Qatar Foundation (QF) vice chairperson and CEO HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani awarded Tuesday the 2023 WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) Prize for Education to Safeena Husain, founder and board member of Educate Girls.
The honour comprises $500,000 and a WISE medal. Husain was recognised for dedicating 16 years to building the non-profit organisation focused on empowering communities for girls’ education in some of India’s hardest to reach villages.
Earlier, QF chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser opened the 11th edition of WISE, under the theme ‘Creative Fluency: Human Flourishing in the Age of AI’.
The global summit convenes more than 2,000 education industry stakeholders, including influential thought leaders, young trailblazers, and key decision-makers to foster dialogue on the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence in the global education landscape.
The WISE Prize for Education is the first global award of its kind that honours an individual for an outstanding contribution to education.
Speaking to Gulf Times Husain said : “ We have been able to recruit over 1.9mn girl children from the interior villages in several states in India. Over 16 years we have mobilised more than 1.4mn girl children from various states in the country for enrolment in our programme. With a precision targeting method using AI, Educate Girls is able to target in five years, the same number of out-of-school girls, which would otherwise require 45 years.”
Husain’s journey with WISE began with a WISE Award in 2014 that acknowledged Educate Girls for its positive social impact and ability to scale. Through a network of over 21,000 community-based champions in some of the most marginalised communities in the country, the organisation has been working to break the intergenerational cycle of inequality and exclusion.
Under Husain’s guidance, Educate Girls has evolved into a leading global force, harnessing innovative financing and AI technology to bridge the gender gap in education. This is mirrored in its global milestones: the delivery of the world’s first Development Impact Bond in education, and the organisation becoming Asia’s first The Audacious Project – which, housed at TED, is a collaborative funding initiative catalysing social impact on a grand scale.
Husain said: “This is a collective win for all of us working toward girls’ education, right from the government and local communities to dedicated gender champions and our supporters. It is a testament to the array of initiatives that are actively addressing this global challenge, embracing grassroots innovations and technology-driven solutions that are tirelessly working to ensure that every girl, in every village, is in school and learning well.”
“Girls' education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. We must recognise that the right to education is a girl’s inherent right – a right that must always take center stage,” continued the WISE Prize Winner.
Among the highlights of the opening plenary was a performance by 15-year-old Palestinian rapper Abdulrahman AlShanti – known as MC Abdul.
The official strategic partner of WISE 11, Education Above All, a global non-profit organisation established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza, dedicated to transforming lives through education, is at the forefront of the summit’s programme creating dialogue around inclusive education, innovative financing, and protecting education in crises.
HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani presents the WISE Prize for Education 2023 to Safeena Husain. PICTURE: AR Al-Baker