Dubai Cares has recently concluded a series of field visits in Indonesia to evaluate and measure the positive impact created by its two-year WASH in Schools Empowerment (WISE) program and the change it is bringing about in the sanitation and hygiene practices of children and their communities. Implemented with a total commitment of more than AED 20 million (US$5.5 million) from Dubai Cares, AED 12 million (US$ 3.4 million) from UNICEF, and AED 3.6 million (US$ 1 million) from each of CARE and Save the Children, the program is benefiting 135,000 children in 675 schools.
The WISE program is contributing significantly to the well-being of children in primary schools through the integration of water and sanitation facilities and hygiene activities, imparting training to children and teachers, and encouraging and empowering schools to become ‘Centers of Excellence’ and children to become ‘Agents of Change’ for sanitation and hygiene in their communities.
Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Cares said: “Over the years, Dubai Cares has been working hard to help children in developing countries overcome the challenges that prevent them from gaining access to quality primary education. Our ongoing commitment to design sustainable, impactful and scalable programs stems from the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his belief that education is one of the most effective tools to break the cycle of poverty. Our philanthropic achievements to date are testament to what the UAE is well known for globally.”
“It is a proven fact that children’s ability to learn is affected by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene conditions, and the need for clean, accessible water in Indonesia far exceeds what is currently available. Our evidence-based approach to developing programs has confirmed the important role schools can play in bringing about change, promoting better water and sanitation outcomes, and creating greater awareness of proper hygiene practices,” added Al Gurg.
“By focusing on strengthening the integration of WASH education activities in schools, enhancing the involvement of community stakeholders, consolidating the technical and management capacity of local school committees and focusing on low-cost approaches, Dubai Cares is encouraging the sustainability of the activities and bringing about a massive change, one that will impact generations to come,” added Al Gurg.
With poorly developed water and sanitation infrastructure affecting the country’s primary education sector, Dubai Cares is implementing its program in four provinces of Nusa Tenggara Timor, Papua, West Papua and Sulawesi in Indonesia, providing a healthier learning environment for children by improving hygiene conditions in schools, improving access to clean water, and constructing hand-washing and sanitation facilities that are child friendly, gender sensitive, and low maintenance.
The WISE program complements the efforts of the Usaha Kesehatan Sekolah (UKS) program, a cross-sectoral school health program jointly developed, funded and implemented by the departments of health and education, to promote health in primary schools through Health Education, Health Services and Environmental Health.
“It is really satisfying to see the impact that our program is having on the lives of thousands of children in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Indonesia. More parents are now encouraged to send their children to school where they can enjoy a safe and healthy environment. The success of this program validates the effectiveness of our systematic approach to program development and collaboration with relevant stakeholders to create a lasting impact on children’s education wherever we operate”, Al Gurg concluded.
The program is being implemented in close coordination with the Indonesian Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Working Group (PoKJa AMPL), composed of representatives from the Ministries of Education, Religious Affairs, Health, Public Works and the National Planning and Development Agency (BAPPENAS).