IsDB, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, & SPARK Strive to Improve Resilience for Refugees

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund are funding a two-year US$10 million initiative with SPARK, an international non-governmental organization, to support refugees and vulnerable communities in Jordan and Lebanon.

Employability and jobs are very important, but quality and decent jobs are scarce commodities. Lebanon and Jordan have the highest unemployment in the Middle East, with almost 30% and 23% respectively, according to the ILO. The fragility of the situation in these countries is making opportunities rare, with an increasing social tension that results in some instances of more conflict.

The IsDB, as an AAA rated multilateral development bank that works to promote social and economic development and the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund have developed a 2-year regional program with SPARK that aims to support the “Skills Training Education Program” (STEP) in Jordan and Lebanon.

The new program aims to skill up entrepreneurs, modernize existing curricula, connect participants to the labour market, create sustainable jobs and offer training and internship placements, among many others.

It’s expected that at the end of the project, many participants will have started their businesses, SMEs have scaled up and men and women are equipped with market-relevant technical skills through training.

Jordan faces enormous challenges, perhaps most significantly, the need to effectively help to contribute to the poverty reduction of refugees and vulnerable members of the host community.

Structural problems of the economy such as high inflation, energy and water resource security and management challenges, and high unemployment rates are worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simultaneously, Lebanon is dealing with some internal issues including a crashing economy (in 2020, the GDP growth rate was -25%), the impact of COVID-19 and the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.

There is an increasing acknowledgment within the international development sector of the need to engage youth to fully use their specialized skill sets. Offering scholarships or training is not enough anymore, rather there’s an increasing consensus that young men and women need tailored job opportunities and internships based on their field of studies and workshops taken.

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The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund Call for Proposals – 4th Round

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund invites proposals for programs that explore and identify new solutions to long-standing challenges in vulnerable and refugee youth education that can improve impact at scale.

The fund in its fourth round will priorities Upskilling Refugee Youth, Broadening Access to Secondary Education and Pathways to Scale for Arab refugee youth in Jordan, Lebanon and Arab youth from conflict affected countries residing in the UAE.

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SUBMISSION DEADLINE: July 1st, 2022, 11:59 pm EEST.

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Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund and UNICEF Jordan Host Virtual Field Trip to Education Camps in Jordan

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund and UNICEF Jordan today organized a live tour of the education camps in Jordan for selected guests and stakeholders at the DP World Pavilion, Al Forsan District, Expo2020 Dubai.

Titled ‘Live from The Field: Supporting the Vulnerable Youth in Jordan,’ the audience were taken on an immersive virtual experience, touring two Makani Centers located in Zaatari Syrian Refugee Camp and East Amman, allowing them to interact with resident children and youth, as well as center leads and coordinators.

Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar – CEO Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, Carla Haddad – Director of Private Fundraising & Partnerships Division, UNICEF, and Tanya Chapuisat – UNICEF Jordan Representative discussed the partnership impact between UNICEF Jordan and the Refugee Education Fund that makes remedial education, life skills, and child protection services accessible through the Makani Centres in refugee camps as well as host communities.

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund set up in 2018 supports high-impact education programs at the secondary, vocational, and tertiary levels of education for refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon. The grants provided by the fund will also support children of families who due to wars and disasters in their home countries, temporarily reside in the UAE but are unable to afford school fees. Since its establishment, the fund has helped over 47,000+ vulnerable youth, of which 50% of graduates are now employed.

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Respond, Restore, Restart Webinar Organized by UNICEF

May 19, 2020

UNICEF organized a webinar during Ramadan to discuss the role of Muslim philanthropy in the global response to COVID-19. The webinar highlighted the modalities of the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children. Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, the CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education was a key speaker, focusing on “Strategy and Partnerships Leverage Greater Impact”.  

To view the presentation, click here.

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Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund Participates in the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva

December 16 – 18, 2019

The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund attended the first Global Refugee Forum  held in UN Headquarters in Geneva in December 2019. The Fund was represented by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education CEO, Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar. The Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund was a co-sponsor for education. Dr. Ben Jaafar presented on a number of high level panels discussing financing education commitments in the global compact on refugees, high level dialogue on education, the power of technical and vocational education as well as the engagement of the private sector.  

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Launch of the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children, New York

September 26, 2019

H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair attends the launch of the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children established jointly by the Islamic Development Bank and UNICEF. H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair is the leading donor to the Fund through his commitment of 10M USD over a three-year period. His commitment supports refugee education programs in the Middle East and North Africa region.   

“The Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children is an important and much needed initiative in Islamic philanthropy and will have a meaningful impact for children and youth at the global level” Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair 

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Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund Announces Grant Recipients of Second Funding Round 

September 3, 2019  

H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair announces grant recipients of second funding round of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund during an event in Dubai on September 3rd 2019. Guests included all round II grantees, media and dignitaries from the UAE including the Emirates Red Crescent.  

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H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Visits Programs Supported by His Refugee Education Fund and Interacts With Students and Partners

December 5, 2018

His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, completed a field visit to the partners and beneficiaries of the first round of funding of the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund. Mr. Faisal Ahmad Al Malek Charge d’Affaires of the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Amman joined His Excellency throughout the field visit. The visit also included meeting with partners; as well as direct engagement with the students. The visit started at the UNICEF Makani Centre in Zaatari Camp where His Excellency spoke with students preparing for their high school exam as well as students who created social innovative projects that benefit their communities. This was followed by a visit to the Mrajeeb Al Fhood Camp that is managed by the Emirates Red Crescent, where His Excellency interacted with students who will receive scholarships for vocational certificates and diplomas from Luminus Technical University College. The field visit ended with a visit to the Luminus Technical University College Campus in Amman, where His Excellency toured the campus and had the opportunity to engage with the scholarship awarded students in their classrooms.  

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