- More than 150,000 children in Niger will benefit from an ambitious project aimed at educating one million children in developing countries. The project supported by Dubai Cares through Unicef will provide US$ 1.2 million to fund educational programs in Niger, which will also focus on reducing gender disparity.
Niger is the latest recipient of the partnership programme, which is already running in Djibouti, Sudan and Yemen and will eventually help fund education programmes in 12 countries.
Apart from school children, the programme aims at developing primary school teachers, parent teacher associations, school management committees, education civil servants and NGO's.
Through the fund, basic school kits will be supplied to children as part of the initiative, which will help increase the number of children enrolled in 600 schools around the country. In addition, the programme will also provide classroom furniture for 200 schools and building materials to construct 50 emergency learning centres.
Increasing rural school enrolment rates in Niger, along with improving sanitation facilities in 200 schools and increasing the attendance rate of girls are the other key components of the programme.
"Almost 50 per cent of Niger's villages do not have functional primary schools, with very few pre-schools or kindergarten centers to support child survival or readiness towards education. Our project will focus on increasing educational opportunities for children, especially girls, in the most remote and marginalized communities," said Mrs Reem Al Hashimy, Chairperson of Dubai Cares Board of Directors.
According to 2006 data, Niger has one of the poorest education indicators in the world with a female literacy rate of only 14.8 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. The education system faces enormous challenges in terms of access and quality with limited government funding for education.
"In light of current needs which are enormous in the education sector in Niger, and noting the efforts and commitment of the Government to both increase access to and the quality of education in the country, significant contributions from donors such as Dubai Cares are crucial towards making further major steps forward to ensure that all children receive a quality education in Niger. UNICEF therefore wishes to thank Dubai Cares for their invaluable support,' said Akhil Lyer, UNICEF Representative in Niger.
Dubai Cares has prioritised 12 countries that experience the highest gap in primary education, which include Bangladesh, Bosnia, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Maldives, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Occupied Palestinian territories, Sudan, and Yemen; and Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon and Jordan.
The programme is solely devoted to improving primary education around the world, as a contribution to UN Millennium Development Goals for providing primary education to every child by 2015.
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