UNICEF and Dubai Cares announce partnership through Generation Unlimited to scale Digital Connectivity

18 December 2020
the amazing girls robotic team and witnessed at first hand the dedication, commitment and entrepreneurship of the ‘rising generation’ in Afghanistan, amidst insurmountable odds.
UNICEF/UNI309823// Frank Dejongh

Dubai Cares, the UAE-based global philanthropic organization, and UNICEF announced today a global partnership, through UNICEF's flagship global youth initiative Generation Unlimited, to accelerate efforts to provide access to digital connectivity for every young person.

The announcement was made during RewirEdX, a global virtual conference on education, organized on 15 and 16 December 2020 and co-hosted by Dubai Cares and Expo 2020 Dubai, in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC). The conference featured Ministers of Education, high profile speakers and panelists from U.N agencies, international NGOs, academia, as well as representatives from the public and private sector from around the world, who discussed challenges and opportunities in global education.

Under this partnership, Dubai Cares will be supporting Giga, an initiative launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to connect every school in the world to the internet. Empowering local entrepreneurs and leveraging the resources from the private and public sectors in new ways is essential to closing the digital divide.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet. This results in exclusion, fewer resources to learn, and limited opportunities for the most vulnerable children and youth to fulfill their potential. Improved connectivity will increase access to information, opportunity, and choice, enabling generations of school children to take part in shaping their own futures.

Dubai Cares’ USD 2.5 million commitment to Giga complements the UAE-based global philanthropic organization’s efforts in driving forward the Global Declaration on Connectivity that will be launched during Expo 2020 Dubai to promote access to connectivity for learning and livelihoods as a right of every young person around the world.

Recognizing the importance of increasing universal digital connectivity to accelerate the provision of online access to learning, Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares and Member of its Board of Directors said: “Universal access to the Internet is a paramount goal that all countries share. Without connectivity, billions of people will be denied access to the 21st century’s essential tools for communication, information, innovation and entrepreneurship. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that digital connectivity is critical to societal resilience and business continuity in times of crisis. Going online can offer children and youth access to boundless beneficial information, facilitate new ways of interactive learning, enrich life experiences and foster meaningful cultural exchanges.”

“Through our commitment to Giga, we aim to bring the power of meaningful connectivity to fast-track children and young people's access to educational resources and opportunities so they are equipped with the digital resources they need, and are empowered to take control of their own lives. Dubai Cares has been a committed partner supporting Generation Unlimited through its Leadership Council since its inception in 2018. We share a strong commitment with UNICEF and the world to closing the digital divide and to making the vision outlined in the Declaration on digital connectivity a reality,” added Dr. Al Gurg, on the sidelines of the RewirEdX virtual conference.

Dubai Cares’ partnership with Generation Unlimited will accelerate the implementation of Giga in 6 countries – Rwanda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kygyrzstan - and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. The partnership will empower entrepreneurs to develop and scale new connectivity solutions and to produce open source digital public goods that provide essential services, skills and information to young people. In addition to funding, Dubai Cares will assist with the development of business cases for connectivity, leveraging its expertise and network of partners. Giga and Dubai Cares will work together to attract additional financing and build new partnerships to increase resources for connectivity.

“COVID-19 has underscored the deepening digital divide and the inequalities it creates,” said Roberto Benes, Director of Generation Unlimited. “We need to leverage private and public partners in new, innovative ways to finance and scale connectivity to bring youth and their communities online. This partnership with Dubai Cares through Giga, will build local ecosystems and convene leaders to accelerate financial commitments for connectivity, bringing us closer to bridging the digital divide.”

About Dubai Cares

Since its inception in 2007, Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has been working towards providing children and youth in developing countries with access to quality education through the design and funding of programs that aim to be impactful, sustainable and scalable. To date, the UAE-based global philanthropic organization has successfully launched education programs reaching over 20 million beneficiaries in 60 developing countries.

Dubai Cares plays a key role in helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all, and promote lifelong learning by 2030, by supporting programs in early childhood development, access to quality primary and secondary education, technical and vocational education and training for youth as well as a particular focus on education in emergencies and protracted crises. Moreover, Dubai Cares adopts a strategic approach to improve student enrollment and learning outcomes through an integrated school health and nutrition model that is made up of school-based deworming activities, school feeding, and WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) in schools.

Dubai Cares is a member of the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC), as well as a registered non-government organization under IACAD, the charitable activities regulator in Dubai. The UAE-based global philanthropic organization is authorized to raise funds through direct donations and fundraising campaigns, as well as process all permit approvals with IACAD.

Volunteerism is a powerful tool to Dubai Cares in order to engage people in tackling development challenges. Dubai Cares rallies the UAE wider community through a large spectrum of volunteering and awareness initiatives that are linked to its global mandate.

To learn more, please visit www.dubaicares.ae

About Generation Unlimited

Generation Unlimited is a global partnership working to prepare young people to become productive and engaged citizens. It connects secondary-age education and training to employment and entrepreneurship, empowering every young person to thrive in the world of work.

About Giga

Launched by ITU and UNICEF in 2019, Giga is a global initiative to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice. It aims to ensure that every child is equipped with the digital public goods they need, and empowered to shape the future they want. For more information, visit www.gigaconnect.org.

Media contacts

Rafik ElOuerchefani
Communications Manager
UNICEF Gulf Area Office
Tel: +971 4 368 0705


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook