21.05.2013 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

"Educate A Child": A new hope for 180,000 Iraqi children

A girl at a Literacy Community Learning Centre in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. © UNESCO 2013

UNESCO, the Government of Iraq and the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser organized an event in Baghdad to officially announce the start of the implementation of the “Educate A Child” initiative, a new endeavour which brings new hope for 180.000 out-of-school children in Iraq.

Representatives of the Iraqi central and regional governments, UN agencies, and international and local NGOs gathered in Baghdad on 19 May 2013 to discuss the programme objectives, coverage, operational plan, and results framework.

Participants emphasized the importance of coordination and synergy for the success of this project, as well as the key role of local NGOs and community based organizations in achieving the desired goals. The creation of a national steering committee to supervise implementation was also among the key points of discussions.

Representing the Prime Minister Office, Advisor to Minister of Higher Education and scientific research Dr. Salah Al Nuaimi stated that “the wide involvement of the different governmental bodies to implement this initiative shows that providing quality education to out-of-school children is a priority for the Government of Iraq". Dr. Al Nuaimi stressed on the importance of "providing Iraqi children with an education of peace and tolerance, and the knowledge needed to create a peaceful environment in Iraq".

The director of UNESCO office in Iraq Louise Haxthausen praised the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bent Nasser for its generous support to education in Iraq, stating that this new initiative represents "a very successful model of cooperation to improve access to education for all children in Iraq". UNESCO director added that "ensuring the right for education of out-of-school children is crucial to achieve social safety and peace in Iraq".

In a first stage, the "Educate a Child" initiative will target 30,000 children in the four governorates of Baghdad, Basra, Ninewa, and Erbil, with the aim to increase school enrolment, particularly for girls and in rural areas. In a second stage, this programme will extend to more than 180,000 children in 12 governorates, a key step towards achieving “Education for All” in Iraq.

Launched on the margin of the "World Innovation Summit for Education" (WISE) in Qatar, the "Educate a Child" initiative aims to support selected countries overcome the challenges they face in terms of education, with an overall goal of increasing enrolment in primary levels. Implemented with the support of the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bent Nasser, first lady of Qatar and UNESCO special envoy for basic and Higher Education, this programme builds on the achievements of previous programmes implemented by UNESCO in Iraq.

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