DUBAI 12 April 2021: Dubai Holding, a diversified global holding company with a presence in over 13 countries, today announced its strategic partnership with the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP), the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. The year-long partnership is aimed at supporting child nutrition in countries across the region including Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
Under this strategic partnership, Dubai Holding will kick off the first joint campaign ‘A Meal for a Brighter Tomorrow’ this Ramadan up until Eid Al Adha, pledging to enable school meals to reach children in need. This campaign marks Dubai Holding’s first unified Ramadan campaign as a Group, encompassing all of its businesses, communities and destinations while mobilizing employees and the wider community to collectively achieve social impact at a large scale.
The campaign in partnership with UNWFP is featured on ShareTheMeal, an app by UNWFP which raises funds to feed those in need around the world. For this campaign, users can donate and share meals by tapping on the Dubai Holding home card in this smartphone app or on the website, providing vulnerable children with school meals.
Commenting on the strategic partnership, Amit Kaushal, Group CEO of Dubai Holding, said: “We are honored to join the United Nations World Food Program in its fight against hunger worldwide and contribute towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals “SDGs” for a better, more prosperous future for all. Dubai Holding operates For the Good of Tomorrow, and all our companies share the vision of unlocking opportunities to help people, businesses and communities thrive in Dubai and beyond. Recently, we have redoubled our focus on sustainability in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and through this partnership, we will be able to take our commitment to the next level.”
According to UNWFP, today about 73 million school children around the world go to school hungry. In the MENA region alone, millions of primary and secondary school aged children are out of school as a result of poverty and conflict-induced displacement. In this context, school meals provide a strategic, cost-effective and efficient way to bring children back to school and reduce school dropout.
“We welcome this partnership with Dubai Holding which comes at a time when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and their families are dire,” said Mageed Yahia, Director of UNWFP UAE Office and Representative to the GCC. “Providing school meals during this Holy month of Ramadan will help UNWFP make a difference in children’s lives as part of our continuous efforts to help communities reach food security and build resilience. We value our work with partners like Dubai Holding on initiatives that reflect the important role and powerful impact of private sector engagement in the region and beyond,” he added.
For many hungry children, a school meal may be their only nutritious meal during the day. For poor families, the value of a meal in school is equivalent to about 10 percent of a household’s monthly income. This is an economic burden that comes on top of potential earning and employment loss during this pandemic. Every year the UNWFP provides around 17.3 million nutritious meals and snacks to schoolchildren in around 60 countries. In the MENA region, UNWFP is supporting school meals activities in 10 countries, reaching around 4.5 million schoolchildren as direct beneficiaries, and many more indirectly through the support provided to families.
Dubai Holding’s efforts will support UNWFP scale up and improve its school feeding program to help build a world with zero hunger. This partnership marks an important milestone in Dubai Holding’s ongoing sustainability commitment, which includes a diverse range of corporate and community initiatives; and reinforces its position as a socially responsible business and a driver of socioeconomic development.
Commenting on the broader social impact of school feeding, Kaushal said: “There is a growing global consensus that school feeding programs generate a lasting impact that can shape the future of a nation. Aside from enhancing people’s health, we believe this initiative is a major investment in human capital, which is key to economic development and social progress. Children in schools today will be adults in 2030 – and we have a window of opportunity to help them fulfill their full potential. We are proud to be investing in the next generation, and in our common future, through Dubai Holding’s Ramadan campaign, our first in a series of planned initiatives with UNWFP, empowering people to provide a school meal with just a few dirhams, at the click of a button.”
The Dubai Holding entities supporting the campaign include Dubai Holding’s business communities such as Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City; Dubai Holding residential leasing communities including but not limited to Shorooq, Ghoroob, Remraam, Layan, Dubai Wharf; Dubai Holding’s retail destinations including Bluewaters, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, JBR, Bay Avenue, Al Khawaneej Walk, Al Seef; Dubai Holding’s retail destinations operated and managed by Merex Investment such as City Walk, La Mer, The Beach; Dubai Holding’s hospitality offering including Jumeirah Group; Dubai Holding’s entertainment portfolio including Global Village, ARN, The Green Planet, Roxy Cinemas; Dubai Holding’s real estate entities including Meraas and Dubai Properties as well as grocery retailer Urban Food’s Géant.
To donate to UNWFP and Dubai Holding’s joint Ramadan campaign, download the UNWFP’s ShareTheMeal app or visit https://sharethemeal.org/donate?campaign=dubaiholding1.
The app allows users to see where their meals will go and keep track of the total contributions towards the goal of ensuring that every child has regular and equal access to health and nutrition to stay and succeed in school.