The global Foundation renews its commitment to young people in Gaza by awarding 265 new scholarships
Gaza Strip, 18 December 2016 – Education Above All (EAA), through its programme Al Fakhoora, and in partnership with UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, 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 (UNDP) 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 emphasized that education is a basic human right and is 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 and in moving forward with the 2030 Agenda.”
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, 4,124 applications were reviewed, 706 home visits conducted, and 504 students were invited to a leadership camp before the 265 scholarship recipients were selected.