The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Al Fakhoora, a programme of Education Above All (EAA), on Monday celebrated the successful completion of the “Investing in Education and Building Resilience Programme” in the Gaza Strip. The funding of this programme by Qatar Fund for Development through Al Fakhoora has enabled UNICEF to enhance education facilities, further develop child welfare activities, and promote civic engagement in the Gaza Strip.
By working through UNDP and partners to rehabilitate and rebuild education infrastructure destroyed in the 2014 conflict, UNICEF has also promoted hope within the Gaza community; a timely reminder that the well-being of children and their caregivers in the Gaza Strip has not been forgotten.
The schools rebuilt through this programme are designed in a ‘child-friendly’ way that ensures students have access to open spaces and creative learning environments, including appropriate furniture, engaging educational technologies, and first-rate sporting facilities. Students were actively engaged in beautifying their new schools through mural projects, fostering school pride and ownership.
The school rehabilitation supported by this project also provided further entry points for child welfare management and psychosocial support for children affected by conflict and trauma in the Gaza Strip. This has included the training of school counsellors, renovating and furnishing counselling rooms, and integrating new social work and child protection modules into university courses. This refinement of child welfare management systems in the Gaza Strip has improved the detection of trauma in children and ensured that these children are referred to appropriate specialists in a timely manner.
Moreover, through this programme’s innovative civic leadership activities, Al Fakhoora and UNICEF have promoted civic engagement skills among adolescents and university students. By focusing on critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating, the programme is looking to tomorrow’s leaders to build their own community initiatives today.
“We are very proud of this programme’s achievements for the young Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip. And, moreover, we are grateful to Al Fakhoora and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) for the partnership that has allowed this very important programme to take place. We sincerely look forward to enhancing our collaboration, so that we can continue to deliver for children in the State of Palestine – these children are the future of the Gaza Strip, and deserve every opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Joyce Gachiri, UNICEF Chief of Gaza Office.
Farooq Burney, Executive Director of the Al Fakhoora Programme, Education Above All Representatives, added: Al Fakhoora believes in the need for a comprehensive approach to ensure the right not just to education, but to quality education. The holistic style of this unique programme, including a “build back better” attitude and child-friendly approach to reconstruction and rehabilitation, the psycho-social and child welfare initiatives, and the civic engagement aspect, all combine to ensure we are providing the best educational opportunities to for the children of Gaza.”