notable goals for their developing nation partners. Among them are: supporting the annual school cost of 29 million children attending primary and secondary school, reducing the number of children dropping out of primary school from 7.6 million to 4.8 million, reducing the drop out rates of lower secondary schools by 10 percent during the same time frame and increasing the amount of children with core literacy and numerical skills by 25 percent, from 16 million to 20 million.

Recognizing the current gender bias in many parts of the world, GPE hopes to increase the primary school completion of girls from 74 percent to 84 percent, and increase secondary school completion from 44 percent to 54 percent for developing countries during the years 2014 to 2018.

These are admirable goals from an admirable organization. The fact that this replenishment has started with such a huge investment from those involved, shows the international community’s belief that GPE can achieve these goals in the developing nations involved. As the former Australian Prime Minister, and current Board Chair of the GPE, said about the conference, “This exceptional result is a vote of confidence in the power of education to lift the lives of millions of children.”

– Albert Cavallaro

Sources: all Africa, Global Partnership 1, Dubai Cares, CIFF, Global Partnership 2, Global Partnership 3, Global Partnership 4

Students at N’tjibougou School used to have to choose between relieving themselves outside in bushes or running home to use the bathroom and risk missing class.

They now have six new latrines, three for boys and three for girls – an improvement to the one restroom they used to have to share among 70 of their peers. This is just one of the changes that came about with the Dubai Cares WASH program in Mali’s schools.

N’tjibougou School created a Children’s Government for students to become actively involved in the changes taking place.

Nematou Malle, 12, is the Minister of Cleanliness and her job is to “keep all students in good health, see that they drink clean water, that they come to school clean and that the school latrines and courtyard are clean,” as she described to Dubai Cares.

Nematou created a hygiene kit for the school as part of the Dubai Cares initiative. The kit includes a brush, buckets, gloves, face masks, soap and bleach. As Minister of Cleanliness, Nematou is also in charge of collecting drinking water for classrooms, sweeping and removing trash, and making sure students wash their hands with soap.

Not only do these practices impact positive behavioral changes among students, but they also give those who are involved in the Children’s Government a sense of leadership and confidence.

Many children who do not finish school in Mali have preventable health problems that can be eliminated with more hygienic systems and access to safe and clean water and sanitation facilities at school.

The Dubai Cares WASH program in Mali covers 726 schools to provide water and sanitation infrastructure to ensure a healthy learning environment. The objective of the program is to improve children’s access to quality primary education.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Dubai Cares, WASH in Schools
Photo: Open Equal Free

This week, The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) held its third consecutive “One Night to Change Lives” fundraiser in Dubai’s Armani Hotel. The event was a gala fundraiser and all proceeds went towards Dubai Cares, an organization based in the United Arab Emirates, and Oxfam. The festival was supported by United Nations Messenger of Peace Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

Donations were collected through an action that sold both experiences and collectibles. Among the most notable experiences auctioned off were two tickets to the world premiere of Captain America: The Winter Solider, donated by actress Scarlett Johansson, and tickets to the premiere of the latest James Bond film. Among the auctioned items were James Bond memorabilia and paintings by Abolfazl Lierh and Afsaneh Taebi.

The stars who attended the event included actresses from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Goldie, Bollywood stars. The Earl and Countes of Carnavon attended the event to support DIFF’s efforts. When asked why she had flown to Dubai, the countess replied, “for all of us back home, it’s hard to understand, as we sit in comfortable homes with central heating, that many millions of people have been displaced in Syria, and another two million have nowhere to live. It’s absolutely horrendous.”

The gala raised over $1 million in donations that will be used to address the current crisis in Syria. Hundreds of children and families have sought refugee in Lebanon and Jordan and do not have access to enough supplies for survival. The proceeds from the gala will go towards basic supplies and sanitation facilities for the refugees.

The previous year, the event also raised over $1 million to fund schools in Pakistan. Further donations are being accepted on the Oxfam United Kingdom website.

– Lienna Feleke-Eshete

Sources: All Africa
Photo: Time Out Dubai

Celebrities know how to party, and this December a jet-load of stars attended an extravagant gala in Dubia. The event, “One Night to Change” Lives was held at Dubai’s Armani Hotel and is the third annual gala thrown by the Dubai International Film Festival. Most attractive about this event, besides the numerous film stars in attendance, is the fact that all proceeds from the auction go to the philanthropic organization Dubai Cares, and world development firm Oxfam.

Mark Ruffalo, most recently known for his role in “The Avengers and Now You See Me,” hosted the auction and encouraged high value bids from the star-studded audience. The fundraiser generated over $1 million that will benefit people struggling with poverty and disease during the present situation in Syria. Scarlett Johansson has previously travelled with Oxfam to visit refugees in devastated countries, and donated exclusive world-premiere tickets to the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The money raised at One Night to Change Lives for Dubai Cares and Oxfam will go to providing desperately needed supplies for refugees and their families in Syria. Winter is one of the harshest seasons in that part of the world and Oxfam is supplying people with winter coats, food, blankets and access to hygiene and sanitation.

Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai is the founder of Dubai Cares, which focuses primarily on giving children in developing countries the ability to go to school and become educated. The organization does this by solving problems that prevent children from going to school and provides access to clean water, renovates school buildings, and implements teacher training programs.

Oxfam is a network of organizations in over 90 countries that work together to reduce global poverty by providing international aid. The organization uses a variety of techniques to provide help and assistance. Many critics of the celebrity lifestyle and wealth turn away from using their fame for aid, but Oxfam knows how beneficial these types of people can be. Educating women in their own communities and striving for gender equality and an end to oppression is one way Oxfam works to enhance the lives of others.

Petitioning governments and spreading awareness for the need of local laws to end corruption and promote fair trade of natural resources as well as providing disaster relief in the aftermath of global crisis are other ways that Oxfam operates. The Dubai Film Festival is only part of what Oxfam is involved in regarding the fight against global poverty, and that $1 million is only part of what they can and will continue to contribute.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Dubai Film Festival, Politics of Poverty, Oxfam
Photo: Brits United

dubai cares_opt
Dubai Cares, a nonprofit working to improve children’s access to education in developing countries, recently launched a new campaign called “End Poverty. Educate Now” to raise awareness about the link between education and eradicating poverty.

The “End Poverty. Educate Now” campaign will run through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to raise funds to assist children worldwide by improving their access to primary education. Dubai Cares is currently reaching more than 8 million children in 31 developing countries worldwide. The campaign is building and renovating classrooms, providing clean water wells and latrines, distributing nutritious meals, and providing treatment for intestinal worms. Additionally, teachers are receiving training and millions of books are being distributed.

CEO of Dubai Cares, Tariq Al Gurg, stresses that education is one of the most important investments in breaking the cycle of poverty. Education leads to in increases in income levels and reductions in social inequalities caused by poverty.

Gurg states that this campaign seeks the support of the United Arab Emirates community in order to reduce the number of underprivileged children globally who do not have access to education, which is currently estimated to be 57 million according to UNESCO. UNESCO affirms that education is one of the best tools to combat poverty by stating that if all children in developing countries could read, global poverty rates would fall by at least 12 percent.

Dubai Cares is running this campaign by setting up an interactive stand at the Dubai Mall’s Star Atrium. The campaign is also raising funds through donations via SMS and the Internet. Visitors of the Dubai Mall will be able to make contributions while shopping or through donations boxes throughout the mall. In the atrium, there are black and white posters on tiles which show children living in destitute conditions. These images will gradually transform into a positive colored images as more people donate. These colored images represents the lives of children who are receiving the opportunity for an education.

This symbolic transformation represents the dramatic change that education can make in the lives of children and the fight against poverty.

– Rahul Shah 

Sources: The Gulf Today, Emirates Today, Gulf News
Sources: Sunny Varkey