REVERSING THE CYCLE

IN ETHIOPIA PIONEERING PROGRAMME GIVES ADVANCED EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIPS TO TRAIN REFUGEE TEACHERS

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Poch Jackson Petov has been a refugee all his life. Energetic, determined and fearless, the 25-year-old Poch has created opportunities for himself – seemingly out of nothing. Photo © UNICEF

IN ETHIOPIA PIONEERING PROGRAMME GIVES ADVANCED EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIPS TO TRAIN REFUGEE TEACHERS

We live in a world where millions of people will live their entire lives as refugees. Living in camps, settlements and urban contexts, too often on the edge of society. These victims of conflict and crisis remain caught in a hard-to-fathom cycle of exclusion, despair and socio-economic marginalization.

For children and youth, this negative cycle is only made worse by a lack of continuous, safe and quality education, limited resources, and unqualified teachers.

Ethiopia has a long tradition of welcoming refugees. Currently it hosts Africa’s second largest refugee population and has one of the largest refugee populations in the world. Despite its generosity as a host-country, Ethiopia’s estimated 925,000 refugee population has put a strain on the country’s coping capacity to meet their needs. This is the frontlines of the refugee education crisis in Africa.

Only half of the refugee children living here have access to education. Girls are left further behind, with only 45 per cent attending school. For many of these refugee children, there are no classrooms, no books to read and few qualified teachers.

UNHCR notes that just 50 per cent of Ethiopia’s refugee schools fulfill minimum standards for safe and conducive learning environments.

But this is about to change.

The Government of Ethiopia has taken a strong stance to improve the rights and services enjoyed by refugees in the country. As part of the 2017 Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, Ethiopia has made nine pledges, including to “increase enrollment of refugee children in preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary education, without discrimination and within available resources.”

To support delivery of the response framework, and help Ethiopia achieve its goals of ending poverty and hunger, and ensuring equitable education for all by 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, Education Cannot Wait partnered with UNICEF, UNHCR and the Government of Ethiopia to create a far-reaching US$15 million intervention that has already surpassed its goal of providing over 68,000 refugee children with quality education, quality school settings and quality teachers.

Somali refugee children share a meal inside a tent in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia. Fleeing drought and famine in their home country, thousands of Somalis have taken up residence across the border in Dollo Ado, where a complex of camps is assisted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Somali refugee children share a meal inside a tent in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia in 2011. Dollo Ado, Ethiopia. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

TEACHING THE TEACHERS

One promising achievement coming out of this initial two-year programme is an innovative initiative to provide advanced education to train teachers working in refugee education centers.

Only a minority of those who teach in refugee primary schools in the intervention area are qualified professional teachers holding teaching diplomas. Many of these teachers are refugees themselves. Providing advanced education for these teachers not only improves the quality of education in the camps, but it also provides a real chance to reverse the negative cycle that perpetuates poverty traps and limits opportunities for refugees young and old.  In all, the project targets training for 1,000 teachers and education professionals, of whom 444 will be women.

Poch Jackson Petov has been a refugee all his life. Energetic, determined and fearless, the 25-year-old Poch has created opportunities for himself – seemingly out of nothing.

Poch’s father died in South Sudan before he was born and he was separated from his mother when he was in the second grade. He fled the violence in his home country to seek refuge in Ethiopia. Against all odds, he managed to gain a primary and secondary education and learn Amharic while living in the Sherkole Refugee Camp in Ethiopia.

Community-minded and driven, Poch became a “volunteer teacher” for the camp, making around US$25 a month to teach primary school.

Sudanese refugees Anur, Sami, James and Abdalaziz © UNICEF Ethiopia/ 2018/Amanda Westfall
“I am proud of this programme. It will enable me to improve the knowledge of my community.” – James. Sudanese refugees Anur, Sami, James and Abdalaziz © UNICEF Ethiopia/ 2018/Amanda Westfall

“We had a meeting with school principals. We asked them, ‘Why can’t we get training to improve our skills?’ We are stuck in one position. Then we waited,” said Poch.

With funding from Education Cannot Wait, scholarships were created for Poch and others to attend college. This is a key component of Ethiopia’s focus on inclusion and empowerment for refugees as outlined in the Comprehensive Response Framework to “increase enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education to all qualified refugees without discrimination and within the available resources.” The “full-ride” scholarships include education, room and board, health care, and transport between the refugee camps and the college.

Some 343 refugees are now enrolled in college through the scholarships. The courses are taught in English, and students can study along a variety of tracks from physical education and integrated sciences to math, social science and English.

“Finally, [the opportunity] came and we have a partner to help us continue education,” said Poch.

South Sudanese refugees and current college students, Poch Jackson Petov and Hamid Abdallah Hamad in front of Gilgel-Beles College of Teacher Education. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2018/Amanda Westfall
South Sudanese refugees and current college students, Poch Jackson Petov and Hamid Abdallah Hamad in front of Gilgel-Beles College of Teacher Education. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2018/Amanda Westfall

PROMISING RESULTS

The Education Cannot Wait programme in Ethiopia has already exceeded targets for the number of children reached. Thus far over 82,000 children of the targeted 68,000 have been reached. Girls are often the most vulnerable. Of the targeted 28,000 girls, now over 32,000 have been reached with formal and non-formal education initiatives. Of the 157 classrooms targeted for support with equipment, infrastructure and classroom materials, 73 have been reached thus far, while additional infrastructures are being built.

Sami Balla is another refugee who is receiving training through the programme.

“Now, we can go back with the diploma and say we are teachers and we are professionals! I now have pride to work at the school,” said Sami, who has been a refugee for seven years now.

With their diplomas, Posh, Sami and hundreds more like them will return to the refugee camps to use their new skills to improve the quality of education for their communities. With improved teaching skills, and renewed self-determination, these educators are pioneering a new path for refugees living in Ethiopia – and a bold example for the rest of the world on the value of education.

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Based on the original story by Amanda Westfall.

 

 

CHILDREN OF HOPE

HALF A MILLION REFUGEE AND HOST-COMMUNITY CHILDREN WILL BENEFIT FROM UGANDA’S EDUCATION RESPONSE FOR REFUGEES.

UNHCR estimates that 4 million refugees worldwide (aged 5 to 17) are not enrolled in school, with 61 per cent attendance in elementary schools and 23 per cent in secondary schools. The Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Migration provide the substantial political backing to enhance educational opportunities and support for refugee children and youth fleeing war, persecution and disasters. Some host countries, such as Uganda, are already making great strides in ensuring quality and inclusive education for refugees. Photo © World Vision
UNHCR estimates that 4 million refugees worldwide (aged 5 to 17) are not enrolled in school, with 61 per cent attendance in elementary schools and 23 per cent in secondary schools. The Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Migration provide the substantial political backing to enhance educational opportunities and support for refugee children and youth fleeing war, persecution and disasters. Some host countries, such as Uganda, are already making great strides in ensuring quality and inclusive education for refugees. Photo Children of Hope in the Imvepi refugee settlement © Jesuit Refugee Service.

HALF A MILLION REFUGEE AND HOST-COMMUNITY CHILDREN WILL BENEFIT FROM UGANDA’S EDUCATION RESPONSE FOR REFUGEES.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT STEPS UP EFFORTS TO PROTECT CHILDREN AT RISK.

Uganda has received more than a million refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the last two years. War, conflict and drought are pushing families and unaccompanied children to flee neighboring countries. Girls and boys are being pushed to the edge. And their future is at risk.

The Government of Uganda, backed by a broad international coalition including Education Cannot Wait, is stepping up to resolve this crisis, building from immediate first-emergency responses to an innovative multi-year response plan to deliver sustainable results across the scope of humanitarian and development aid efforts.

The progress in Uganda sets an example on how host countries with the support of international aid stakeholders can respond to such refugee crisis at a time when the need for emergency education response worldwide is growing. According to UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people hit a record of 68.5 million in 2017. This means that one person is displaced every two seconds. Of the 19.9 million refugees currently under the protection of the UNHCR, more than half are under the age of 18.

In all some 4 million refugee children are not enrolled in school. That’s about the total populations of New Zealand or Croatia.

Numeracy has improved thanks to the programming. Photo ©Jesuit Refugee Service

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK IN UGANDA

Huge steps have already been taken to create better educational environments for girls, boys, unaccompanied minors and adolescents arriving from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Somalia, among other places.

According to UNHCR, approximately 265,000 school-aged refugee children were enrolled in primary education in Uganda as of the end of 2017.

To reach all the refugee children living in the country, Education Cannot Wait facilitated the development of a 3.5-year Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda, contributing US$11 million in seed funding to support the launch of the plan. The comprehensive plan looks to raise a total of US$389 million in total contributions to reach more than 560,000 refugee and host community children and youth. Girls and children with disabilities will be especially targeted in the response.

 Photo © Jesuit Refugee Service
Juma Mawa is proud to be attending class. Photo © World Vision

PUTTING LEARNERS FIRST

Young children and girls are some of the most vulnerable to migration. Not only does being a refugee take its toll on young bodies, it can also be extremely detrimental for young developing minds, and future educational outcomes.

Thanks to the support delivered in 2017-2018 by a coalition of aid actors including World Vision and UNICEF, with funding from Education Cannot Wait’s initial first emergency response, five-year-old Juma Mawa now attends school at the Hope for the Children Early Childhood Development Center in the Imvepi refugee settlement in Uganda’s Arua District.

“In South Sudan, I was not going to school but when we came here, the school was near and my father brought me here and I joined top class,” said Juma.

Like Juma, thousands of children have been reached with early childhood development program activities, psycho-social support and conducive play environments that are vital for the well-being of children and to help them overcome the trauma of their migration.

“There’s great improvement in children’s ability to identify letters, numbers and write. This has shown great improvement in their numeracy and literacy skills. Through the construction of permanent classrooms, Education Cannot Wait has boosted the ability of the caregivers to adequately plan and deliver their lessons… without having to worry about rain or the sun,” said Lucy Evelyn Atim, the World Vision child protection coordinator in Imvepi refugee settlement.

Around 5,000 children – half of whom are girls – have been enrolled in six Hope for the Children Schools. Two schools in the Odupi host community have also received support.

Photo © Jesuit Refugee Service
Teachers prepare lesson plans in the new building constructed with ECW funds. Photo © Jesuit Refugee Service

PUTTING GIRLS FIRST

Kojo Nancy is a 15-year-old refugee from South Sudan attending school at the Itula Secondary School.

“I first jointed Itula secondary school in February 2018. But there were a lot of challenges. Girls were sleeping in the classrooms, which led to a shortage of classrooms for learning. Girls were bathing in one shelter,” said Kojo Nancy.

With funding from Education Cannot Wait and support from Jesuit Refugee Service, Kojo Nancy and other girls like her now have a two-room dormitory (reserved just for girls), there are separate bathing facilities, a four-room classroom, incinerator and teacher’s quarters. Electricity comes from a solar panel, ensuring the school isn’t just safe for girls, but it’s also green and they can have light to study by.

“All these things they have done will lead to a great improvement in our health and performance. Not only for girls, but for the entire school,” said Kojo Nancy.

VIDEOS

Video features images from UN Photographers and Jesuit Refugee Service.

Video courtesy Jesuit Refugee Service. Jasmine Poni is a refugee from South Sudan. She is finding new chances for safe, reliable education thanks to support from an Education Cannot Wait-financed  project implemented by Jesuit Refugee Service in Uganda. With the construction of classrooms and a dormitory, girls and adolescent girls living here have a new safe space to learn, play and grow.

IN THEIR WORDS

Statement by Rt Hon Gordon Brown on the Launch of the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda

Statement by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education & Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group (HLSG)

Today marks an important milestone in the way that the international community, together with host governments, address the crisis situation of the 75 million children and youth in armed conflict, refugee camps, natural disasters and countries affected by epidemics deprived of their right to a quality education.   These children and their education, traditionally left behind, are now not only at the center of humanitarian response and will also be supported by a new way of working: supporting the delivery of education in the humanitarian-development nexus.

Following the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees of June last year, the Government of Uganda, together with local and international humanitarian and development partners, have worked to complete an Education Response Plan for over half million refugees from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and other countries.  Together with students from Ugandan host communities, who have been very supportive of their refugee peers, we now have plan to deliver education in a true partnership.   While the total cost of the three and a half year plan is USD 389 million, I am happy to report that Education Cannot Wait will be working to provide significant seed funding towards this programme.

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank my dear friend, Uganda’s Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni,  for her leadership and support to this comprehensive, joint plan, bringing together the in international donor agencies, UN agencies, and NGOs who have worked to make the plan a reality.

– Gordon Brown

Extended Resources

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UNHCR monthly update highlights details of Education Response Plan
The Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda (ERP) was launched in Kampala on 14 September 2018 by the Minister for Education and Sports, Her Excellency Mrs. Janet Museveni, the First Lady of Uganda.

This Plan is the first of its kind worldwide and represents a huge policy step forward for refugee education globally. Speaking at this Launch Event, as above, included the
Minister for Education and Sports; Alex Kakooza (Permanent Secretary MoES); Minister Hilary Onek (Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees), Aggrey Kibenge (Under Secretary MoES), Rosa Malango (UN Resident Coordinator), Joel Boutroue (UNHCR Representative); Jennie Barugh (Former Head of DFID),
Yasmine Sherif (Global Director of Education Cannot Wait) and refugee teacher, Dumba Lawrence David from Bidibidi Settlement in Yumbe District.

The Plan sets out a vision where all refugee children, as well as host community children, have access to quality learning at all levels, including pre-primary, primary, secondary and non-formal education.

The ERP targets children and youth in 12 refugee-hosting districts in Uganda
where more than half a million children are currently out of learning and out of school.” – UNHCR Monthly Update

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