The Al Manal Initiative, launched by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE, to activate humanitarian work at a local, regional and international level, has announced the launch of its ‘Step Up For Girls’ Education’ campaign in support of Dubai Cares girls’ education programmes in developing countries.
The campaign, which donates Dh1 towards girls’ education for every five steps a participant takes using the Global Women’s Forum Dubai App, will be launched today during the Forum.
For every 3,500 steps accumulated, an equivalent of one year’s worth of education will be donated to existing girls’ education programmes of Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives.
The Global Women’s Forum Dubai App will feature a special pedometer that allows attendees who have downloaded it to track the number of steps they take at the Forum. The App will give each person an achievable target of 3,500 steps, to educate a girl for one year. During the Global Women’s Forum Dubai, participants will be able to view a live step counter on various screens across the venue, showcasing the number of collective steps taken by the total number attendees who have downloaded the App.
In many parts of the world, young girls are still expected to sideline their education in favour of domestic duties. Some are burdened to care and support children as young, or even younger than themselves, forcing them to enter low-paid and labour-intensive activities to earn income. If adolescent girls stay in school and obtain real skills, research shows that they will earn more income in the future, marry later, and have fewer and healthier children. In the longer term, secondary education protects girls against HIV and AIDS, sexual harassment and human trafficking.
Sheikha Manal said: “Everyone has the right to education, however for many girls throughout the world, there are various barriers to accessing it. As we gather at Global Women’s Forum Dubai to explore new approaches to enhancing female participation, gender parity and the influence of women both regionally and globally, we have an opportunity over the next two days to make a transformative difference to the lives of underprivileged girls across the globe, allowing them to grow, develop and fulfil their role in socio-economic development. The UAE is well-known for its humanitarian generosity and ongoing efforts to support developing countries, and as we come together in Dubai for this first Women’s Forum event in the Mena region, I’m confident that participants will take the time to download the app and contribute to this important initiative.”
Dubai Cares currently runs a number of programmes that support girls’ education. These include programmes in South Sudan, Pakistan, Mozambique, Philippines and Malawi. In South Sudan, Dubai Cares has built and equipped two schools, as well as used school bags as an incentive to increase enrollment of girls and boys in Juba County, Central Equatoria State. In Pakistan, Dubai Cares has worked to improve girls’ access to quality primary education by supporting schools and communities in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces.
In Mozambique, the Dubai Cares AMOR programme aims to invest in actions and activities that will help break down barriers and build assets at several critical points in a girl's lifecycle, including increasing the number of primary schools that offer complete primary education programmes; enabling girls who have discontinued or been excluded from education due to early marriage and early pregnancy to reincorporate into the formal system; and improving the quality, relevance and gender sensitivity of teaching and learning through extracurricular camps.
In the Philippines, Dubai Cares has launched a programme that aims to secure a platform for girls to break through the hurdles of gender norms and achieve professional and personal success equivalent to their male counterparts in two of the country’s poorest provinces, Masbate and Northern Samar.
The Al Manal Initiative, established in 2013, every year organises activities and programmes to serve different issues in society, including education, health, nutrition, child and family, as well as social and awareness programmes.