JRF, UNESCO Sign Cooperation Agreement in Paris

April 04, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department—Paris) In her efforts to promote early childhood education and care, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah attended a signing ceremony between the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as well as a JRF fundraiser, in Paris.

JRF and UNESCO signed a memorandum of understanding to establish cooperation to advance early educational practices in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. As part of the agreement, the parties have committed to kick-start an initiative to identify projects in the area of child protection, to reinforce teacher training and school management, and enhance curricula in formal and non-formal education. JRF and UNESCO will also work together to raise awareness about Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy, child rights, and child safety.

In previous engagements, Queen Rania has said that "in Jordan, we have taken the education challenge to heart," and such partnerships help keep development on the cutting edge.

Queen Rania, who is Chairperson of JRF, has been active in expanding Early Childhood Development in Jordan, promoting access as well as gender parity in schools, and encouraging excellence in education.

Her Majesty also attended a JRF fundraising dinner, Tuesday. The funds from the event will go to JRF's Safe Schools Project, a national initiative that aims to turn schools into safer environments for learning and education.

JRF plans to promote a safe school environment through means such as raising awareness about abuse in schools; enhancing teachers', parents', and children's awareness about child rights, with a special focus on protection, self-expression and participation; and, develop school rules and policies that reflect those rights.

The project will also promote school-community partnerships, offer capacity building courses for teachers, counselors and administrators; and, encourage children's active learning and participation in school.

The foundation will design and implement the project in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other relevant stakeholders for public primary schools. The initiative will include the design and piloting of the project which will then be integrated in the ministry’s system and disseminated to schools across the country. A monitoring and evaluation system for the implementation and dissemination of the project will be in place to ensure the effectiveness of the program and to measure its impact.

Before attending the fundraiser, Her Majesty met with Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO. They discussed the history of cooperation between Jordan and UNESCO since Jordan joined in 1950.

UNESCO grants the highest priority to promoting education as a fundamental right, and to improving the quality of education. As part of its mission to promote sustainable social, economic and cultural programs to empower communities and individuals in Jordan, JRF seems to be a natural partner for UNESCO.