International Education Funders Group Members Visit UNRWA Nuzha Girls Schools in Amman

20 April 2017
© 2017 UNRWA Photo by Shafiq Fahd

The International Education Funders Group (IEFG), “an affinity network of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting basic education in the Global South”, held their biannual meeting in Amman between 10 and 12 April 2017. The meeting, hosted by the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, was held under the theme ‘Education in an Uncertain World: Response, Resilience and Development’.

UNRWA actively engaged in this event by organizing an optional visit for IEFG members to the Nuzha Girls School and presenting the Agency’s Education in Emergencies (EiE) work at the two-day meeting.

Both the UNRWA Director of Operations in Jordan, Roger Davies, and the UNRWA Director of Education, Dr. Caroline Pontefract, participated in the school visit. Mr. Davies set the scene by explaining the UNRWA mandate, discussing the scale of the Agency’s operations in Jordan, and illustrating the innovative work going on in Jordan with the Agency’s emphasis on the Human Rights Programme and on further strengthening the school parliaments.

Dr. Pontefract then gave an overview of the Agency’s education work and its achievements, particularly the work of UNRWA in Jordan in the implementation of the Education Reform and the EiE approach. The IEFG members then visited classrooms to see science and English lessons and engaged with School Parliament members, who talked about their plans, the challenges they face, and the initiatives and awareness campaigns they were promoting, including ‘Safe and Violence-Free Schools’, ‘No to Drugs’ and ‘Big Sister’. There was also a demonstration of some of the students’ activities related to the UNRWA Human Rights Programme. The IEFG members were very appreciative of the visit and described how they had been very impressed by what they had seen and heard and shared their positive impressions with other IEFG members.

Dr. Pontefract and the Senior Education Programme Specialist, Carolina Lamarre, also presented on the Agency’s work in EiE and its monitoring and evaluation tools in a session at the IEFG meeting, titled ‘How can we best support teachers to build resilience in unstable contexts?’ The session allowed participants to reflect on their experiences in the field and to share their own experiences with EiE delivery.

The engagement with the IEFG meeting provided UNRWA with a good opportunity for its education programme to highlight its important and significant role in providing Palestine refugees with quality education and building a system that is resilient to conflict and helps to strengthen the resilience of its students.  

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.