Qatar’s Sheikha Moza launches global push to deliver quality schooling for world’s hard-to-reach children

© HHOPL/2012

Her Highness Sheikha Moza of Qatar at the launch of Educate A Child during the WISE 2012 conference in Doha.

DOHA, QATAR, 14 November 2012- Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, today launched a global initiative that aims to deliver quality primary education to millions of children across the world.

The Educate A Child (EAC) initiative is partnering with the world’s most expert organisations to bring high quality learning to the 61 million children kept out of school by extreme poverty, conflict, natural disaster, prejudice or any of the factors that can make them hard to reach by conventional means.

Following on from the launch of the UN Secretary-General’s Education First initiative in September, Educate A Child will give new impetus to the achievement of international targets for education. It will lead the drive for universal education – the first pillar of Education First – and build on it momentum and advocacy efforts, working through projects on the ground to reach out of school children.

Speaking at the launch of Educate A Child at the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE) in the Qatari capital, Sheikha Moza, who is also a member of the steering committee of Education First, said the challenge of reaching out of school children may be daunting, but we have an obligation to act urgently and with commitment.

“The children still not in school are the ones hardest to reach, in the most persistently difficult circumstances. But we cannot turn away. Reaching them will require great ingenuity as well as investment.

“That is why Educate A Child is collaborating with the world’s most expert partners.  Partners with broad global reach, and partners with deep local roots. This is how we will bring quality learning to millions of children.”

Educate A Child has at launch more than 25 projects in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, usually on a matching funding basis. To date it has enabled 500,000 children to access primary education through these projects. Fostering innovation and creativity, it will share solutions that can be scaled up to reach millions of children and deliver sustainable education over the long term.

Current EAC projects range from low-cost one-room schools in Indian urban slums that enable children to learn in spite of also having to work, to floating boat schools in flood-riven areas in Bangladesh, to projects working with traditional communities such as Kenya’s Maasai where education for girls is often cut short by cultural norms.

While some progress has been made in recent years towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education (MDG2), it has shown signs of stalling. Educate A Child aims to bring renewed momentum to the global effort to break out of the vicious circle that depriving children of their right to education can create.

Almost half of all out-of-school children worldwide – 28 million – live in countries affected by conflict.  Educate A Child is working to support many schools and learning centres for refugee children who have fled fighting or disasters such as drought and famine, to enable them to continue their education in spite of having left their homes.

Educate A Child builds on Sheikha Moza’s extensive experience in the education field, encompassing her mandates as a UNESCO Special Envoy on Basic and Higher Education, and as a United Nations Millennium Development Goal Advocate.

For interviews with representatives of Educate A Child and partner organisations, please contact: Helen Palmer on +44 (0)7912 242394 hpalmer@webershandwick.com

For more information about Educate A Child, please visit www.educateachild.org.qa