The two-day roundtable on the challenges faced in education for girls, hosted by Dubai Cares and Plan Canada, began on Monday.
The meeting was part of a global movement that supports social justice for children in developing countries.
“The greatest and most urgent moral challenge ahead of us this century remains gender inequality, specifically discrimination against girls”
Titled ‘Bridging the Gap towards Girls’ Education’, the roundtable had more than 50 participants, including partners, policymakers, donors and representatives from civil society organisations, from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
The roundtable covers panel discussions and case studies from Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen. Speakers included Andrea Burniske, Director from Save the Children; Marta Colburn from Care Yemen; Jorg Wojahn, First Secretary EU Delegation for GCC countries; and Rashid Javed from Plan Pakistan.
Dubai Cares has been working with Plan Canada - that has development programmes in 68 countries - on an implementation basis.
In an exclusive interview, Asma Malik, Country Programme Officer at Dubai Cares told Gulf News, “This is the first time we are partnering with Plan Canada on an advocacy platform. Dubai Cares has actively participated in its [Plan Canada’s] ‘Because I am a Girl’ initiative. Together we want to influence policy to help promote education for girls,”
‘Because I am a Girl’ is a global initiative that improves the lives of girls in developing countries with the belief that when a girl is educated, nourished and protected, she shares her knowledge and skills with her family and community, and can change the future of a nation.
In a welcome remark during the roundtable, the CEO of Plan Canada Rosemary McCarney said, “The greatest and most urgent moral challenge ahead of us this century remains gender inequality, specifically discrimination against girls.”
Malik explained that the objective of the session is primarily to promote dialogue. “The aim is to raise questions about various issues that impede access to education for girls in different environments and countries. The objective is also to address challenges and discuss approaches and methodologies that can be implemented,” she said.
On the expected outcome, she said that it was two-fold.
“One is to get the participants to engage and exchange knowledge of regional programmes, and second is to make the cause of girls’ education on top of donors’ agendas in the gulf and the region on the whole.”
Policymakers, donors and civil society organisations discuss issues that impede access to education
Tweets from the roundtable
Government of Pakistan spends more on military rather than on education — Rashid Javed, Country Director, Plan Pakistan
The issues that challenge both boys and girls are to a great degree universal. - McCarney, CEO Plan Canada
Most dropouts happen between grades 1-4. Parents don’t realize the impact/value of education quickly & pull out their children. - Beau Crowder, Director of Programs, Dubai Cares
Education & girls’ education specifically are the nucleus of development. - HE Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State and Dubai Cares Chairperson
Average years of schooling in KSA is 7 as opposed to 12.4 in Norway. - Prof Fawziah Albakr, Sociology of Education, King Saud University