The global Foundation renews its commitment to young people in Gaza by awarding 265 new scholarships

Gaza Strip/PNN/

Education Above All (EAA), through its programme Al Fakhoora, awarded 265 new scholarships to young leaders in the Gaza Strip. This will enable young people to attend 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. It is the largest ever intake for Al Fakhoora’s scholarship programme, Dynamic Futures, which is operated through an implementation partnership with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Assistance to the Palestinian People programme in Gaza.

In the past year, Dynamic Futures has also expanded to reach additional students in Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Syrian refugees and IDP’s in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.

Since 2009, Al Fakhoora, a programme of EAA, has reached over 870 students in Gaza through its Dynamic Futures scholarships and programmes to rebuild educational infrastructure and provide psychosocial support and health services to the most marginalised.

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 EAA’s multifaceted approach to achieving its vision of ensuring all children and young people, especially those in the poorest and most marginalised 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 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, driving SDG 4 – universal access to education – whilst also complementing the delivery of many others.

EAA Programme Director for Al Fakhoora Farooq Burney said:“Education Above All (EAA) was founded on the belief that education is a driver of human development. Al Fakhoora, a programme of EAA, supports this belief by enabling thousands of young people into quality higher education.

“Greater 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 programme 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.”

An award ceremony, held in Gaza City on 18-19 December, was attended by over 1000 people, including students, their families, academics, representatives of international organizations and community leaders.

During the ceremony, Basil Nasser, Head of UNDP Office in Gaza emphasised that education is a basic human right, critical to the future of the Palestinian State. He added, “UNDP is proud to be part of this programme that will provide students with the necessary skills to excel and contribute to the prosperity of their community.”

These scholarships are distributed over different academic specialties according to demand in the job market, such as engineering. To date, Al Fakhoora’s Dynamic Futures programme 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, 4124 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. EAA’s aim is to build a global movement that contributes to human, social and economic development through quality education and other welfare programmes 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 programmes: 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 programme 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 programmes in Gaza, in 2016 Al Fakhoora is expanding to provide similar programmes, including scholarships, psychosocial support, health programmes and investment in educational infrastructure to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
About UNDP
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, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. For more information on UNDP’s work in the West bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, visit www.ps.undp.org.