Tour of the Middle East- Part 2: Bahrain and the UAE
– This series of posts will take you on a country by country tour of the Middle East, showing how economic and social development occurs in one of the most unstable regions in the world.
Google ‘Injaz’ and one might become confused. Some search results will show how Injaz refers to an elite, cloned racing camel that helps to fuel a lucrative camel racing business. Other results will bring you to Injaz al-Arab, an organization that works among 12 Middle East & North Africa (MENA) countries to encourage and educate the Arab youth to become successful in the fields of business and entrepreneurship. For this blog’s purpose, we will focus on the latter of these two quite opposing Google search results.
Injaz al-Arab was initiated in 2004, five years after the success of Injaz in Jordan was established. Corporate sponsors including ExxonMobil, Intel, and GE are partnering with Injaz al-Arab in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to bring quality education to areas of society in both countries that need it the most. The main form of help being offered is volunteering, with over 10,000 corporate volunteers participating across the MENA Injaz coalition. Through training, mentoring, and guidance, teachers are being taught the skills by these volunteers to better the education of their students.
Since opening up its network to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, embattled public schools have been overhauled by the Injaz al-Arab’s network of professional volunteers. With only 18,000+ Bahraini students being reached however, Injaz al-Arab has much room for growth. Even with the UAE and Bahrain being two of the most developed Middle East countries, the Ministry of Education of each nation is still looking to bring changes to an education system that is not up to date with a tech-heavy 21st Century.
“This is a prime example of the potential of public-private partnerships in changing the lives of people, particularly through the adoption of technology.”
– Craig Barrett, INTEL Corporate Chairman
Not to be overlooked are the contributions being made by companies local to the Middle East. Batelco, the leading telecommunications company in Bahrain, is adding to the cause by offering further opportunities to students, in addition to the financial and volunteering support they already provide. By giving students the chance to spend time in the work place through shadowing programs like the ones offered at Batelco, the Bahraini youth are getting invaluable experience that can be used to spur interest in the business sector.
With 70% of the MENA’s population being under 25 years old, educating the youth is going to be critical to the overall success of the region. By developing business leadership programs that instill a “you can do it” mentality and backing it up with tools to help students succeed, Injaz al-Arab is supporting the future of the MENA region in a positive way. With help from the private sector, which is essential to the success of the initiative, Injaz al-Arab will hopefully grow and reach students in all corners of the 19 Middle East and North African nations.