Education Above All (EAA), through its program “Al Fakhoora”, has awarded 265 new scholarships to young leaders in the Gaza Strip. This will help to enable young people in attending university, build a better future for themselves and their families, and lead their communities toward a more peaceful future.
These scholarships represent an unprecedented investment in higher education, in Gaza, PNN reports. It is the largest ever intake for Al Fakhooraâ€™s scholarship program, “Dynamic Futures”, which is operated through an implementation partnership with the United Nations Development Programâ€™s (UNDP) “Assistance to the Palestinian People” program in Gaza.
In the past year, Dynamic Futures has also expanded to reach additional students in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Syrian refugees and IDPs (internally displaced peoples) in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.
Since 2009, Al Fakhoora has reached over 870 students in Gaza through its Dynamic Futures scholarships and programs, to rebuild educational infrastructure and provide psycho-social support and health services to the most marginalized.
Working in areas recovering from conflict, Dynamic Futures enables talented young people to attend university and provides them with leadership and professional skills training. It empowers them academically and economically and trains them to lead their communities to a more peaceful and cohesive future.
Al Fakhoora is part of EAAâ€™s multifaceted approach to achieving its vision of ensuring that all children and young people, especially those in the poorest and most marginalized communities, can access quality education. As an organisation, it believes education is a key driver of human development, and its provision is, therefore, vital for the achievement of all the UNâ€™s Sustainable Development Goals, driving SDG 4 â€“ universal access to education â€“ whilst also complementing the delivery of many others.
EAA Program Director for Al Fakhoora, Farooq Burney, said: â€śEducation Above All (EAA) was founded on the belief that education is a driver of human development. Al Fakhoora, a program of EAA, supports this belief by enabling thousands of young people into quality higher education.
â€śGreater investment in education is vital for a peaceful future in Gaza, the Middle East, and all communities disrupted by conflict. We are expanding our Dynamic Futures scholarship program in areas of the most need.
We are calling for the international development community to support us in our efforts in Gaza, and in areas affected by the Syrian civil war. Now is the time to invest in educating our young people. A more peaceful future depends on it.â€ť
An award ceremony, held in Gaza City on 18-19 December, was attended by over 1,000 people, including students, their families, academics, representatives of international organizations and community leaders.
During the ceremony, Basil Nasser, head of the UNDP Office in Gaza, emphasized that education is a basic human right, critical to the future of the Palestinian State. He added, â€śUNDP is proud to be part of this program that will provide students with the necessary skills to excel and contribute to the prosperity of their community.â€ť
These scholarships are distributed over different academic specialties according to demand in the job market, such as engineering. To date, Al Fakhooraâ€™s Dynamic Futures program has enrolled over 605 students in universities in Gaza and, in some cases, abroad.
The scholarships are rigorously based on merit and leadership potential. In order to select the most deserving students, 4,124 applications were reviewed, 706 home visits conducted, and 504 students were invited to a leadership camp before the 265 scholarship recipients were selected.
About Education Above All
Education Above All (EAA) is a global initiative founded in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. EAAâ€™s aim is to build a global movement whichÂ contributes to human, social and economic development through quality education and other welfare programs and initiatives.
With a particular focus on areas affected by poverty, conflict and disaster, EAA champions the needs of children and youth, and empower them to be active members of their communities. By meeting the demand for education, EAA equips them to support sustainable development, and to nurture environments of peace, security, justice and prosperity.
EAA is the umbrella organisation overseeing three core programs: Educate A Child, Al Fakhoora and Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), as well as one special project, the Kakuma Project.
About the Al Fakhoora Programme
Al Fakhoora is a program of Education Above All. Its aim is to build a global movement that contributes to human, social and economic development through the provision of quality education. Al Fakhoora aspires to offer access to education for young people whose lives have been affected by poverty, conflict and disaster.
Its vision is to promote the right to education in conflict and post-conflict states by unlocking a new generation of marginalized youth to become educated and professionally skilled, and to inspire leaders of the future who guide their families and communities toward cohesion and prosperity.
In addition to its programs in Gaza, Al Fakhoora is expanding to provide similar programs, including scholarships, psycho-social support, health programs and investment in educational infrastructure to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground, in more than 170 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. For more information on UNDPâ€™s work in the occupied West bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, visit www.ps.undp.org.
(Edited for the IMEMC by chris @ imemc.org)
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.