DUBAI, UAE, December 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Special focus on women, youth, displaced children, and out-of-school refugees
The Western Union Company and the Western Union Foundation renewed their commitment to global education in September, and the company says the next phase of their world-wide programme will place a spotlight on the education sector in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and around the world.
The Western Union Company and the Western Union Foundation help create economic opportunity and financial inclusion through their 'Education for Better' initiative - a combination of services, campaigns, cause marketing, employee engagement and philanthropic investments. The initiative advocates that education can reduce poverty - which in turn can lead to more stable, prosperous communities and a stronger business climate - and help build a future workforce.
Jean Claude Farah, Executive Vice President, and President of the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and CIS, says that the Western Union community's efforts in the region stem from recent and prevailing conditions. "The combination of neglect, conflict, poverty, hostility, discrimination and mass migration is seeing alarming drops in the provision, quality and regularity of education. As a result, one in every four children and adolescents in the MENA region is either out of school, or at risk of dropping out. Other children face multiple traumas of losing their homes and loved ones, or becoming refugees in their formative years. Consequently, the future of millions of young children is being compromised, and this will result in immeasurable harm to their societies," said Farah, citing a recent UNESCO report on education in the region.
"After a successful three-year run of the initiative, the recently renewed global goals for 'Education for Better' encompass various activities, to be achieved over the next five years. The next phase of this initiative will aim to provide education and job skills training that foster economic opportunities for women and youth, and strengthen families and communities," he said.
"At Western Union we know that education is the surest path to a better future, and it is our cause of choice, in giving back to the communities we serve. In this region, at this moment, the importance of education cannot be emphasised enough," Farah stated. He added that the company's role in the cause will involve several initiatives including sponsorships, partnerships, donations, advocacy, and co-participation with Western Union consumers, employees and agents around the world.
Farah also drew attention to corporate responsibility in the region's education sector: "In times of conflict, education takes a back seat and often falls into secondary priority, but as responsible corporate citizens, we have a role in returning it to its rightful place."
According to the United Nations, every additional year of schooling can increase an individual's annual income by up to 10 per cent. Education is also one of the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations earlier this year, but progress cannot be achieved by governments alone, Farah stressed.
"The private sector - individuals together with companies and NGOs - has an important role to play in bringing about change."
 UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics' MENA Out-of-School Children Initiative
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, OrlandiValuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and OrlandiValuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks, and included the capability to send money to millions of bank accounts. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit http://www.westernunion.com.
About the Western Union Foundation
The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all. Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has paid more than $104 million in grants and other giving. These funds have been pledged to more than 2,918 nongovernmental organizations in more than 136 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation is a separate §501(c) (3) recognised United States charity. To learn more, visit http://www.westernunionfoundation.org , or follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.
SOURCE Western Union