Founded in 1968, Concern Worldwide is an international, non-governmental humanitarian organization dedicated to reducing extreme poverty, with more than 3,200 workers in 25 of the world’s poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Concern Worldwide targets the root causes of extreme poverty through programs in health, education, livelihoods and microfinance, HIV and AIDS, and emergency response, directly reaching more than 8.5 million people in the last year.
For over 40 years, Concern has been working to improve access to quality primary education for children living in extreme poverty. Today, Concern has education programs in 13 countries, benefiting 420,000 people, including children, teachers, and family members. We work in partnership with Ministries of Education, to influence lasting change in the education system at national, district and school levels. Our education programs focus on three objectives:
1. Improving access to education: we emphasize reaching those who have been excluded from education opportunities, such as girls, children living in slums or isolated rural areas, orphans, working children, children belonging to minority groups, children affected Sand infected by HIV and AIDS, and children with disabilities.
2. Improving quality of education: We recognize that teachers are the most important resource for improving learning. Concern supports teacher training and in-classroom support to ensure that all children have the best opportunities for learning. We focus on early grade literacy and numeracy, providing course materials, books, writing materials and technical expertise to the Ministry of Education.
3. Facilitating child well-being and life skills: School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) has increasingly emerged as a barrier to education, so Concern has prioritized addressing this in all education programs. SRGBV prevention and response mechanisms are embedded in all program activities, such as introducing modules on child protection and gender-based violence into teacher training courses. Life skills, such as HIV and AIDS education, are prioritized for all children.
Concern also believes that eliminating poverty is the responsibility of all global citizens, and youth have a critical role to play in the fight against poverty. In 2001, Concern Worldwide U.S. launched Global Concerns Classroom (GCC), an innovative and multi-faceted global education program that seeks to raise awareness of international humanitarian issues in U.S. secondary schools. GCC provides free resources and services to empower students to explore, speak out, and take action regarding critical issues facing the world’s poorest people.
Picture Credit: Rose Kaydee, Grade 5, St. John River Elementary School and JHS, Liberia, Concern Worldwide, 2010