Dubai Cares, part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, revealed on Tuesday plans to scale-up its programme in Iraq in an effort to support the rehabilitation of education services in Mosul and Baghdad following the large-scale displacement crisis that hit the country.

The new Dh10.9 million ($2.9 million) programme will be implemented in partnership with War Child UK and builds on the work carried out with a previous grant of Dh1.8 million ($500,000) in 2017. Dubai Cares also announced the start of the implementation phase of its Education in Emergencies (EiE) programme in Indonesia, which aims to restore schooling in areas affected by the destructive Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in September 2018. The Dh3.6 million ($1 million) programme in Indonesia will be implemented in partnership with Save the Children. Both announcements were made during the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) 2019, which is being held from March 12 to 14 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares, said: “The crises in Iraq and Indonesia have placed severe burdens on both governments and stretched already thin resources. These two new programmes express our commitment to addressing education in emergencies by re-establishing access to education and providing quality education to conflict-affected children and young people within safe and inclusive spaces. We are confident that the direct and indirect impact of these interventions on students, their families, teachers and the community at large will provide a sense of normalcy, stability and hope for the future.”

Protective shield

Meanwhile, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management told the conference that child refugees of conflicts must be taught values of tolerance in schools,

Christos Stylianides in his keynote on ‘Education in emergencies as a strategic investment in the future: tackling the education gap between displacements and formal schooling’, said education-in-emergencies is a “protective shield against radicalisation”.

He added that education was “as vital as food and shelter” in emergencies as it provides “continuity” for children and fosters reconciliation between communities. To bolster education-in-emergencies, the funding for such programmes has been increased to 10 per cent of all humanitarian aid this year, Stylianides said.

“During the past five years, I visited many education-in-emergencies projects … These classrooms teach more than math and science. They teach kids lessons in tolerance, peace and reconciliation — lessons they will never forget,” he added

Stylianides gave the example of a school in Mosul, Iraq, he visited two weeks ago, where a terror group had “tried to inject the children with hatred” a year ago. The same school has now “cultivated through these [education-in-emergencies] projects a culture of reconciliation and tolerance”.

Despite the relatively recent focus on the significance of education-in-emergencies, it has traditionally been the “most chronically underfunded sector” in humanitarian projects, he said.

Around 17.5 million children have had their education disrupted in 35 countries affected by crises, he added.