Dubai Cares is playing a key role in helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning by 2030, by supporting programs in early childhood development, access to quality primary and secondary education, technical and vocational education and training for youth as well as a particular focus on education in emergencies and protracted crises.
Dubai Cares also funds research-oriented programs and establishes pilot initiatives that provide meaningful and valuable evidence for governments, policymakers, and civil society, to support them in defining an educational framework for the future.
Central to Dubai Cares’ model of intervention is capacity development at national level through the support of local education stakeholders. Also central to Dubai Cares’ approach is a focus on monitoring, evaluation and learning. This ongoing process enables the organization to gather evidence collected during regular field visits, as well as through reports by academic institutions that Dubai Cares appoints to independently evaluate its programs. Dubai Cares uses this knowledge to design and fund innovative programs that test alternative models and hypothesis to increase the impact of its interventions. Monitoring, evaluation and learning also helps Dubai Cares understand what works and what does not. It ensures the organization’s ability to adapt to changes, mobilize more resources, and better utilize funds.
Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme in all Dubai Cares’ education programs with an approach that aims to secure equal access for boys and girls to safe learning environments with adequate facilities, materials and academic support from gender sensitized teachers and communities.
Shaping the Global Education Agenda
Dubai Cares plays an important role in advancing the global education development agenda. It seeks to be a technical convener on education issues, especially in developing and contributing to the post-2015 agenda, and as a champion of innovative programs and policies. For instance, Dubai Cares has been supporting the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF), a platform convened by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, contributing to the development of learning metrics for delivering quality education and establishing a defined mechanism to influence the post-2015 education framework. In February 2012, Dubai Cares hosted the second LMTF meeting in Dubai to identify common learning goals in order to improve learning opportunities for children and youth across the world. Currently, Dubai Cares is supporting two LMTF champion countries with the adoption of recommendations, enabling them to measure a more holistic set of learning outcomes.
Dubai Cares was also selected by former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to join as a partner in his 5-year Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) which was launched in September 2012 during the week of the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to ensure quality, relevant and transformative education for all children across the world.
As part of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Paris during April 2014, Dubai Cares joined a global alliance led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with 13 leading pharmaceutical companies, global health organizations, private foundations and donors, and governments pledging support to reduce the global burden of NTDs. One of Dubai Cares’ strategic approaches to improving student enrollment and learning outcomes is through an integrated school health and nutrition model that is made up of school-based deworming activities, school feeding and WASH (Water Sanitation & Hygiene) in schools.
Education in Emergencies
Despite the growing number of children caught in conflict and natural disasters, statistics show only 2% of overall humanitarian aid is spent on education. This makes the needs of children living in fragile states an urgent priority for Dubai Cares.
In July 2015, during the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, Dubai Cares highlighted the need for a greater focus to be placed on the various fragile and conflict-affected states and situations. The UAE global philanthropic organization then announced in September 2015 on the sidelines of the 70th UNGA week in New York that it would champion Education in Emergencies in order to address the critical need to provide quality education to children affected by crisis.
This was followed by an announcement in May 2016 at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, where Dubai Cares committed to increase the share of its Education in Emergencies programs to 33 per cent of its financial portfolio over the next two years, out of which 10 per cent of all funding for Education in Emergencies will be invested in research and evaluations. Also at the Summit, Dubai Cares was selected as a member of the newly formed High-Level Steering Group for the Education Cannot Wait fund. As part of the Group, Dubai Cares will contribute to leverage additional finance and catalyze new approaches to funding and innovation to deliver education in emergencies and protracted crises. In addition, Dubai Cares represents all private foundations at the High Level Steering Group for the fund. Education Cannot Wait is the first global fund to prioritize education in humanitarian action.
In September 2016, during the 71st UNGA, Dubai Cares announced a new Research Envelope known as Evidence for Education in Emergencies (E-Cubed), which aims to generate more and better evidence to inform decision and policy-makers on what works and what models of delivery of education in emergencies offer the greatest potential for impact.
In March 2017, Dubai Cares was selected as a member on the Steering Committee of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). As a Steering Committee member, Dubai Cares is able to influence the strategic direction of one of the most important conveners of knowledge and resources in the education in the emergencies sector. With more than 13,000 members, INEE is bringing together stakeholders across various domains to foster dialogue, influence positive change in education in emergencies policy and practice, advance research to build the evidence, and support the establishment of partnerships to address common challenges in the sector and work towards shared solutions.
Global Advocacy Efforts
Dubai Cares is a long-term advocate of safeguarding children and young people’s right to education. The organization believes that education is instrumental in transforming the lives of vulnerable children and young people in developing communities around the world. By learning from the experimental elements of its programs, Dubai Cares has been able contribute to knowledge generation within the education sector, and engage in evidence-based advocacy.
The organization has been a vocal global advocate of quality early childhood education, gender equality in education, school health and nutrition as well as education in emergencies.