Private sector honored for their contribution to girls’ education in Yemen [Archives:2008/1161/Business & Economy]

May 5 2008

The summer campaign for “Let me Learn” initiative spearheaded by Business Partnership for Girls' Education (BPGE) was launched last Monday 26th of May. The Business Partnership for Girls' Education was formed in 2006. It was initiated by the UNICEF in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and three leading business houses, including Arwa Minieral Water Company, MTN Yemen, and Universal Group. Later in 2007, Fast Print another leading printing and designing company joined.

Dr. Abdulsalam Al-Joufi Minister of Education, acknowledge the private sector's important role for accelerating girls' education. He described the let me learn campaign as a positive step in the mobilization of efforts of the different sectors and local communities to address one of the major challenges facing Yemen.

Dr. Kamel Ben Abdallah, UNICEF Acting Deputy Representative, stated “This Summer Campaign of the Business Partnership for Girls' Education will add vigor and energy and bring dividends for enrollment and retention of girls in schools.”

The summer campaign aims at raising awareness on the importance of Girls' Education to increase girls' enrollment and maintain their retention at the coming academic year. The campaign voice out “Dear Mothers and Fathers: the School is waiting for your daughters” along with the general theme “Let Me Learn” serve as a reminder for parents to enroll and retain their daughters in schools. The campaign will include advocating for the issue through targeted distribution of advocacy messages through different means including posters, flyers, and mobiz in the governorates of Al-Dale'e, Lahj, Taiz, Ibb, Hodiada, Sana'a, Aden, Mareb, Shabwa, Hadramout, Amran, Dhamar, and Hajjah. Additionally, the campaign will extend to the beginning of the academic year emphasizing the message of the Let Me Learn Campaign by sending 1.5 million text messages (sms) to the MTN subscribers especially in rural areas. The campaign will also include the distribution of more than 10 million Shamlan mineral water bottles that contains the Let me Learn Message on their label and which is expected to widely reach everywhere in Yemen. More importantly the BPGE have up to now secured 50,000 notebooks to be given to the children at the beginning of the academic year.

In recognition of the business partners major leadership role in accelerating girls education, the Business Partners were honored by the UNICEF. Certificates of acknowledgment were handed by the Ministry of education Dr. Al-Joufi to Mr. Alwan Al-Shaibani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Universal Group, Mr. Malek El-Koussa – Communication and Public Relations Senior Officer of MTN Yemen, Mr. Jameel Murshid – General Manager of Arwa Mineral Water Company (Shamlan), and Mr. Sanad Huraibi – General Manager of Fast Print.

Mr Mazen Al-Shaibani, Marketing Manager of Universal Group commented “Our group of companies constantly supports activities that will take Yemen a step further to achieve the millennium development goals.” He added “our partnership with the private sector is a way to work hand in hand with any organization to bear the burdens for our precious country in facing any challenges.”

Mr Malek El-Koussa, illustrated that MTN's Yemen Strategy is based on creating genuine partnership within the private sector, governmental and non-governmental organizations, that aim at developing the community. He added “MTN International announced MTN Charity to specialize in undertaking developmental projects to serve local communities.” He further explained that the Let me Learn Campaign also coincide with the annual MTN's 21 Campaign that involves all MTN employees in community services to the local communities and more particularly to the poor.

Mr Walid Al-Maqtari, Media Officer in Fast Print stated “Girls' Education is one of the major priorities in Yemen. We are happy to be part of this partnership. We hope to make it sustainable and we invite our fellow business men and women to take leadership and get involved in this partnership.”