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Dubai Cares’ Contribution to Covid-19 Global Response Highly Appreciated

by Eddie Rayner

Despite the massive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on social and economic sectors around the world, Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, remained committed to helping achieve SDG4 by rolling out global education initiatives that advocate for children and youth’s right to education as well as programmes that provide equitable access to quality education and learning opportunities for them. Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Cares’ efforts complemented the UAE leadership’s response to the pandemic on the local and global levels. In addition, Dubai Cares’ interventions and input throughout all the virtual high-level and technical meetings and conferences also influenced hope and educational system change.

Over 20 Million Beneficiaries in 60 Countries Benefit from 227 Educational Programmes by Dubai Cares Since its Inception

The year 2020 was a historically challenging one for humanity, with changes sweeping across all sectors, including humanitarian and development. Dubai Cares transformed those challenges into a global and national mission to advance new ways for strengthening the education agenda via investments in the most promising innovations such that education will not only go on undisrupted, but will also thrive.

With the addition of Dubai Cares’ education investments in 2020, the UAE-based global philanthropic organisation was able to reach more than 20 million individuals in 60 developing countries since its inception, bringing the total number of programmes to 227, with Paraguay being the latest addition.

In 2020 specifically, Dubai Cares invested a total of AED 132,409,260 towards global education across several key components, including the launch of 15 new programmes worth AED 68,058,609. These new programmes covered a diverse range of themes, including Education Technology, Teacher Training, Literacy and Numeracy, Early Childhood Education, Education in Emergencies, Girls Education, Tertiary Education, Youth and Skills, Infrastructure and School Feeding.

Another commitment in 2020 was AED 18,523,767 towards the organisation’s global advocacy efforts, which one of its key components includes its support to Giga, an initiative led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to connect every school in the world to the internet.Dubai Cares’ commitment to Giga complements the organisation’s efforts in driving forward the ‘Global Declaration on Connectivity for Learning and Livelihood’ that will be launched during Expo 2020 Dubai and which aims to mobilise both public and private sector support for increased connectivity for learning and livelihoods globally. Dubai Cares also joined the UNESCO’s “Global Education Coalition for Covid-19 Response” to help countries find solutions for distance learning and minimise disruptions to education caused by the current pandemic.

Dubai Cares invested a total of AED 132,409,260 towards global education

Dubai Cares also continued its commitment towards research via the third round of its Education-in-Emergencies research envelope “E-Cubed”, where three new research programmes were granted in 2020. The organisation also kicked off the fourth round of E-Cubed calls for proposals, which received 173 proposals, tripling the average number of proposals compared to previous years. 

Reflecting on these achievements, Dr Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares and Member of its Board of Directors said: “2020 was an exceptional year at all levels. The pandemic has shaken the education system globally, creating the most large-scale disruption of education systems in history. Throughout this difficult time, and under the guidance of our founder, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Cares remained committed to championing the right of children and youth to education in international forums. Covid-19 triggered a moment of reflection for us at Dubai Cares, to explore what role we want to play in the global effort to reshape education. As a result, we have outlined a clear strategy for the coming three years that places advocacy and emergency response at the heart of what we do.”  

Contributing to the UAE’s Covid-19 Response through Successful Local Education Initiatives

In the UAE, Dubai Cares, together with the UAE’s Ministry of Education, rolled out “Education Uninterrupted”, a nationwide fundraising campaign. The campaign called on the UAE community to make financial and in-kind donations in support of children and youth from low-income families who cannot afford to purchase a desktop computer, laptop or tablet and join their peers in distance learning from the safety of their home.

Moreover, under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Dubai Cares, Atlantis – The Palm, and world-renowned artist Sacha Jafri launched ‘Humanity Inspired’, a charitable initiative which is imbued by Sacha Jafri witnessed the creation of the first-of-its-kind artwork, ‘The Journey of Humanity’, in partnership with Guinness World Records to set their official record for ‘The Largest Art Canvas’ in the world.

This initiative aims to connect with one billion people around the world to tackle the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children and youth’s education and wellbeing, with a big hope of raising AED 110 million, to benefit Dubai Cares, UNICEF, UNESCO and the Global Gift Foundation as they collectively embark on a global mission to ensure minimal disruption to education. Partners from the public sector in the UAE, including the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, Ministry of Education, as well as the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) have also joined the initiative.

Dr Al Gurg said: “During these challenging times, fundraising continues to play an integral part in pushing forward our efforts towards supporting education. The success that our nationwide Education Uninterrupted campaign has had thus far is a remarkable testament to the generosity and commitment of the UAE community to make a positive social impact. We also look forward to seeing our global initiative Humanity Inspired achieve its goal of raising vital funds to give marginalised children and youth the chance for a better life through the transformative power of education.”

Furthermore, as part of its fundraising efforts, five schools under the ‘Adopt a School’ initiative were adopted in Cambodia and Nepal.

The launch of 15 new programmes worth AED 68,058,609

Bringing Global Education Stakeholders Under One Umbrella with RewirEd

The same year also witnessed the launch of RewirEd, a new platform with the vision to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future that was announced in late 2019. The global platform was launched as a collaboration between Dubai Cares and Expo 2020 Dubai and has been delivered in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) alongside key global stakeholders.

RewirEd seeks to reclaim the foundational role of education in achieving the Global Goals to ensure a future that is prosperous, sustainable, innovative and accessible to all.

Under the umbrella of RewirEd, Dubai Cares launched RewirEd Talks, an initiative that offers everyone the opportunity to host and participate in meaningful conversations on the future of education. The main goal of this initiative was to trigger conversations on education that will help reshape education.

In addition, Dubai Cares hosted RewirEdX, the largest high-level virtual conference on education, which brought together ministers of education, high-profile speakers and panellists from U.N agencies, international NGOs, academia, as well as representatives from the public and private sector from around the world who were driving the conversation. The event covered the entire spectrum of education pillars, including Early Childhood Development, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education, Girls Education, Youth and Future Skills, Education in Emergency, as well as Technology and Connectivity.

RewirEdX served as a 1-year countdown to RewirEd Summit, a three-day flagship global education summit taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai site in person on 12 – 14 December 2021.

“Through RewirEd, we seek to unlock new solutions and innovations for the future of education through collaboration between new and unlikely allies, while bringing together existing platforms and partnerships to amplify their impact. We must come together to take bold steps now, to continue shining a light on the fundamental importance of resilient, quality education systems fit for the future and amplify the message that the world needs to hear: We need education –the great equaliser – now more than ever,” added Dr Al Gurg.

The United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC) Approves Dubai Cares as a Member of its Association

Dubai Cares has been approved by the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC) to be associated with its Civil Society Association Committee as a member. This decision comes following Dubai Cares’ efforts in advocating, as well as disseminating information about the United Nations’ work to the world.

“Dubai Cares’ partnership with the UN DGC comes at a time when not only the United Nations but the whole world is looking at innovative ways to overcome the large-scale disruption of education globally. Dubai Cares is not only helping to amplify the United Nations’ efforts, but also mobilising its network and resources to disseminate the UN’s knowledge and expand its outreach,” concluded Dr Al Gurg.