Gaza Strip, 18 December 2019 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PAPP) and Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, through its programme Al Fakhoora, marked its tenth-year anniversary with the graduation of its sixth batch of 82 undergraduate students, in partnership with Save Youth Future Society Organization.
“We at Al Fakhoora, Education Above All are so proud that these students, who we specifically “selected for success,” have realized the potential we saw in them. Their passion for learning, commitment to civic engagement, and drive to positively contribute to their families, society and workplace is exemplary. These graduates embody the spirit of Al Fakhoora, and we would like to congratulate them for their commitment and perseverance in completing their studies,” said Farooq Burney, Executive Director of Al Fakhoora Programme, Education Above All.
The graduating students, including the first dentistry batch, academically accomplished their Al Fakhoora scholarship; a flagship programme designed to offer talented young students in Gaza with learning opportunities that meet today’s global market challenges with quality and innovative education, and inspire a new generation of young people who are civic- minded, intellectually able, and professional to become community, business, and leaders of the future.
Mohammed Zorob, an outstanding physics graduate and an actively engaged member of community initiatives spoke on behalf of his fellow graduates. “Al Fakhoora provided us with an opportunity and time to learn and grow – it was our ticket to a bright future, and now it is time for us to give back to our community. For us, the graduation is only the beginning. We would like to express our immense gratitude for Qatar’s Education Above All Foundation and UNDP for their generous support, and for all the teams of Save Youth Future Society, Al Nayzak, Maan and Youth Vision, for their appreciated efforts that made Al Fakhoora an unforgettable journey.”
Pharmacy, dentistry, engineering, management, law, social sciences and media, are among the diverse specialities acquired by the 82 graduating students (44 women and 38 men) coming from the different Gaza governorates. Over 20% of these students were immediately offered jobs in the local market either as lecturers, being top students in their faculties, or in international organizations as best students.
UNDP’s Deputy Special Representative, Geoffrey Prewitt, congratulated the Government of Qatar on their national day and for partnering with UNDP to ensure that marginalized youth are provided with opportunities for scholarships, leadership, and economic empowerment to fulfil their potential, rebuild their communities and become future leaders.
More than 500 people, including students along with their families, education policy makers, and representatives of international and local organizations, private sector, academics and community figures, as well as several media outlets attended the graduation ceremony held at Al Mashtal Hall in Gaza city on 18 December 2019.
Mr Emad Darwish, Chairman of Save Youth Futures Society, reiterated his vision of a future, with youth mobilizing their communities towards peace and prosperity. “The accumulative investment of human and social capital that Al Fakhoora has been leading over the last 10 years is impacting our work today. We see promising young people, smart, inspired and empowered to pursue their dreams in a more sustainably developed world,” he added.
Following the graduation, Al Fakhoora Programme and UNDP, in partnership with GGateway for Outsourcing Information Technology, launched “Apex”; an innovative e-work project that targets Al Fakhoora Dynamic Futures Alumni in the Gaza Strip and enables them to overcome local market challenges as well as an ever competitive global market.
“Apex” builds on UNDP’s accumulative experience in e-work and youth economic development. Starting December 2019, potential freelancing tracks for Al Fakhoora Alumni will be identified. The project will start with an initial cohort of 80 Alumni who will receive technical training, then 34 of them will receive freelancing and business skills training, utilization of freelancing Platforms as well as the provision of hosting spaces, along with mentoring and coaching.
Following the signing ceremony, Ms Basma Ali, Co-founder and Business Director of GGateway pointed out that they are honoured to partner with UNDP in the implementation of the e-work component under Al Fakhoora Dynamic Futures Programme. “GGateway has high hopes that this project will provide Al Fakhoora graduates with the technical and business skills needed to embark on their online employment journey through the different freelancing platforms,” she added.
It is worth noting that the project will serve as the final stage between Al Fakhoora programme graduates and the labour market, following several capacity development interventions they went through with different implementing partners. The importance of the project stems from the fact that it will provide clear evidence that the virtual economy plays a significant role in income generation, and provides an opportunity to overcome lack of employment opportunities locally.
Since it was founded in 2009, Al Fakhoora Dynamic Futures programme, with the support of its stakeholders, has awarded over 999 undergraduate and international masters’ degrees for Gaza’s youth. This strategic programme has enhanced the quality of education, provided student services, leadership development and economic empowerment for Palestinian youth, enabling and inspiring them to become a generation of change-makers ready to invest in a more promising future.
Notes to Editors:
About Education Above All (EAA) Foundation
The Education Above All (EAA) Foundation is a global education foundation established in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The Foundation envisions bringing hope and real opportunity to the lives of impoverished and marginalized children, youth and women, especially in the developing world and in difficult circumstances such as conflict situations and natural disasters. It believes that education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty, generating economic growth and creating peaceful and just societies, as well as a fundamental right for all children and an essential condition to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For more information, visit educationaboveall.org.
About Al Fakhoora
Al Fakhoora, a programme of Education Above All Foundation, works to promote the right to education in conflict and post-conflict states, by unlocking a new generation of marginalised youth to become educated, professionally skilled and inspirational leaders of the future, who are able to guide their families and communities towards cohesion and prosperity. Working originally in Gaza, Al Fakhoora has now expanded its programmes across the region, into the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, as well as locally in Qatar.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. For more information on UNDP’s work in the West bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, visit www.ps.undp.org.
About Save Youth Future Society
Save Youth Future Society, founded in 2001, to develop the potential of young people and to strengthen Palestinian communities through quality youth services to inspire a generation of change-makers ready to invest in a more promising future. SYFS strives to create a space that fosters human beauty and strength where every young person is cared for, as well as challenged to achieve their full potential.
GGateway started as “The Gaza Gateway”, the first ICT social enterprise project. It provides solutions for the ICT local private sector needs, such as employability and workload. GGateway contributes to Gaza IT growth by expanding business opportunities and professional capacity. Its business and social objectives are two halves of a single solution through bridging the gap between local ICT workforce and employer requirements to deliver unique ICT outsourcing services to local market and to international clients.