Drawing on its 15 years of sector leadership globally, Dubai Cares, a civil society organization formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC), made significant strides in 2022 that have catalyzed its efforts towards placing education and learning at the heart of human development efforts through a whole-of-society, ecosystem approach.
Advocating for global education transformation
This ecosystem approach to transforming education is captured in Dubai Cares’ Framework for Global Education Transformation, which was launched during the World Government Summit 2022 as part of Expo 2020 Dubai. The Framework served as a core guiding tool for countries during the Transforming Education Summit (TES) National Consultations that took place as part of the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and was extensively referenced across National Consultation Reports outlining individual nation’s plans path for transforming education. It also informed global discussions and proposed solutions for education transformation through featuring in the Discussion Paper for TES Action Track 2 on “Learning and skills for life, work, and sustainable development”.
In addition, the UAE-based global philanthropic organization, in collaboration with Education Commission, unveiled the Rewiring Education for People and Planet report at the UN Transforming Education Summit (TES), held as part of the at 77th UNGA. The Report captures key recommendations for rewiring education extracted from discussions and insights shared during the RewirEd Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai, and offers six concrete “win-win” solutions that promote a cross-sectoral ecosystem approach to align thinking and action for transformational education outcomes and to further achieve progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Further, Dubai Cares, through its participation at COP27 that was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, also stressed upon the importance of the education sector’s role in combating climate change and advocating for the inclusion of education as a necessary and permanent pillar in all future COP agendas to deliver on the promise of a sustainable and human future for all. Through its high-level interventions, the organization highlighted the significance of integrating education and climate in national agendas to achieve global education transformation.
In addition, Dubai Cares demonstrated its enduring commitment to promoting and prioritizing Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education as a key partner in the formulation of the global ECD agenda. The event, which took place at Tashkent, Uzbekistan in November, saw the organization participate in a series of high-level sessions and meetings. The event culminated in the launch of the Tashkent Declaration on Early Childhood Care and Education, with the Dubai Declaration on Early Childhood Development, launched by Dubai Cares in partnership with UNICEF and MoFAIC, serving as one of its critical building blocks.
Moreover, Dubai Cares pavilion concluded its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, attracting 246,720 visitors of all ages and diverse nationalities over the 6-month period.
Commenting on Dubai Cares’ achievements in 2022, His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares, said: “Education has always been the cornerstone of human progress and prosperity. The importance of education in solving the many complex and interconnected crises facing humanity today has never been more prominent. This has been Dubai Cares’ central message to the world through all our engagements in 2022. We must realize – now more than ever – that education is the connecting link across the SDGs and must be seen as the common thread that runs through all our development agendas for people and planet. As we move forward, Dubai Cares will continue to advocate for the role of a transformed education ecosystem as a game-changer for the sustainable development of our communities and economies.”
Moreover, the RewirEd Global Declaration on Connectivity for Education, which was unveiled by Dubai Cares and UNESCO during the RewirEd Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai, has contributed significantly to shaping plans and solutions for digital transformation by serving as a guide for Transforming Education Summit, Action Track 4 on “Digital Learning and Transformation”. Since its launch, work has been underway to position the Declaration as center stone for collaboration and collective action and Dubai Cares is now part of discussions with UNESCO and other stakeholders for its operationalization, scheduled to kick off in 2023.
Another critical document that was shared with the Transforming Education Summit Secretariat and its Action Track Leads is the Dubai Cares Evidence Dossier, which synthesized over 65 research and evaluation projects supported by Dubai Cares over the past 15 years, to inform global discussions, planning, and decision-making for each of the five Action Tracks of the Transforming Education Summit.
Furthermore, Dubai Cares’ catalytic funding to systems change experiments has enabled partners to pilot and showcase innovative solutions for rewiring education ecosystems through human-centered approaches for people and planet. The success stories, learnings, and innovations extracted from Dubai Cares’ portfolio, and disseminated through regional and global engagements, have enabled the organization to continue advancing the global education agenda through contributing evidence-based tools and solutions for improved learning outcomes and education systems.
Encouraging UAE individuals and organizations to make collective impact
On World Food Day, which is marked on 16 October every year, Dubai Cares, along with the award-winning author Flavel Monteiro, launched the “Dine. Feed. Educate” initiative to raise funds in support of the education of underprivileged children globally. The initiative offered the UAE community the opportunity to enjoy 7 unique dishes prepared by 7 renowned chefs from 7 restaurants across the country, with proceeds going towards Dubai Cares’ school feeding programs.
In addition, over the course of the year, Dubai Cares witnessed an overall increase in fundraising and support received from the community, including both home-grown businesses to larger organizations spanning a range of industries such as F&B, retail, education, fashion, sports, finance, and e-commerce.
To show solidarity with the flood-affected families in Pakistan, Dubai Cares, Emirates Red Crescent and Sharjah Charity International launched the “We Stand Together” volunteering initiative in September, in close coordination with the Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) in the UAE, and with the support of nine other UAE humanitarian organizations. Hosted in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah simultaneously, the initiative saw hundreds of volunteers from across the seven emirates pack 1,200 tonnes of food, health and general hygiene items, including 30,000 food kits, to provide emergency support to the affected people.
In addition, Dubai Cares also hosted three editions of Volunteer Emirates, a local volunteering initiative by the organization that rallies the UAE community throughout the year to donate their time in support of the educational cause. The community engagement program saw hundreds of volunteers enhance the learning environment at three schools including: Al Tafawq School in Sharjah, National Charity School for Boys in Dubai and National Charity Private School – Girls in Nasiriyah, Sharjah. Further, Dubai Cares also extended its support to Senses Residential and Day Care for Special Needs by providing essential anti-bacterial furniture to improve the wellbeing and safety of students.
Receiving global recognition for humanitarian efforts
Additionally, Dubai Cares received Room to Read’s “Global Champion Award” in recognition of its commitment to Room to Read and in honor of its dedication to championing literacy and gender equality in education. Dubai Cares was also presented with the “Humanitarian Award” by Distinctive International Arab Festivals Awards (DIAFA) 2022, in recognition of the organization’s efforts in the humanitarian field to support children and youth’s access to quality education.
Setting the roadmap for the future
Moving forward, Dubai Cares will continue to champion the role of transformed education systems in driving progress across the Sustainable Development Goals by placing education and learning at the heart of human development strategies, to drive a sustainable and prosperous future for people and planet. Therefore, the organization’s 2022 achievements have set the scene for its increasingly prominent role and positioning in global discussions focusing on linking education with other global priorities. Most recently, the organization was named the Education Partner for COP28 where it will bring the global education sector closer to the center of the COP28 agenda.