Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares giving a speech at the launch of the WISE program in Jakarta
Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic establishment founded in 2007 by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today launched a program in Jakarta, Indonesia aimed at improving current hygiene education activities in 450 schools in the Indonesian provinces of Nusa Tenggara Timor, Papua, West Papua and South Sulawesi. In total, 90,000 schoolchildren in Indonesia will benefit from the program, launched by Dubai Cares in partnership with the Government of Indonesia, UNICEF, Care International and Save the Children.
Known as WISE – ‘water, sanitation and hygiene in support of school empowerment’ – the program will construct new sanitation, hand washing and water facilities, helping reduce a child's risk of disease and death, and support community-led initiatives to better manage water and sanitation activities in the selected areas.
Dubai Cares contributed approximately AED20 million (US$5.5 million) to the program as part of its commitment to UN Millennium Development Goal 2 of attaining universal primary education. By helping safeguard the health of school children through better sanitation and hygiene education and infrastructure development, Dubai Cares is helping eliminate barriers to children’s access to quality primary education.
“There are numerous factors which prevent children from going to school – poor water and sanitation is a critical one,” said Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares. “In addition, the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools threatens the wellbeing of those who do reach the classroom.”
Al Gurg added: “Under the direction of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Cares is proactively focusing on the underlying factors that create barriers to learning. We believe this initiative is an example of how we can systematically remove such obstacles and create opportunities for better education and health.”
The ‘WISE’ program is seen as a model for future development across Indonesia, strengthening integration of water, sanitation and hygiene education activities in schools and improving sustainability through a focus on low-cost approaches, community leadership and technical capacity development of local school committees.
Physical construction of water and sanitation facilities will be complemented by training of teachers and community representatives on delivering effective hygiene education. School committees will be supported to better manage available budgets to include water, sanitation and hygiene components, while the government’s national Healthy Schools Program (UKS) will also be revitalized.
In addition to the grant from Dubai Cares, UNICEF is contributing approx. AED11 million (US$3 million) to the two-year program along with approx. AED3.6 million (US$1 million) each from Care International and Save the Children.
UNICEF Representative in Indonesia, Angela Kearney, speaking on behalf of the three development partners supporting the initiative, underlined the importance of reaching the most vulnerable children.
“While there has been much progress in improving access to sanitation across Indonesia in recent years, there are still thousands of children who remain at risk, especially in rural communities,” she said. “By partnering with Dubai Cares and the Government of Indonesia to ensure these basic services reach children in these areas we not only reduce the risk of disease and death, but also improve the quality of the educational environment – which in turn can prevent children dropping out of school.”