Future Investment

 

Future Investment 

AGFUND believes that the widespread unemployment among Arab youth is a symptom and an indication of a bigger disorder in the Arab structure that requires an entire vigilant solution. Based on this understanding, AGFUND pursues on these foundations and attempts to treat the roots and origins of troubles that most developing countries face.  In general, these are mainly problems related to, childhood, education, health, and eradication of poverty.

The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), headed by His Royal Highness Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, was established through the support of all leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This program dedicates most of its concern to promote investment in youth generations because it believes that they are the future where real investment should focus on. Accordingly, this year AGFUND is devoting its International Prize for Pioneering Human Development Projects (2011), for “empowering youth through initiatives to help creating more job opportunities.”

The latest surveys completed on population statistics in Arab countries show that Arab societies in general consist of youth populations, and that 70% of these populations have an average age rate inferior to 30 years old.  This means that those societies have a broad youth base as compared to the majority of European countries, where population rates represent an older age average rate. This structure may give the opportunity to contribute in a constructive transformation of the Arab world, only if future investment in youth was effectively calculated.

Youth Empowerment

AGFUND believes that future development of nations could be achieved by applying suitable social and economic policies that encourage the investment and the involvement of Arab youth in all aspects of life.  AGFUND’s mission in identifying priorities and adopting new thoughts of community development, makes it a pioneer in anticipating and foreseeing social troubles and trying to find solutions to them before their accumulation and complication.

This is arranged by applying the vision of HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz who points out his thoughts:

“If we do not find suitable solutions to such problems of Arab childhood and youth, our aspirations for a promising future will be deficient and incomplete. Our plans will as well be inadequate, because we will always be surprised by the existence of citizens that were never valued or esteemed, but who grew up rapidly to become essential and vital to our community. These citizens will have to be included and assimilated in our academic institutions and health institutions, or any other institution. Therefore, any development plan that does not offer sufficient concern to childhood and youth, will never ever succeed." 

Youth Development Plans

AGFUND dedicated in its strategy, an important space for the development of childhood, a plan that has the intention of building and preparing a generation of qualified children able to contribute to and help in future development and growth of their societies.  The childhood project aims at creating in each country through a national strategy that ought to be adopted by Arab nations, of a project realized to develop childhood in its early stage, to approve of an advanced approach for the kindergarten phase, to instruct and educate teachers and to create, organize and arrange training centers for them. This project has already succeeded and was implemented in 11 Arab countries.

Moreover on childhood development HRH, the President AGFUND says: "The habits and conduct of the Arab child should not be formulated away from his environment and his civilization. His standard of living has to be deep-rooted in his religion and his Arab heritage." Such philosophy rotates around the close relationship between the possibility of realizing human development and the awareness and care that should be provided by the society to mothers and children.

AGFUND's strategy – since its launch in 1980 – has centered on these two closely related aspects. Children and women, are the two main essential targets that should be focused on for plans and initiatives funded by projects of human development in developing societies. In the Arab world, these two sectors represent about 70% of the population.

This is what prompted AGFUND to establish two particular bodies specialized in child and woman development, namely:

-      The Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD)

-      The Center for Arab Women Training and Research (CAWTAR).

The Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD) represents Arab societies' response to AGFUND initiatives and developmental projects. The Arab countries have agreed that the Council will be the authority in issues of the Arab child.

 Arab Council for Childhood Development

The Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD) is an Arab non-governmental organization with a legal character, based in Cairo. It was established upon the initiative of Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz (Chairman of the Board of Trustees) in 1987.

ACCD works to support and coordinate governmental and non-governmental efforts and adopt ideas for the protection and development of Arab children and to ensure their rights, according to the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights.

The ACCD makes coordination and cooperation with the Arab League (AL) on all its plans. It is a permanent member in the AL Childhood Committee, a member of the UN Economic and Social Council, and representative of the Middle East and North Africa, a member in the Advisory Board of the non-governmental organizations, is charged with the follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Secretary General study on violence against children.

The ACCD carried out a number of projects to promote civil society and activate Arab and international strategies and conventions on children. Among the most prominent initiatives and projects were:

-      the Arab Project for street children, combating violence against children,

-      the call for establishing supreme councils for Children's

-      supporting the childhood civil society,

-      developing children's rights,

-      child labor,

-      early childhood development,

-      children's culture development,

-      building the capacity of civil society,

-      the Arab strategy for the development of the language of the child.

The ACCD issues a periodical entitled "Khotwa" (a step), which deals with children's concerns, and a  magazine entitled "Al Tofola wal Tanmeya" (Childhood and Development), as well as the Annual Statistical Report. The ACCD also issued reference reports on a number of Arab children's problems.

Projects*

Events

Publications

Studies, researches and consultations

Partners

53

24 studies and researches, 8 consultations

105

511

105 national, regional and international partners

 Since 1988 several actions were conducted:

  • 62 reports and books, 200 periodicals - information materials - annual reports - Press releases.
  • 111 workshops, meetings and conferences and symposia organized by the ACCD, including 4 workshops on children. 41 Arab and international symposia in which it participated.
  • Relevant Ministries in the Arab world, academia, supreme councils and national committees for childhood, and international organizations, public figures, civil society organizations working in the field of childhood, and partners whom the ACCD communicate.

www.Arabcc.org  

Identification and Monitoring of Childhood needs

By dealing closely with Arab child issues, and contributing in the implementation of projects that focus on an target childhood, the Arab Gulf Program (AGFUND) has experienced a rich understanding and awareness of youth problems in Arab countries. This has enabled it to identify and monitor the important aspects of a child's existence and to determine the weaknesses and inadequacies  that developing societies lack in meeting a child's needs, especially in early stages of a child development.

Throughout such experiences, it was found out that early childhood services are accessible to only a small percentage of children in the Arab world, and that the supporting projects that target children at their sensitive early stage need to be more profoundly treated,  both in their conception and in their application. There is also a dire need to benefit from international experience in order to provide those involved in the preschool preparation stage, with practical experience and educational support such as professional training.

Based on such important facts that urge for radical solutions emerging from the Arab nations' environment, AGFUND promoted in this particular field, its initiative on early childhood development to treat a problem considered to be the basis of future investment.

The Initiative of Early Childhood Development  

Stemming from its firm belief in the famous maxim, "A great nation hinges on great education", AGFUND embarked on developing early childhood projects as being the best educational tool to prepare a generation of children ready to join school and contribute to the advancement of their society. The plan assumes supporting and financing kindergarten projects by guaranteeing that these  projects are up to date, responsive and providing functional needs.

AGFUND is implementing these projects in collaboration with Ministries of Education and the UNESCO in 11 different Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia (which launched the project in 1409 AH) *, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt **, Sudan, Yemen, Syria.

The overall requirements for the implementation of any project are specified by AGFUND and its vision related to specific issues of early childhood development, namely:

  • laying down nation-specific strategies for the development of early childhood;
  • adopting a modern approach to kindergarten;
  • training female teachers (instructors); and
  • equipping and upgrading training centers.

Convinced that all developing societies share and experience the same developmental problems and challenges, AGFUND realized the necessity to replicate ane apply its projects on a global level. Because of its beliefs in the similarity of problems and conditions that characterize developing societies, AGFUND anticipated the possibility of enlarging the scope of its project on a wider international scale.

To promote its perception and insight, AGFUND took the initiative to attend ministerial meetings and seminars on the most-populated countries in the world. The first tangible steps were observed when AGFUND participated in the Ministerial Meeting of the Most Densely Populated Countries in the World (Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Mexico, and Egypt), which was held in Cairo in December 2003. Following this conference as a result, several countries among those participation nations were impressed by AGFUND's views and expressed their willingness and motivation to implement and replicate similar projects in their respective countries.

Below are the training centers in KSA as an example of the output of the project **

Centers

Employees

Classes

Trainees

Courses

Riyadh

27

3

713

32

Jeddah

19

3

727

33

Dammam

18

3

386

19

Unaizah

16

3

180

11

Bridah

14

3

183

9

Total

94

15

2189

104

  • The sixth center in Ha'il is under construction.
  • The Early Childhood Development Center has become a regional center that contributes in training trainers from other countries.
  • Trainees from other places 33.