Doha, September 19 (QNA) – “I can see my friends from EAC rolling their eyes and asking themselves ‘does she ever stop’ The answer is no. But, tonight, we take time to celebrate our achievements, and tomorrow, we act on our commitments,” HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) concluded her speech at the celebration of the success of the Educate A Child (EAC) program in providing education to more than 10 million children around the world, organized by the EAA in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the New York Public Library (NYPL) on April 29, 2018.
This achievement of the program was only about six years after it was launched, not by a passing coincidence; Rather, the fruit of sincere determination, insightful vision, and tireless work led by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser since Nov. 14, 2012, when she announced the launch of the program, outlined its interim goals and objectives, and long-term strategies, and mobilized partners from all over the world, achieving its first interim goal of 10 million children in a few years.
Since its launch, the EAC program of the EAA has been directly linked to the UN’ efforts to address educational challenges around the world, as it supports its plans and programs in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to education, and today contributes significantly to the achievement of Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
On April 29, 2013, HH affirmed at the strategic meeting of the program that this program came from the inspiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by all humanity, those goals that sought to close the file of the world’s children deprived of primary education in 2015 and beyond.
The program also came in response to the global challenge represented by the presence of 67 million children outside the walls of the school. The challenge still exists despite the efforts and successes that have been achieved, and the faithful are urging steps to confront it through coordinated efforts led by Her Highness through this unique program and other programs and initiatives in the field of education.
In statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Director of External Relations at Education Above All Foundation Leena Al Derham said that this program represents a model of success and the distinguished partnership between the EAA and the UN to reduce the number of children who lack basic education around the world.
Ten years later, the program supports more than 15 million children globally, contributing to real and significant transformations that contribute to strengthening societies and building a more sustainable world for children prevented from attending primary education, she said.
According to this data, the EAC program has succeeded in establishing its position as one of the global programs that seeks to bring about radical and tangible changes in the lives of children whose circumstances prevented them from enrolling in primary education, as the program’s journey continues to give a glimmer of hope to millions of out-of-school children and the most marginalized around the world.
Today, the program operates in more than 60 countries around the world and has extensive partnerships with the UN through its affiliated organizations and agencies, as well as international banks such as the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in addition to more than 50 partnerships with other institutions and organizations at the local, regional, and international levels.
The EAC strategy stems from a more comprehensive, deep, and flexible vision to overcome the various challenges that prevent children from their right to access quality primary education and therefore seeks to ensure that every child reaches school or that the school reaches every child, based on EAC’s belief that this right does not fall, regardless of the circumstances and reasons, and here comes the focus on the most marginalized children, especially children who suffer from poverty, those who face social and cultural obstacles in education, and children burdened by crises and conflicts.
The program takes into account children who live in remote rural areas far from school buildings and those children who live in areas where the natural environment poses challenges that impede their access to their schools, as well as children living in conflict-affected areas where schools cannot function such as Syria, Yemen, Palestine, refugees, and internally displaced persons.
Educate A Child also covers children living in densely populated urban areas where schools can be crowded and dangerous, as well as children living in extreme poverty and forced to work instead of going to school.
Given this, EAC has become the only global program that uniquely focuses on children deprived of education, operates on an approach that responds to educational challenges at the country level, and tailors problem-solving efforts to the needs of each child.
The program employs its resources, projects, and strategic partnerships in line with its principles, the most important of which is adopting an approach based on the right to education, focusing on the countries with the largest number of students out of school, ensuring that education systems serve all children and not just those enrolled in schools, selecting partners with extensive experience in this field, working in the context of national education plans, and supporting different formal and informal approaches to reaching out-of-school children.
The program also believes that access barriers are the problem; not the child; and that partnership and cooperation are the only way to achieve the goals, as no organization can single-handedly determine what works and provide technical and financial resources to increase impact and reach more children deprived of education, “out of school children “(OOSC).
Director of External Relations at Education Above All Foundation Leena Al Derham told QNA that the successes achieved by EAA through the EAC program encouraged the launch of a new initiative called Zero OOSC which aims to zero the percentage of OOSC in several countries, indicating that the program currently works with a number of governments to reach this end, namely Djibouti, Gambia, Rwanda, and Zanzibar.
The UN highly appreciates the efforts of EAA through the EAC program, where its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the Foundation’s contributions, saying, “through your investment, your advocacy and your vision, you are bringing to life the dream that every child has to an education to a seat in the classroom to a future.”
During the celebration of the success of reaching 10 million children in 2018, Guterres said: “thank you for lending your hands – and your hearts – to this compelling cause: the cause of children. Their future is our future. As we support their dreams today, we support our dreams for a better, more sustainable world tomorrow. For all people. Thank you.”
To achieve a better world, EAC continues to help millions of children around the world through strategic partnerships and innovative solutions to address the challenges that hinder their access to quality education, supports children at risk of dropping out of primary education, and plays an important role in improving the quality of education to achieve distinguished results at the level of individuals and society, benefiting children in the first place and their societies, and laying the foundations for a more sustainable world. (QNA)