Today, being a leader in the global market means setting an example in all the areas that are crucial for the development of society. Enel has therefore committed to contributing directly to the achievement of four of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals – namely, carbon neutrality, access to electricity, employment and economic growth, and education.
In the latter field, we have responded to a call made by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, asking Global Compact companies to support the humanitarian commitment of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Syria. We are thus supporting Educate a Child, a project launched by our non-profit organisation Enel Cuore aiming to ensure access to primary school education for refugees and displaced children, between 2015 and 2018.
Before the conflict broke out, 97% of Syrian children attended primary school (the highest youth literacy rate in the region). Today, the situation is reversed: between 2011 and 2014, the country’s schools have undergone a 38% decline in enrollment. Hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed, or used as shelters for displaced Syrians. Guaranteeing education rights means ensuring a future to Syrian children, by restoring school buildings and providing direct economic support to families, courses for children who have lost school years and training for teachers.
“Educate a child” focusses on five areas of action: Direct economic support for the neediest families to cover their children’s annual school expenses, counselling and educational guidance services, courses to recover lost school years, teacher training, restoration of school buildings.
So far the programme has provided access to education to 9,164 children and will involve an additional 200,000 displaced children in Syria by 2018. ‘Enel believes in the value of schools, education, the need to heavily invest in children and young people, who represent the future of every country,’ stated Enel Chairman, Patrizia Grieco. ‘That's why we have supported yet another project to help children who are, in this case, experiencing critical living conditions, by trying to give them that sense of “normality” that schools can give.’
“Educate a Child” was recently published on the UN-Business Action Hub homepage, a platform launched by the UN to encourage and support partnerships between the private sector and the United Nations, aiming towards the development of shared solutions for major challenges and humanitarian crises around the world.
The visibility given to this project and to the partnership between UNHCR and Enel is an important recognition of our Group’s commitment to addressing the global challenges set by the United Nations, a commitment that has allowed us to become part of the UN Global Compact Board. This body coordinates the Private Sector Forum, a platform that enables companies and investors to communicate their business strategies and sign partnerships that are in line with the United Nations Development Agenda.