Schools for Africa partners sign new agreement for better education

from UN Children's Fund
Published on 15 Sep 2009 View Original
NEW YORK, USA, 15 September 2009 - The highly successful Schools for Africa partnership entered its second phase today with a memorandum of understanding signed by its three main partners - UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society for the Promotion of Democracy and International Law.

Founded in 2004 by German shipping magnate and Hamburg Society founder Peter Krämer, Schools for Africa has reached its target of raising $50 million for education in six African nations - and has done so a year ahead of schedule.

"I'm amazed that we have 26 countries fundraising and today we could sign phase two, to incorporate five further countries into Schools for Africa, and that close to a million pupils can now go to school," Hamburg Society founder Peter Krämer said at the signing ceremony.

'A critical sense of urgency'

"I am personally delighted at how much progress has been achieved," added UNICEF Director of Programmes Dr. Nick Alipui. "But the message must also contain a critical sense of urgency. Millions of children cannot wait any longer."

Schools for Africa promotes UNICEF's holistic, child-friendly schools programme. Under the new agreement, the initiative will be extended from 6 to 11 countries in eastern, southern, western and central Africa. Nobel Prize winner and former South African President Nelson Mandela launched Schools for Africa in Cape Town in 2004, and he continues to offer his support.

"Mr. Mandela extended his personal endorsement to the Schools for Africa campaign in 2004," said Resource Development Manager Ruth Rensburg of the Mandela Foundation. "And as much as we acknowledge the contribution that Mr. Mandela has made, the point is that he is now 91 and he has asked us to find new lands [in which] to lift the burden."

The new memorandum of agreement pledges to consolidate the successes of the first stage of the initiative with a special emphasis on educating girls, orphans and other marginalized children.

Universal access to education

Achieving universal primary education has proven difficult in Africa. In 2006, almost half of the estimated 75 million children not in school worldwide were in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009.

The Schools for Africa partnership, which is backed by 26 UNICEF national committees, along with major corporate donors such as Gucci, hopes to markedly alter that trend.

"The future of Africa looks bright because of this initiative," said UNICEF's Global Chief of Education, Dr. Cream Wright.