The newly inaugurated Zarqa Preparatory Boys School in Al Zarqa refugee camp in Jordan constructed with an aid from Dubai Cares
The Dubai Cares team recently concluded three successful field visits to Jordan, Djibouti and Mali aimed at assessing and monitoring the progress of various educational, sanitary and behavioral change programs facilitated by the UAE-based philanthropic establishment and carried out in partnership with international aid and development agencies. These visits offered the Dubai Cares delegation, headed by Dubai Cares CEO, Tariq Al Gurg, the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the realities and challenges faced by project teams on the ground as well as observe the tremendous impact the various programs have on the community at large.
Commenting on the visit, Al Gurg, said: “Every program implemented by Dubai Cares aims to provide children in developing countries with an ideal learning environment – be it through bridging the gap in available educational facilities and resources, offering access to sanitary facilities and clean water or raising awareness levels within the community on the importance of education in the long-term struggle to abolish poverty. Embarking on field visits to our programs is an essential part of our monitoring, evaluation and learning process and allows us to not only assess the progress of ongoing programs but also to strengthen our ties with the local community in the concerned country and our international partners.”
Building on its commitment to supporting Palestinian refugees, and in response to the proposal submitted by UNRWA, the Dubai Cares team attended the inauguration of the Zarqa Preparatory Boys School No. 2 in the Al Zarqa Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. The school was demolished and reconstructed with the aid of a Dubai Cares US$1.5 million (AED 5,510,000) grant. The reconstruction provided the new school with all amenities, comprising a permanent building for preparatory and elementary sections, a library, science and computer laboratories, administration offices, sports room, workshop and a canteen. With this initiative, the school has become the largest education facility in Al Zarqa camp, with a capacity of 850 students. Lauding Dubai Cares for its support, UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General, Ms. Margot Ellis said, “With this generous contribution, Dubai Cares reaffirms its commitment to supporting and helping UNRWA in ensuring a better future and higher employability prospects for the Palestinian refugees. We hope that our future collaboration will continue to bring hope and relief to refugee pupils.”
In Djibouti, the Dubai Cares delegation was the recipient of the immense gratitude of the Government of Djibouti and pupils for the successful completion of an educational program initiated in 2008 in collaboration with UNICEF. The donation by Dubai Cares, of approximate value of US$1.9 million (AED 7,000,000), has to date benefitted 13,000 children and resulted in the building and rehabilitation of primary schools, improving the quality of education through innovative teacher training programs and enhancing the school environment with access to water, sanitation facilities, furniture, school materials and computers. The program successfully brought quality primary education to remote communities for the first time. As stated by a tribal leader in the Karta region, “We realized that our children were going to become like us, without education. We wanted them to have a different future, so we fought for this school”.
In Mali, the Dubai Cares team attended the official launch of the Dubai Cares “WASH in Schools Initiative” along with local government officials and its international partners; UNICEF, Save the Children, CARE, Oxfam GB and WaterAid.
Financed by a US$16 million (AED 58,770,000) grant from Dubai Cares and complemented by an additional US$4 million (AED 14,693,000) from other international donors, the program aims to equip 726 schools in the regions of Sikasso, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, Koulikoro and the Capital district of Bamako with water wells, latrines and other sanitation facilities by the end of 2013. Provision is also made for a training program intended for families and beneficiary communities to influence behavioral change in the field of water, hygiene and sanitation.
Fully aware of the responsibility of the Government of Mali in ensuring the success of the program, Pr Salikou SANOGO, Minister of Education, Literacy and National Languages of Mali said, “The implication of Dubai Cares’ “WASH in Schools Initiative” which involved the mobilization of some of the most efficient development agencies in Mali to extend the program to 726 of the most vulnerable schools in Mali is tremendous. This initiative will definitely improve the educational performance and health status of our school children and will also contribute to strengthening WASH in School interventions at the international level.”
With this program, Dubai Cares aims to bring all the expertise from its different partners in one program under a unified framework. This partnership will ensure tighter monitoring and documentation, and will enable Dubai Cares to learn and possibly replicate the initiative in other developing countries.
Al Gurg commented on the “WASH in Schools Initiative”, “I had the opportunity to spend time with the local children, families and tribal heads in Mali where I emphasized on the importance of embracing change. They all showed enthusiasm and willingness to work with the government in the implementation of the Wash in Schools program across the country.”