DUBAI // Dubai Cares is raising the bar or 2014 after the most successful 12 months of its operation last year.
The charity, which focuses on providing quality education for young people across the developing world, reached out to more than 1.2 million children during 2013.
As well as launching 14 new programmes, it concluded 13 in countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Raising funds and donating money for educational initiatives remains a main priority but Dubai Cares is also very keen to influence policy change in education and share its insights with global partners.
Throughout last year it took part in discussions with the Global Education First Initiative, headed by UN secretary general Ban ki-Moon, and signed an agreement with the Global Partnership for Education to support education in developing countries.
“2013 has been our most successful year with innovative programmes launched and good money being raised from the community,” said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive of Dubai Cares.
“We have been doing this for six years now, but now this is the time when I see Dubai Cares born. After six years this is what we are supposed to be doing. We are part of the global debate when it comes to the global agenda on education.
“What is good about us is that we are heard. People hear us and take what we are saying seriously. We have the experience, the data and the evidence now on what makes a good programme.”
Mr Al Gurg said that Dubai Cares would be launching programmes in at least four new locations in the Far East, South Asia, east and west Africa and would also be looking at the Caribbean and Pacific as areas where it could assist.
The new scheme is hoped to involve participation from the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education.
One of the charity’s new areas of focus for this year has been named “School Heath and Nutrition”.
This model involves combining three areas of work that Dubai Cares previously carried out in various locations, namely deworming programmes, water sanitation and hygiene (the Wash scheme) and feeding.
“We are going to champion it globally and we are already in talks with big global players,” Mr Al Gurg said. “We are creating a model and framework how this can be done globally and how it can become part of the international debate. Our thinking is that you shouldn’t work in silos, not just on Wash, or deworming or feeding – all must work together.
“Now a model and framework will be put together and looking at how this can be made sustainable.”
Alongside the charity’s international work, this yea will be a time when community involvement is also of importance.
On February 7, the charity will be hold its annual Walk for Education in Jumeirah.
Participants will walk 3 kilometres along the Palm to raise money to support this year’s plans.
The 3km figure represents the average distance children in developing countries need to walk everyday to attend school.
Alongside the participants, Dubai Cares is looking to enlist the help of between 220 and 250 volunteers to help organise and control the event.
Mr Al Gurg said that its work, ultimately, was only successful if local government was convinced to invest and carry on their programmes.
“We all realised that if there is no government buy-in, it won’t be sustained even if a programme is successful. If the government isn’t going to buy into it through finance, policy change or committing a higher percentage in their budgets – if you don’t have that kind of buy-in it will be tough to take it further.”
More information can be found at www.dubaicares.ae.