During a series of meetings which took place in Doha this week, Education Above All’s Al Fakhoora programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have agreed on the implementation of joint education, reconstruction and psychosocial support projects in Gaza, with a focus on damages occurred in Gaza during last summer’s hostilities.
UNDP and UNICEF have come to Doha to present their work packages to Al Fakhoora, after which the implementation of the projects will take place. The purpose of the meetings and workshops this week has been to determine in detail the milestones of the projects’ implementation and agree on the monitoring and evaluation processes.
These projects in Gaza represent a unique collaboration between Al Fakhoora, UNDP and UNICEF, where their technical and implementation teams will be working closely together in an unprecedented way, and with a high level of engagement between the organisations. UNDP will respond to the current deficit of classrooms in Gaza, focusing on the reconstruction of educational facilities working closely with UNICEF, who will provide guidance on ensuring that the facilities are inclusive, child-friendly learning environments.
The projects will also strengthen child protection systems to provide psychosocial support to children, and will enhance adolescents’ social entrepreneurship skills, so that they can become active agents of change in their communities. The projects will create employment opportunities for the people of Gaza, with Al Fakhoora students and young people partaking in the implementation of the projects.
In November 2014, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar (MOFA) signed an agreement to donate $40m from the Qatar Development Fund to support Education Above All’s Al Fakhoora programme. Subsequent to this donation Al Fakhoora signed agreements with UNDP, UNICEF and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) in February 2015 in Doha. Separate meetings between Al Fakhoora and UNWRA to discuss the detail of the implementation will take place in the near future.
Commenting on this week’s meetings with the UN agencies, Farooq Burney, Director of Al Fakhoora, said: “Moving forward with the implementation of these joint projects is testament to our commitment to ensure that the funds received from the Qatar Development Fund are put to the best use in Gaza. The direct involvement of Al Fakhoora alumni in the implementation process, therefore providing a form of employment and empowerment, is an important part of the legacy of Al Fakhoora projects in Gaza.”
“Education is an essential part of the development equation,” said Narjess Saidane, UNDP Deputy Special Representative. “The needs in Gaza are immense, with more than two thirds of the youth population unemployed. Through this strategic project with Al Fakhoora, and UNICEF, UNDP will improve access to education for children and adolescents in Gaza, including children with disabilities, by building or reconstructing more than 200 new classrooms, thus providing safe spaces for learning. The project will also enable the rehabilitation of university premises, providing new options for training and employment for Gaza youth, empowering them to shape their future and access opportunities for a resilient and successful life,” she added.