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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Delegation pleased by initiative’s progress

The four-year Raise project was started last year to help children and teenagers who are at risk of dropping out of school due to poverty and early pregnancy in two of the country’s poorest provinces, Masbate and Northern Samar.

PALANAS, PHILIPPINES // The Dubai Cares delegation who recently visited the Philippines are pleased with the progress of their project in the country.

The organisation is funding the Real Assets through Improved Skills and Education for adolescent girls (Raise) programme through a US$2 million (Dh7.34m) partnership with the non-government organisation Plan Philippines.

The four-year project was launched last year to help children and teenagers who are at risk of dropping out of school because of poverty and early pregnancy in two of the country’s poorest provinces, Masbate and Northern Samar.

The programme encompasses initiatives to help pupils remain in school and teach them to make better life choices, especially when it comes to reproductive health and staying in school.

Raise is expected to assist 10,976 pupils – mostly girls – between the ages of 10 and 19, and 3,724 parents and teachers in eight municipalities across the two provinces.

Dubai Cares chief executive Tariq Al Gurg said the Philippines was selected as a beneficiary country because of the urgent and often overlooked need to improve girls’ education there.

“The country has a huge problem in girls’ education and no one actually is giving much attention to that,” said Mr Al Gurg, after he met local officials.

“Plan International, our main partner in the entire umbrella, is one of, if not the biggest girls advocate in the world. They have the best girls programme and we believe that whenever we want to have a girls education programme in a country Plan would be the first one to deliver.

“Let’s not forget that the Filipino community is a large community in the United Arab Emirates and we have to see what large communities we have in our country and if they have a problem in their country and they’re not getting support, we will look into that country, definitely.”

Mr Al Gurg said Dubai Cares hoped to “scale up” the project to more provinces if it proves to be a success following its completion in 2017.

“It’s moving on well. The community, the mayor, the department of education and the representative were all supporting the programme and they’re very motivated and they want to make it happen.”

As for the on-site assessments, he said: “I made it very clear to them, I told them if this is successful then they will get a lot of dollars.

“Masbate and Norther Samar ... are the only two examples we can put, and if it fails it’s a gone case. So the pressure’s on them. But we’ve seen that it’s moving in the right direction.”

rpennington@thenational.ae