10.25 AM Sunday, 10 December 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:31 06:49 12:14 15:11 17:33 18:52
10 December 2023

UN Women, General Women’s Union organise roundtable on 'Second Chance Education' programme


The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the General Women’s Union, organised a session to introduce the Second Chance Education (SCE) Programme to UAE and GCC stakeholders in an event held at the General Women’s Union in Abu Dhabi.

The programme is a global pioneering initiative that runs in six countries including Mexico, Chile, Australia, Jordan, Cameroon and Australia.

The Second Chance Education programme aims to offer a second chance to women and girls who had previously faced barriers to education, helping them acquire essential skills, knowledge, and qualifications and access educational opportunities and income generation pathways that will empower them to thrive in today's rapidly evolving world.

The programme reached a total of 113,079 women as of 30th June 2023, including 40,398 registrants accessing online learning through its 85 learning hubs and offering educational opportunities to return to formal education, providing entrepreneurship education, employment and vocational skills, as well as life, basic and digital skills. Out of the total number of participants, 34,465 women have started to earn an income through entrepreneurship and formal employment opportunities, with many other women in the programme pursuing similar empowerment goals.

The event, hosted at the General Women’s Union, was attended by a diverse audience, including representatives of the private sector, government, UN agencies and non-profit organisations, to garner greater support from partners across sectors to help scale the SCE Programme and to enable its geographic expansion and reach.

During the session, key stakeholders, including SCE participants, implementing partners, the private sector and government representatives from pilot countries, presented their insights, successes, and lessons learned, exchanged knowledge and learnings.

The session provided participants with a comprehensive understanding of the SCE Programme's impact and effectiveness in addressing educational disparities for marginalised women and seek partners to support this programme to scale.

On his part, Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Adviser to the UAE President and Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), affirmed that the Second Chances in Education programme by UN Women provides a lifeline for women who have not had the opportunity to acquire basic knowledge and essential skills for empowerment. “This programme offers a personalised approach that removes the restrictions placed on women's participation in education and provides pathways for entrepreneurship and vocational training.”

He continued, “The UAE has placed great importance on women's education since its inception and has placed it at the core of its strategy. Women's education represents our commitment to gender equality and the full participation of women in our society, economy, politics, and future planning. Today, women enroll in schools and universities on an equal footing with men and excel in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

"Women are creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Their success is a testament to what is possible when vision meets action, thanks to the wise leadership and guidance, as well as the support and care of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, (Mother of the Nation), Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF)."

Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women's Union, said, “We are delighted to host this important event in the UAE, which has placed education among its top priorities and made the education sector a cornerstone of its comprehensive development, in line with its strategic aspirations to achieve global leadership. Since the founding of the state by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sulta, women's education has received significant attention, and laws and regulations were enacted to make education mandatory for Emirati girls.”

She emphasised the General Women's Union's commitment, under the guidance of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, to strengthen cooperation with UN Women to launch initiatives and programs aimed at supporting women worldwide, enabling their participation in all fields, and working to empower and protect their rights so that they can rightfully occupy their deserved positions and lead stable and happy lives.

Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Development and international Organizations Affairs, stated, “When it comes to women’s empowerment and support through education, the UAE offers its own development journey and a success story to learn from. This is why we have included education and women’s empowerment as priority themes in our foreign assistance policy, and women can’t contribute to development at their full potential without second chances in education that leaves no woman behind and operate with inclusive approach.”

The event witnessed a dynamic exchange of ideas and perspectives among attendees praising the collaboration between various sectors to address a pressing societal challenge.

The event served as a platform for diverse stakeholders to come together in support of education.