Dubai Cares, kicked off a three-year programme in Nicaragua, to establish student-led enterprises that are both educational and profit-making.
The initiative is in partnership with Teach a Man to Fish, a non-profit organisation supporting schools across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Dh1.94 million ($534,473) School Enterprise Challenge programme, targets the Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACC), the most disadvantaged region in Nicaragua.
It is set to help 6,300 students across 165 schools gain skills, knowledge, and a mindset for decent employment. The programme also provides schools’ teaching and administration staff with the necessary skills and tools for planning and managing a school business.
The programme is supporting the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education (MINED) and a number of NGOs to help gender-balanced school teams in planning and setting up profitable school enterprises. It aims to develop an efficient Management Information System (MIS) to support participating NGOs in their management of schools participating in the School Enterprise Challenge.
“Nicaragua has a large youth population and although the nation has made important progress in increasing access to primary and secondary education, the completion rates remain alarmingly low, as many parents in the country prefer their children to work and contribute to the household income,” said Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares.
He pointed out that through the School Enterprise Challenge programme, Dubai Cares highlights the urgent need for experiential and vocational training in entrepreneurship and business among Nicaraguan youth, as well as the importance of focusing on gender equality in employment.
“By empowering young boys, girls, and teachers with the skills required for meaningful employment, the School Enterprise Challenge programme addresses three of the sustainable development goals including No Poverty, Quality Education, and Decent Work and Economic Growth,” said Al Gurg.
Since its establishment, Teach A Man To Fish has assisted over 300,000 young people gain business, entrepreneurship, and other life skills through participating in planning and managing school businesses.
“Teach A Man To Fish is enormously proud to be partnering with Dubai Cares to transform education for over 6,000 young people in 165 schools in Nicaragua. Our partnership in School Enterprise Challenge Nicaragua is driven by the aim to prepare young people better for success in school, in work and in life,” said Nik Kafka, CEO and Founder of Teach A Man To Fish.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas and ranks 124 out of 188 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index. More than 45 per cent of Nicaragua’s 6.2 million people live in multi-dimensional poverty, while just over 20 per cent of the population live below the national poverty line despite working. The majority of poor Nicaraguans live in rural areas and are employed in agriculture, the country’s main industry. Youth unemployment has been estimated at 12 per cent in the Central American nation, with young people working in precarious low-wage positions in informal sectors.
According to the UNDP, about 40 per cent of the adolescents and young adults are either unemployed or working in informal sectors, with female youth accounting for a higher proportion of the unemployed youth population (69 per cent).