As part of Petrofac’s international CSR programme it announces the launch of a pilot education initiative in Southern Sudan. Petrofac will fund the programme through the provision of a US$400,000 grant to BRAC UK, a member of BRAC International.
BRAC is one of the world’s largest NGOs employing more than 100,000 people and is dedicated to the alleviation of poverty and empowerment of the poor in the UK, Africa and Asia. Established in the 1970s BRAC has successfully deployed a sustainable economic development model based on micro-finance unions first in Bangladesh, followed by Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania and most recently in Southern Sudan. This is achieved through the establishment of a local, village-based infrastructure, providing and administering micro finance loans primarily to women, which is then followed with health and primary school education programmes.
Petrofac’s grant will enable BRAC to fund the building of 60 schools in a number of districts in Southern Sudan and finance their operation for two years. Under the scheme, 1,800 school places will be provided for children aged between six and 11 years and it is expected that at least 70% of the students will be girls, who are particularly disadvantaged. In addition to providing a basic primary level education to an extremely disadvantaged group, the pilot will also bring employment to women within the local communities who are expected to account for 70% of the teachers required.
Petrofac’s chief financial officer, Keith Roberts who has recently visited BRAC’s operations in Bangladesh, said: "I have been enormously impressed with the work that BRAC undertakes and with its innovative approach to creating sustainable networks that bring employment, health and education to deprived communities.
"We have been looking to develop our support activities for education and training initiatives in the communities in which we operate for some time. Having undertaken business in Sudan for several years the opportunity to contribute to the basic education of some of the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged children, whilst increasing training and employment opportunities for women, is very exciting. We look forward to working with BRAC on this pilot and to seeing the first schools open later this year."
Dr Imran Matin of BRAC said: "We have been operating in Sudan since 2002 and have already established our micro-finance programmes there. The support that Petrofac has announced today will enable us to launch a primary education pilot targeted at areas where education services are, at best, weak and in many cases completely non-existent. With this support we are confident we can help make a real difference to the reconstruction efforts in Southern Sudan."