INITIATIVE FOR STRENGTHENING EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES COORDINATION

The Global Education Cluster (GEC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) are delighted to announce the launch of the Initiative for Strengthening Education in Emergencies Coordination (ISEEC).

The Global Education Cluster (GEC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) are delighted to announce the launch of the Initiative for Strengthening Education in Emergencies Coordination (ISEEC).

The launch of ISEEC marks the continuation and formalization of a partnership between the three entities initiated by the Education Cannot Wait funded Global Partners Project (2017-2020) to strengthen education sector coordination during emergencies. In the spirit of this project and our joint pledge at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum to strengthen the quality of education sector coordination, the GEC, UNHCR and INEE will work together through ISEEC to further five key actions:

  • Build shared understanding and acceptance of different education in emergencies coordination systems and ways of working
  • Introduce structural and systemic opportunities for dialogue, exchange and collaboration
  • Allocate time and resources for joined-up coordination and streamlined planning processes
  • Join up coordination at preparedness stage and from the very start of a response
  • Invest in communication, exchange and capacity building between global, national and sub-national education in emergencies coordination systems

As part of the Global Partners Project, the Overseas Development Institute produced an evidence base on joint coordination. Building on its findings and recommendations, the partners will use ISEEC to advance these five actions to improve joint coordination, planning and response emerging. Consult the new report Education in Emergencies Coordination: Harnessing Humanitarian and Development Architecture for Education 2030 to learn more.

Through ISEEC, the GEC, UNHCR and INEE will champion partnership and collaboration across coordination systems by working together to mainstream collaborative approaches at global level and promote joined-up education in emergencies coordination at national and sub-national levels. Investing in strong coordination is integral for an effective, efficient and agile response to growing education needs of children and youth in humanitarian contexts.

Learn more about ISEEC here.

FRENCH

Le cluster éducation mondial (GEC), l’Agences des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), et le Réseau inter-agences pour l’éducation en situations d’urgence  (INEE) ont le plaisir de vous annoncer le lancement de l’initiative de renforcement de la coordination de l’éducation en situations d’urgence (ISEEC).

Le lancement de l’ISEEC marque la poursuite et l’officialisation d’un partenariat entre les trois entités initiées par le projet “Education Cannot Wait” financé par Global Partners Project (2017-2020) pour renforcer la coordination du secteur de l’éducation dans les situations d’urgence. Dans l’esprit de ce projet et de notre engagement commun lors du Forum mondial des réfugiés de 2019 à renforcer la qualité de la coordination du secteur de l’éducation, le GEC, le HCR et l’INEE travailleront ensemble par le biais de l’ISEEC pour mener à bien cinq actions clés :

  • Développer une compréhension et une acceptation communes des différents systèmes de coordination et des méthodes de travail en matière d’éducation dans les situations d’urgence
  • Introduire des possibilités structurelles et systémiques de dialogue, d’échange et de collaboration
  • Allouer du temps et des ressources pour une coordination conjointe et des processus de planification uniformisés
  • Assurer la coordination au stade de la préparation et dès le début de la réponse
  • Investir dans la communication, l’échange et le renforcement des capacités entre les systèmes de coordination de l’éducation en situations d’urgence aux niveaux mondial, national et infranational

Dans le cadre du projet Global Partners, l’Overseas Development Institute a produit une base de données probantes sur la coordination conjointe. Sur la base de ses conclusions et recommandations, les partenaires utiliseront l’ISEEC pour faire progresser ces cinq actions afin d’améliorer la coordination, la planification et la réponse communes qui se dessinent. Consultez le nouveau rapport Coordination de l’Éducation en Situations d’Urgence: Exploiter l’architecture humanitaire et de développement pour l’agenda Éducation 2030 pour en savoir plus.

Par l’intermédiaire de l’ISEEC, le GEC, le HCR et l’INEE soutiendront partenariat et  collaboration entre les systèmes de coordination en travaillant ensemble pour intégrer les approches collaboratives au niveau mondial et promouvoir une éducation commune dans la coordination des situations d’urgence aux niveaux national et sous-national. Investir dans une coordination solide est essentiel pour répondre de manière efficace, efficiente et souple aux besoins éducatifs croissants des enfants et des jeunes dans des contextes humanitaires.

SPANISH

El Clúster  Global de Educación (GEC), el alto Comisionado para los Refugiados de las ONU (ACNUR) y la Red Interagencial para la Educación en Situaciones de Emergencias (INEE) se complacen en anunciar el lanzamiento de la Iniciativa para el Fortalecimiento de la Coordinación de la Educación en Situaciones de Emergencias (ISEEC).

El lanzamiento de la ISEEC marca la continuación y formalización de una alianza entre las tres entidades iniciada por el Proyecto Global Partners (2017-2020) financiado por Education Cannot Wait (ECW) para fortalecer la coordinación del sector educativo durante situaciones de emergencias. En el espíritu de este proyecto y nuestro compromiso conjunto en el Foro Global de Refugiados de 2019 de fortalecer la calidad de la coordinación del sector educativo, el GEC, el ACNUR y la INEE trabajarán juntos a través de la ISEEC para promover cinco acciones clave:

  • Construir un entendimiento y aceptación compartidos sobre los diferentes sistemas de coordinación de educación en emergencias y las respectivas formas de trabajo
  • Introducir oportunidades estructurales y sistémicas para el diálogo, el intercambio y la colaboración.
  • Asignar tiempo y recursos para la coordinación conjunta y procesos de planificación optimizados.
  • Unir la coordinación en la etapa de preparación, y desde el comienzo de la respuesta
  • Invertir en comunicación, intercambio y desarrollo de capacidades entre los sistemas de coordianción de emergencias a nivel global, nacional y subnacional.

Como parte del Global Partners Project, el Overseas Development Institute elaboró una base de evidencias sobre la coordinación conjunta. Sobre la base de los hallazgos y recomendaciones, los socios utilizarán la ISEEC para promover estas cinco acciones para mejorar la coordinación conjunta, la planificación y la respuesta. Consulte el nuevo informe Coordinación de la educación en situaciones de emergencia: Aprovechar la arquitectura humanitaria y del desarrollo para la Educación 2030 para obtener más información.

A través de la ISEEC, el GEC, el ACNUR y la INEE fortaleceran la asociación y la colaboración a través de los sistemas de coordinación, trabajando juntos para incorporar enfoques de colaboración a nivel global y promoveran de manera conjunta la coordinación de la educación en situaciones de emergencias a nivel nacional y subnacional. Invertir en una coordinación sólida es fundamental para una respuesta eficaz, efectiva y ágil a las crecientes necesidades educativas de los niños, niñas y jóvenes en contextos humanitarios.

PORTUGUESE

O Cluster Global de Educação (CGE), a Agência das Nações Unidas para Refugiados (ACNUR) e a Rede Interinstitucional para a Educação em Situações de Emergência têm o prazer de dar a conhecer o lançamento da Iniciativa para o Fortalecimento da Coordenação da Educação em Situações de Emergência (ISEEC).

O lançamento desta Iniciativa marca a formalização e a continuidade da parceira estabelecida entre estas três entidades no âmbito do projeto Projeto Parceiras Globais (2017-2020) financiado pelo Fundo a Educação Não Pode Esperar, com o intuito de fortalecer a coordenação sectorial durante situações de emergência. No espírito deste projeto e do nosso compromisso conjunto no Fórum Global sobre Refugiados em 2019 em fortalecer a qualidade da coordenação no sector de educação, o CGE, o ACNUR e a INEE trabalharão em conjunto através da IFCEE nem torno de cinco acões-chave:

  • Construir um entendimento comum e a aceitação de diferentes sistemas de coordenação e formas de trabalho em educação em situações de emergências
  • Criar oportunidades de diálogo, partilha e colaboração estruturais e sistémicas
  • Alocar tempo e recursos para coordenação conjunta e processos de planeamento alinhados
  • Coordenação conjunta durante a etapa de preparação e desde a fase mesmo inicial da resposta
  • Investir na comunicação, intercâmbio e capacitação de sistemas de coordenação de educação em situações de emergência globais, nacionais e locais

Ainda no âmbito do Projeto Parcerias Globais, o Overseas Development Institute reuniu um conjunto de evidências sobre coordenação conjunta. Com base nas conclusões apresentadas nessas evidências, os referidos parceiros vão potenciar a IFCEE para promover estas cinco ações e melhorar a coordenação conjunta, o planeamento e a resposta que sejam necessárias. Consulte o novo relatório: Education in Emergencies Coordination: Harnessing Humanitarian and Development Architecture for Education 2030 para saber mais.

Através desta Iniciativa, o CGE, ACNUR e a INEE vão liderar o estabelecimento de novas parcerias e a colaboração, de forma geral, nos sistemas de coordenação trabalhando em conjunto com vista à implementação de abordagens colaborativas transversais, à escala global; bem como a promover a coordenação conjunta de educação em situações de emergência ao nível nacional e local. Investir no fortalecimento da coordenação é crucial para uma resposta efetiva, eficiente e ágil às crescentes necessidades de crianças e jovens em contextos humanitários.

ARABIC

يسر مجموعة التعليم العالمية (GEC) ، ومفوضية الأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين (UNHCR) ، والشبكة المشتركة بين الوكالات للتعليم في حالات الطوارئ (INEE) أن تعلن عن إطلاق مبادرة تعزيز تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ (ISEEC) لتعزيز الترابط، انضم إلى تنسيق قطاع التعليم الذي يعمل على تحسين نتائج التعليم للأطفال والشباب المتضررين من الأزمات.

يمثل إطلاق ISEEC استمرارًا وإضفاء للطابع الرسمي على الشراكة بين الكيانات الثلاثة التي بدأها مشروع الشركاء العالميين الممول من التعليم (2017-2020) لتعزيز تنسيق قطاع التعليم أثناء حالات الطوارئ. انطلاقاً من روح هذا المشروع وتعهدنا المشترك في المنتدى العالمي للاجئين لعام 2019 لتعزيز جودة التنسيق في قطاع التعليم، ستعمل كل من مجموعة التعليم العالمية ومفوضية الأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين والشبكة المشتركة بين الوكالات للتعليم في حالات الطوارئ معًا من خلال مبادرة تعزيز تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ لتعزيز خمسة إجراءات رئيسية:

  •  بناء فهم مشترك وقبول لمختلف أنواع التعليم أثناء عمليات التنسيق في حالات الطوارئ وطرق العمل المختلفة.
  • تقديم فرص للحوار والتبادل والتعاون في هيكلية ومنهجية مؤسسات التعليم المختلفة.
  • تخصيص الوقت والموارد للتنسيق المشترك وتبسيط عمليات التخطيط.
  •  الانضمام منذ البداية في عمليات التنسيق ومرحلة التأهب منذ بداية الاستجابة لاي طارئ.
  •  الاستثمار في الاتصال والتبادل وبناء القدرات بين التعليم العالمي والوطني ودون الوطني بين أنظمة التنسيق في حالات الطوارئ.

كجزء من مشروع الشركاء العالميين، أنتج معهد التنمية الخارجية قاعدة أدلة بشأن التنسيق المشترك، وبناءً على النتائج والتوصيات التي خرج بها المعهد ، سيستخدم الشركاء ISEEC هذه النتائج لتعزيز هذه الإجراءات الخمسة لتحسين التنسيق المشترك والتخطيط والاستجابة الناشئة. راجع التقرير الجديد “تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ: تسخير البنية الإنسانية والإنمائية للتعليم 2030” لمعرفة المزيد.

من خلال مبادرة تعزيز تنسيق التعليم في حالات الطوارئ، ستعمل كل من مجموعة التعليم العالمية ومفوضية اللاجئين والشبكة المشتركة بين الوكالات للتعليم في حالات الطوارئ على تعزيز الشراكة والتعاون عبر أنظمة التنسيق من خلال العمل معًا لتعميم النهج التعاونية على المستوى العالمي، وتعزيز مفاهيم التنسيق في حالات الطوارئ والتعليم المشترك على المستويين الوطني ودون الوطني. يعد الاستثمار في التنسيق القوي جزءًا لا يتجزأ من الاستجابة الفاعلة والفعالة والسرعة لاحتياجات التعليم المتزايدة للأطفال والشباب في السياقات الإنسانية.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INTERVIEWS THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES, FILIPPO GRANDI

Filippo Grandi is the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
He was elected by the UN General Assembly on 1 January 2016 to serve a five-year term, until 31 December 2020. Grandi has been engaged in refugee and humanitarian work for more than 30 years.

Filippo Grandi is the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He was elected by the UN General Assembly on 1 January 2016 to serve a five-year term, until 31 December 2020. Grandi has been engaged in refugee and humanitarian work for more than 30 years.

Education Cannot Wait: As the UN agency mandated by the UN General Assembly to provide international protection and seek solutions for refugees, could you please elaborate on the overall importance of education for refugee children as a component of protection and solutions?

Filippo Grandi: School is often one of the very first things that refugee families ask about after being displaced. Keen to recover a sense of normalcy and dignity after the trauma of being uprooted, they are also heavily invested in their children’s futures. Many children and young people are displaced several times before crossing a border and becoming a refugee. For these children school is the first place they start to regain a sense of routine, safety, friendship and even peace. Education plays a key role, both in ensuring the protection of children and young people and helps families and children focus on rebuilding their lives and returning to many of the activities that they would normally have engaged in prior to displacement.

As UNHCR’s recent Education Report 2020 has shown, whilst there have been some successes in access to primary education, these have slowed down. Gross Enrollment Ratios show that 77 per cent of refugee children are enrolled in primary education, but this drops dramatically to 31 per cent at the secondary level. Girls are disproportionately impacted. Since global evidence shows the significant protective nature of secondary education for girls, this is a key aspect of work for UNHCR and partners like Education Cannot Wait.

Together, we are petitioning for refugee enrollment in education at all levels to be brought up to global levels to enable the millions of children and young people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Allowed to learn, develop and thrive, children will grow up to contribute to the societies that host them but also to their homelands when peace allows for their return. Education is one of the most important ways to solve the world’s crises.

Filippo Grandi meets children at the Jibreen shelter in Aleppo, Syria. Jibreen is now home to over 5,000 people displaced during fighting in the city. © UNHCR/Firas Al-Khateeb

Education Cannot Wait: You are a long-standing member of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group. As you know, Education Cannot Wait is designed to ensure that children can continue their education in times of emergencies and protracted crises. Please elaborate on the special needs of refugee children during emergencies and protracted crises, and how do you see Education Cannot Wait contributing to meeting those rights and needs?

Filippo Grandi: The Global Compact for Refugees calls for measures to enable children and youth return to learning within three months of displacement. This goal highlights the important role that education – both formal and non-formal –  plays in supporting children to resume normal activities. Children can feel a sense of belonging with their peers in classrooms, have the opportunity to play and engage in recreational activities, and receive potentially lifesaving information on issues related to health, hygiene and safety. Schools also provide access to support services, such as counselling and school-feeding programmes.

Preparing refugee children to enter into the national education systems of host communities is critical and requires working closely with Ministries of Education to remove administrative and policy barriers to school enrollment.  It also entails ensuring children have the skills and abilities needed in order to thrive once they are enrolled in schools. Language learning classes – especially where the language of instruction is different – catch up programmes, and accelerated education all support children’s enrollment into school and ability to learn effectively. It is also important to provide information and material assistance to assist families overcome some of the practical barriers to school enrollment. Psycho-social support is also instrumental for children who have undergone the trauma of displacement and need help in adapting to new situations and environments.

The support provided by Education Cannot Wait enables agencies and organizations to ensure that services are provided after the onset of an emergency to address the immediate needs that have been highlighted above, focusing both on protection and education needs and working to ensure that children are prepared for inclusion in formal education programmes. Education Cannot Wait has also played a pivotal role in calling for donors to invest in education during and after emergencies to ensure children’s educational needs can be met during humanitarian crises, as evidenced by the increase in investment in education in emergencies over the last four years.

Education Cannot Wait: A significant number of pledges made by countries and other stakeholders at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum centered around education, including individual and joint pledges made by Education Cannot Wait highlighting multi-year investments to increase opportunities in secondary education for refugee children, and in working with other global funds to support quality education for refugees. What gaps in funding are there for refugee education globally and where best can donors help, including countries, civil society and private enterprises?

Filippo Grandi: While funding to education in emergencies grew five-fold between 2015 and 2019, education usually only receives between 2 and 5 percent of the total budget of humanitarian appeals. As we move from emergency situations to protracted crises, there is a risk that education spending is further deprioritized, making it harder to support host governments to continue the delivery of education services over a sustained period.

Funding gaps in education mean that it is often difficult to ensure that children and youth complete a full cycle of education, moving from primary, through secondary and to tertiary education.  Global figures show that there is a dramatic drop in enrollment between primary and secondary education and that only 3 percent of refugee youth are enrolled in tertiary education programmes.

Funding gaps also mean that those who are most in need, including children in women- or child-headed households and those with disabilities do not receive the specialized support that is required in order to fully enjoy their right to education. The joint pledge at the Global Refugee Forum by Education Cannot Wait, the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education has the potential to be a game changer in terms of ensuring that systems are strengthened and supported so that refugees and other vulnerable populations enjoy continued access to education.

Education Cannot Wait: Education Cannot Wait has dedicated its second round of COVID-19 First Emergency Response investments for refugee situations throughout the world. Could you please elaborate on some of the key emergencies in terms of refugee education for UNHCR and the difference that Education Cannot Wait’s emergency response for COVID-19 will make?

Filippo Grandi: The closure of schools around the world effectively meant that 90 percent of refugee children who were enrolled in schools and education programmes were unable to continue receiving an education.

As they are located in some of the most remote areas in countries or have limited resources at home, they were unable to benefit fully from distance and home-based learning programmes and are at serious risk of falling further behind academically. This risk is even more serious for adolescent girls where an estimated 50 percent of girls who were in school are at risk of not returning once classes resume. The closure of schools also means that many of the wrap-around support services mentioned earlier (food distribution, psycho-social support and recreational activities and learning support programmes) were disrupted.

Families who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic experience greater economic pressure and may deprioritize spending what little resources they have on schooling in order to ensure that their most basic needs are met. All these factors contribute to heighten protection risks during periods of school closure, leaving the educational futures of many refugee children hanging in the balance. 

Keeping education going during a pandemic requires resourcefulness, innovation, invention and collaboration. Education Cannot Wait’s funding for the COVID-19 response will play a key role in mitigating these risks, by finding ways of ensuring that students are able to continue learning during school closures, disseminating information to refugee families about re-opening procedures and the safety protocols that will be put in place, training teachers on adjusting to the pandemic, providing additional materials to students, implementing back to school campaigns and making much-needed improvements to water and sanitation facilities in schools. Many of these activities have already been initiated with the generous support of Education Cannot Wait. 

Education Cannot Wait: UNHCR and ECW have also jointly coordinated closely with host-governments, humanitarian and development actors in developing multi-year resilience investments, such as the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda. How do you see this strengthening education for refugees and host-communities in the humanitarian-development nexus?

Filippo Grandi: The theme of UNHCR’s 2020 report is ‘Coming Together for Refugee Education’. This focus really echoes the Global Compact on Refugees which advocates for a “whole of society” approach to ensuring that the needs of refugees and hosting communities are addressed.  This means that a range of stakeholders have a role to play in realizing the goals of the Compact.  The presence of a clear plan and set of objectives for supporting access to education helps define roles and areas of contribution for a broad range of stakeholders. It is crucial that there are linkages between refugee and humanitarian response plans, multi-year resilience plans and longer-term sector development plans.

Education Cannot Wait’s support for education programming immediately after the onset of an emergency and the longer-term assistance provided through Multi-Year Resilience Programmes plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between humanitarian and development financing.  The inclusion of refugees in host-country education systems means that donors and other actors need to work closely with governments to increase the capacity of these systems to accommodate additional students, develop teachers’ abilities to respond to students’ needs and to ensure that children can progress through different educational levels.

Education Cannot Wait: Would there be any final comments you would wish to make to ECW’s audience globally regarding the importance of refugee children’s education in emergencies?

Filippo Grandi: Investment in education for refugees is essential to ensure that creativity and potential of young people in conflict and crisis-affected regions is not lost.  During the COVID-19 pandemic refugee students have played pivotal roles in their communities working on the frontlines as healthcare workers, making masks and soap to be distributed to those who need it, offering advice and disseminating health and hygiene information and establishing programmes for tutoring younger students. Their drive, initiative and passion would have been lost without early investment in their education. 

Education for refugees is an investment that pays off for the whole community – and the world. It is also a fundamental right for all children that is affirmed in the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This right must also be upheld in emergencies where we call on global actors to focus not only on access but on the quality of education and children’s ability to learn, leading them to a brighter and more dignified future.

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This interview is also published by IPSNews and is available in French and in Spanish.

SCHOOLS CAUGHT UP IN ARMED CONFLICT SWEEPING ACROSS THE SAHEL

A Malian refugee student plays the role of teacher at a school in Goudoubo camp. Because of rising insecurity teachers no longer show up and students often teach each other. Photo © UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

On the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack, UNHCR and Education Cannot Wait are bridging the gap to provide refugee children with the safety, hope and opportunity of an education. In Burkina Faso, by the end of 2019, more than 3,300 schools were shut, affecting almost 650,000 children and more than 16,000 teachers. Oumar refuses to give up on his education.

Stories from the Field

Special Contribution by Ag Ahmed in Dori, UNHCR Burkina Faso  (Original Story | Español)

With the violence that had been plaguing parts of the Sahel region for years beginning to rage in Burkina Faso, teachers at Oumar’s school simply stopped coming to work. Then they left the area altogether.

That put Oumar’s education, and the education of thousands of other Malian refugee children who were then living in Mentao refugee camp, on hold.

“I was very sad to have to stay home all day and not be able to continue classes,” says Oumar, a reserved but determined teenager, now 17 years old.

It was a bitter blow. Growing up, there had been no school to go to in Oumar’s home town of Mopti, and after he and his family fled Mali in 2012 as violence was igniting there, life in Mentao camp had given him his first taste of an education.

To keep his schooling going, the boy’s father decided to take him and his siblings to Goudoubo refugee camp, further to the east. There he was registered in a school in the nearby town of Dori, hoping this would allow him to sit the crucial exams that let him progress to secondary level.

But more disruption lay in wait. “The following school year, as soon as the school year started, the same security issues continued in Goudoubo,” he says. “I was very disappointed that once again my school closed and that I was not able to finish the new school year.”

Oumar is over the usual age to start secondary school, something which is common for refugee children, particularly where education is disrupted and there are no accelerated education programmes available.

In Burkina Faso alone, over the past 12 months the number of internally displaced people rose five-fold, reaching 921,000 at the end of June 2020. The country is also host to nearly 20,000 refugees, many of whom have recently fled the camps – seeking safety in other parts of the country or even returning to their homeland.

Across the Sahel, millions have fled indiscriminate attacks by armed groups against both civilians and state institutions – including schools. According to UNICEF, between April 2017 and December 2019 the number of school closures due to violence in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger rose six-fold. By the end of last year, more than 3,300 schools were shut, affecting almost 650,000 children and more than 16,000 teachers.

In Burkina Faso alone, 2,500 schools had closed because of the violence, depriving 350,000 children of access to education – and that was before  coronavirus closed the rest.

On September 9th, the UN marks the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack, with the General Assembly condemning attacks on education and the military use of schools in contravention of international law.

In a ground-breaking report, UNHCR warns the twin scourges of COVID-19 and attacks on schools, targeting teachers and pupils, threatens to destroy hard-won gains in refugee education and destroy the dreams of millions of youngsters.

This year, Oumar thought it was third time lucky. His family moved a few miles down the road from Goudoubo camp to Dori, and he was able to start his first year of secondary school in spite of being older than most of the other students. “Everything was going smoothly,” he says.

“But classes had to stop again – this time because of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Since 1 June, the three school grades that were due to take exams this year have reopened and UNHCR is doing what it can to find places for refugee children.

For the others, UNHCR, with the support of Education Cannot Wait, began buying radios for primary and secondary refugee students to ensure they had the same access as their Burkinabe peers to lessons being broadcast over the airwaves. UNHCR is also working with governments to enable emergency education for displaced children and youth via access to safe distance learning alternatives.

As he waits, Oumar refuses to be downhearted. “I still have the hope that the situation will improve so that I can go back and finish my education,” he says.

Video

Education Cannot Wait’s ‘Stories from the Field’ series features the voices of our implementing partners, children, youth and the communities we support. These stories have only been lightly edited to reflect the authentic voice of these frontlines partners on the ground. The views expressed in the Stories from the Field series do not necessarily reflect those of Education Cannot Wait, our Secretariat, donors or UN Member States.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT ANNOUNCES US$19 MILLION IN NEW COVID-19 EDUCATION RESPONSE FOR REFUGEES AND IDPs ACROSS 10 CRISIS-AFFECTED COUNTRIES – ECW COVID-19 INVESTMENTS APPROVED NOW TOTAL $43.5 MILLION

Education Cannot Wait announced today an additional US$19 million in education in emergency response funding to the COVID-19 pandemic across 10 crisis-affected countries. With this new funding, ECW’s total COVID-19 response now spans 33 countries and crisis-affected contexts, with US$43.5 million in funding approved so far.

ECW’s First Emergency Response allocations focus on refugee, internally displaced and host community children and youth

22 July 2020, New York ­– Education Cannot Wait announced today an additional US$19 million in education in emergency response funding to the COVID-19 pandemic across 10 crisis-affected countries. With this new funding, ECW’s total COVID-19 response now spans 33 countries and crisis-affected contexts, with US$43.5 million in funding approved so far.

“The time has come for decisive and game-changing measures to ensure that every refugee child accesses a quality education. Education Cannot Wait is taking such measures and we must scale up our support for this effort,” said the Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot Wait’s High-Level Steering Group. 

This new funding will be delivered in partnership with national governments, UN agencies and a significant number of civil society organizations in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

These First Emergency Response (FER) grants focus on refugee, internally displaced and host community children and youth: 876,392 in total, of whom 461,706 are girls and 405,886 are boys. In all, 25 grantees will implement the second phase of ECW’s COVID-19 education in emergency response. In the majority of countries, this response is being coordinated by respective governments and UNHCR.

“Children and youth displaced by armed conflicts and climate-induced disasters are especially at risk and doubly affected by COVID-19. This investment is dedicated to them, but much more needs to be done. We call on partners to contribute substantive financial resources for those left furthest behind as a result of brutal conflicts and punishing crises,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. 

68 per cent of the children and youth targeted through the investments are refugees, with 32 per cent being internally displaced and host community children and youth. With continuity of education disrupted by the global pandemic, ECW’s education in emergency response covers the entire 3-18 years of age spectrum with a holistic package of support. 23 per cent of the beneficiaries are at the secondary level to ensure their learning can continue. At the other end of the age-spectrum, 19 per cent of the beneficiaries will benefit from holistic early childhood development activities. In addition to access to learning, the investments include child protection, mental health and psychosocial support services, as well as expanded access to life-saving water and sanitation services.

These new grants build on the rapid response by ECW and its partners to the global pandemic, which has pushed well over a billion children out of school and is having broad, negative social and economic impacts globally. Before the pandemic, 75 million children and youth impacted by emergencies and protracted crises did not have access to the safety, hope and opportunity of an education. The pandemic now puts even more children and youth at risk, and ECW and its partners have issued an urgent global appeal to mobilize US$310 million to reach vulnerable girls and boys most at risk of being left behind.

ECW Second Tranche COVID-19 First Emergency Response

  • Bangladesh: US$600,000 allocated. Grantees: Norwegian Refugee Council ($300,000), Plan International ($300,000)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: US$2.3 million allocated. Grantees: AVSI with AIDES ($900,000), Terre Sans Frontières (TSF), with Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne-Dungu ($1.4 million)
  • Ethiopia: US$2.8 million allocated. Grantees: UNHCR ($1.86 million), Plan International ($440,000), Save the Children ($500,000)
  • Iraq: US$2.3 million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($580,000), People in Need ($430,000), Public Aid Organization ($430,000), Intersos ($430,000), Norwegian Refugee Council ($430,000)
  • Kenya: US$2.3 million allocated. Grantees: UNHCR ($1.84 million), Save the Children ($460,000)
  • Lebanon: US$2.8 million allocated. Grantees: Save the Children ($715,000), AVSI ($695,000), NRC ($695,000), IRC ($695,000)
  • Libya: US$1.5 million allocated. Grantees: UNICEF ($750,000), Norwegian Refugee Council ($750,000)
  • South Sudan: US$2.32 million allocated. Grantees: Lutheran World Federation ($1.5 million), World Vision International ($345,000), Across ($487,000)
  • Tanzania: US$1.5 million allocated. Grantee: International Rescue Committee ($1.5 million)
  • Zambia: US$600,000 allocated. Grantee: UNHCR ($600,000)

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Notes to Editors:

  • ECW First Emergency Response grants announced on 2 April (learn more here)
  • ECW First Emergency Response grants announced on 20 May (learn more here)

BUILDING EDUCATION STARS IN UGANDA

With funding from Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR is helping refugee children get back to the safety and protection of learning through the Government of Uganda’s Education Response Plan

With funding from Education Cannot Wait, UNHCR is helping refugee children get back to the safety and protection of learning through the Government of Uganda’s Education Response Plan

Stories from the Field

Special Contribution by Tukundane Yonna and Gerald Musoke, UNHCR

In Adjumani district in northern Uganda – home to more than 214,000 refugees – David Malou Nyankot, a refugee from South Sudan, is the best student in his class. David came to Uganda alone in June 2016 following clashes between warring forces in his home village in Jonglei State.

With funding from Education Cannot Wait, Uganda’s Education Response Plan (ERP) is providing hundreds of thousands of refugee children like David with the safety, protection, hope and opportunity of education.

The primary gross enrolment ratio for refugee children has improved by 22 per cent in Uganda – from 53 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent in 2019 (reaching 71.4 per cent for girls) – according to ECW’s upcoming 2019 Annual Report.

In 2019, David scored an aggregate 4 on his Primary Leaving Examinations, the highest mark you can achieve.

Hope arises

“I had totally lost any hopes of ever joining school again,” says David.

Although David fled alone, he was later united with his uncle who had arrived in Adjumani two years earlier. When David started back in school at Ayilo 1A Primary School the following year, he had to repeat Primary 5.

“My uncle had enough problems at home; he could hardly buy me even a book. I remember walking to school barefooted for a full year,” David says.

The Education Response Plan was launched in September 2018 with financial support from ECW and other partners. It seeks to find a long-term solution for the half-a-million refugee children that are out of school in Uganda. In delivering on the plan’s overall targets, UNHCR and its partner Windle Trust provided exercise books, pens, and other scholastic materials to David and other refugee students like him.

“The teachers in my new school were great. We were over 250 students in my class, but I insisted on using this opportunity to study hard,” David says.

With this expanded support, David is now one of the three top refugee pupils that sat for same exams in 2019.

Top of the class

Mayen Abraham Bol and Deng Awan Deng, both age 15, scored a remarkable aggregate 5 and 6 all in division one.

Abraham fled South Sudan in August 2016 with his younger sister after a violent conflict in his village. They later joined his maternal aunt who had already arrived in Adjumani’s Nyumanzi refugee settlement a year earlier.

“I had completely lost hope. I had no mother, no father, no brother, not any one of my close relatives when I fled,” says Deng.

Awan Deng arrived in Uganda in November 2014 following the brutal conflict in South Sudan.

“When the fighting begun, I was at school. I did not have any opportunity to go back home. I followed the direction in which most of the people were running,” Deng says.

On arrival at Nyumanzi refugee settlement in Adjumani, Deng was placed under foster care, but was later reunited with his aunt who came in a separate convoy.

When he joined school at Nyumanzi II Primary School in 2015, Deng was made to repeat Primary 3 despite having almost completed it back home in South Sudan. He studied here up to Primary 5 before joining Mummy’s Care School in Adjumani Town.

While David, Abraham and Deng were in their Primary 5, Uganda launched the Education Response Plan, paving the way for UNHCR and partners to provide essential learning materials, build new classrooms and repair existing ones to make schools safer and more accessible.

Continuing their learning

Supported by the new education plan, at the end of their Primary 6 district promotional examinations, David and Deng were the best students in the entire district. This earned them an all-expenses-paid scholarship in Mummy’s Care Primary School, a top boarding school in Adjumani Town from where they excelled in their final examinations.

Over 45,000 refugee and host community children in Adjumani go to the 32 primary schools in the refugee settlements of the district. Twelve of these schools are government aided while the rest were established by the communities. Under the ERP, all these schools receive support from UNHCR and partners.

Speaking at a recognition ceremony for best performers, Robert Dima, Adjumani District Education Officer said, “It is our responsibility to support refugee children to achieve their full potential in life. They are simply our brothers from across the border.”

General performance of schools in refugee hosting districts had improved with the implementation of the ERP. Temporary classroom structures have been replaced with permanent buildings and the number of teachers has increased.

With COVID-19 pandemic, schools are currently closed indefinitely. For many refugees like David, Abraham and Deng, who had been admitted at St. Mary’s College School in central Uganda on a partial scholarship, this is a big blow to their dreams. But they are waiting patiently for their return to school and for a future filled with new opportunities.

Education Cannot Wait’s ‘Stories from the Field’ series features the voices of our implementing partners, children, youth and the communities we support. These stories have only been lightly edited to reflect the authentic voice of these frontlines partners on the ground. The views expressed in the Stories from the Field series do not necessarily reflect those of Education Cannot Wait, our Secretariat, donors or UN Member States.

UNESCO, UNHCR & EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT CALL FOR THE INCLUSION OF REFUGEES IN THE POST-COVID19 EDUCATION EFFORT

We must not leave young refugees by the wayside, urged UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Education Cannot Wait as they urged more support in favour of young refugees’ education during an online debate today, moderated by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, on how best to provide them with improved learning during and after the pandemic.

New York, 13 July 2020 – We must not leave young refugees by the wayside, urged UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Education Cannot Wait as they urged more support in favour of young refugees’ education during an online debate today, moderated by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, on how best to provide them with improved learning during and after the pandemic.

“Mobilizing for refugees is extremely urgent at a time when they are particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 crisis and its aftermath,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, as she opened the meeting. “The Covid-19 crisis is jeopardizing everything we have done for the education of refugees and migrants, their integration and chances of self-realization. We must strengthen our action in favour of the most vulnerable in order to guarantee them this fundamental right.”

“The Global Compact on Refugees rests on an important foundation: responding to crises of forced displacement needs to bring together governments, civil society, networks like Education Cannot Wait, businesses like Vodaphone and above all, refugees,” said the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

“ECW sees that all too often, refugee children and youth – among the most vulnerable people in the world – are left out of COVID-19 responses. It is important that ECW’s responses reach those left furthest behind. For this reason, we dedicated our newest round of education in emergency funding for COVID-19 to support refugee children and youth, especially girls,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We are also looking at distance learning to open up access to education for forcibly displaced children and youth.”

The roundtable was attended by young refugee students and graduates, the ministers of Education of Cameroon, Kenya and Pakistan, and representatives of the Global Coalition for Education established under the auspices of UNESCO. The debate was moderated by the United Nations Special Envoy, actor Angelina Jolie, a displaced persons’ advocate of long standing.

Introducing the discussion, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, said, “As the world is still dealing with the devastating impacts from the pandemic, we must ensure that displaced and refugee youth can continue to learn. Every child deserves a quality education in an environment that is safe and inclusive.”

Concluding the meeting, the United Kingdom’s Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Sugg, stressed that “Education must be prioritized in the global recovery from coronavirus. This epidemic is not just a health crisis, it is an education crisis, especially for refugee children. Without school and an education, they will be unable to rebuild their lives and achieve their full potential.”

Speakers warned that the pandemic risked jeopardizing the progress made in education in recent years, especially for young girls, at least 20% of whom are at risk of not resuming the studies they had to interrupt during school closures, according to a UNHCR estimate. However, a number of governments are planning to include refugees in post-pandemic response measures, such as distance education, in line with their commitments under the Global Compact on Refugees.

The event was co-sponsored by Canada, the United Kingdom and the global Education Cannot Wait fund, which channelled its second COVID emergency allocation to refugees. 

Video

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT INVESTMENTS REACH REFUGEE AND OTHER VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC

With US$24.5 million in currently committed funds – and more on its way – ECW-financed COVID-19 education in emergency responses are now deployed across 27 countries and emergency contexts. For children and youth in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad and Mali, these life-saving responses are allowing girls and boys to continue their education through distance learning, protecting lives with enhanced water and sanitation services, and slowing the spread of the virus through community awareness campaigns.

Priscille with her family. Photo © Save the Children

ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN UGANDA WITH SAVE THE CHILDREN

With support from Education Cannot Wait, Save the Children Uganda is distributing home learning kits and extending educational opportunities through innovative radio programmes to provide refugee girls and boys – and host community children and youth – ongoing remote learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools are still closed in Uganda – possibly for the remainder of the year. For these vulnerable refugee children and youth, life-saving education and health awareness materials are essential in keeping children safe, extending learning and slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Still, half of the primary school refugee children in Uganda have yet to receive home learning materials, highlighting the need to expand the global education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Imagine… I am in P7 (the seventh and final grade of primary school). As a girl, I am very proud to have reached this class. This virus should stop so that I can sit the Primary Leaving Examination since many girls cannot make it. This makes me happy and keen to complete my studies!” – Priscille, 15, refugee girl Rwamwanja refugee settlement in Western Uganda. Full Story

Grace is finding new hope through the ECW-financed response. Photo © UNICEF

ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN BURKINA FASO WITH UNICEF

In Burkina Faso, ECW funding is keeping girls and boys safe within the fast-evolving ‘crisis within a crisis’ affecting refugees, especially girls in the Sahel. For girls like Grace, the support provided by ECW partner UNICEF, in coordination with the Government of Burkina Faso, is making a difference. This includes the training and deployment of 15,000 volunteers who provide COVID-19 hygiene and prevention sensitization amongst refugee populations and host communities.

“At school we have to wear the mask, stay at least 1 meter apart, wash hands with water and soap and raise awareness of friends who don’t know how to fight this pandemic.” – Grace, Peniel High School in Tanghin.

Learn more in this BBC French report.

Photo © UNHCR

ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN MALI WITH UNHCR

“UNHCR Mali has now received money from Education Cannot Wait for distance learning, targeting 10,000 refugee and displaced children in Mali. With the money we aim to provide solar radios to refugee children, children who are internally displaced, and those from the host communities. These radios will ensure these refugee, displaced and host community children’s right to education, even in low-tech resource areas of Mali. The Ministry of Education together with teachers are now recording lessons for all levels so that they are ready to be aired on the radios.”- Leandro Salazar, Education Expert, UNHCR Mali.

Preventing the spread of the virus through education in Chad. Photo © JRS.

ECW-SUPPORTED RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN CHAD AND THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC WITH JRS

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown and confinement measures have brought new challenges for educational facilities in both Chad and the Central African Republic. In addition to being central to learning, schools are crucial for raising community awareness to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

With the support of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) adapted its activities in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in Eastern Chad to ensure continued education, health and hygiene awareness raising and protection for refugee children and youth – already impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and protracted crises – and now doubly hit by COVID-19.

In Chad, ECW partner JRS is supporting improved water and sanitation services and training education professionals on COVID-19 prevention measures to help them raise awareness within the communities. In Central African Republic, radio programmes are providing psychosocial support and ongoing lessons, with a special focus on refugee girls’ rights to access quality education.

¨We started some initiatives to be in contact with the students. This includes awareness raising activities with their parents and students on COVID-19 prevention measures through WhatsApp groups and home visits.¨ Tadjadine Abdallah Mansour, a secondary teacher at Kounoungou Refugee Camp, Chad.

“For the moment, and until the end of the pandemic, we will continue teaching our students within their areas through home-based learning.¨

Coordinating Education in Crises

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) suite of reports on strengthening coordinated education planning and response among humanitarians, and with development actors. Independently researched and produced by ODI, the reports were commissioned in partnership by the Global Education Cluster (GEC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with funding from the Education Cannot Wait global fund for education in emergencies (ECW).

Education is a powerful tool and a source of hope for children and youth affected by humanitarian emergencies, providing knowledge, skills, and competencies for a better future. Yet over 75 million children currently have their education disrupted by humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises – a situation further compounded by the current COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, generous support from ECW enabled the GEC, INEE and UNHCR to come together to strengthen joint planning, coordination and response, with the ultimate goal of supporting the education of children and youth living in emergencies and protracted crises contexts.

ODI was commissioned to undertake independent research to develop this evidence base, comprising of an analytical framework, 6 country case studies covering Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Bangladesh, Chad and Syria, and a synthesis report which outlines recommendations for action from key stakeholders and actors across diverse contexts.

Read the full suite of reports here (English only): https://www.odi.org/projects/2954-coordinating-education-crises

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Individual reports can be downloaded at the following links:

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT’S COMMITMENT TO REFUGEE EDUCATION

Christina Manas, a 13-year-old South Sudanese refugee, studies in grade five at Baratuku settlement in northern Uganda. Photo UNHCR

At the Global Refugee Forum, Education Cannot Wait commits to investing in multi-year programmes for refugees and host-community children

As part of our commitment to support refugee education, at the Global Refugee Forum, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) pledges to: Facilitate and invest in multi-year programmes for refugee and host-community children to access quality education, particularly in secondary education.

Taking as a model the ECW-facilitated Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda, ECW pledges to facilitate and invest in similar multi-year resilience programmes (MYRPs) that ensure that refugee and other forcibly-displaced children and youth, as well as children and youth from affected host communities, are fully included and have access to quality education, including in national programmes.

Moreover, ECW pledges to ensure that such programmes have a strong secondary-education component, including by providing funds for secondary education in MYRP countries through any established UNHCR internal funding mechanism specifically designated for secondary education.

With this pledge, ECW seeks to mobilize support for refugee and host-community children and youth to be able to complete their education, so that they can successfully transition to becoming self-sufficient as adults.

CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH TECHNOLOGY

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A technology learning lab in Uganda. Photo ECW.

EDUCATION CANNOT WAIT IS PARTNERING WITH HP TO PILOT EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY INTERVENTIONS FOR REFUGEE CHILDREN IN UGANDA

By Michael Corlin and Johannes Kiess

Uganda hosts 1.3 million refugees – the highest number of refugees in any country in Africa and the third largest in the world today. Half are children.

These girls and boys live in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Food can be hard to come by, and access to safe, reliable education, learning materials, qualified teachers is an ongoing challenge. Access to any sort of learning technology (even a simple computer) is extremely limited.

The good news is that the Government of Uganda is committed to continue helping these refugee children to access quality education.

Education Cannot Wait – a new global fund that seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion to provide access to education for 8.9 million children living in crisis by 2021 – facilitated the development of the Uganda Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities and contributed US$11 million in seed funding to launch it.

Overall, the 3.5-year plan seeks to mobilize US$389 million to benefit half a million refugee and host community children and youth. This includes recruiting 9,000 teachers each year, and building 3,000 classrooms annually.

Central to Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities, and in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, is the need for improved coordination of all aspects of education delivery. This includes the development, roll out and expansion of EdTech.

To more effectively pilot technology deployments in these settings, Education Cannot Wait has brokered a collaboration with HP, Learning Equality, the Global Business Coalition for Education, and UNHCR. HP pledged to donate technology and resources to leverage Learning Equality’s Kolibri offline learning platform to improve the learning outcomes of Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities. The collaboration builds on existing collective work in Uganda by UNICEF, UNHCR, Learning Equality and others.

“Technology is a tool that has the potential to elevate millions of young people out of marginalization and poverty. It empowers girls and boys with previously unavailable information, new networks and channels to learn and develop 21st century skills,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Technology partnerships like this mean a brighter future for the 1.3 million refugees in Uganda, and the 75 million children and youth living in crisis worldwide that are in need of immediate educational support.”

 

ECW Director Yasmine Sherif at  during the announcement of ECW partnership with tech giant , Learning Equality, GBCE, and UNHCR to pilot educational technology interventions for refugee children in Uganda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSESSING THE NEEDS AND DESIGNING SOLUTIONS

Technology can be a game changer, if put to work properly. Contextualization is essential. Technology deployments for education in crisis, in particular, need to be specifically designed with the user, work within the existing technological and societal ecosystem, and be collaborative, scalable, data-driven and open-sourced.

Technological solutions that may prove highly effective in the United States or Denmark, may need to be shifted to meet local needs and capacities in other places. For hardware, technology that is energy efficient, user-friendly and durable will be essential for deployment in these hardship locations. Most importantly, perhaps, technology needs to do no harm.

In November, UNICEF organized a field visit for HP, Learning Equality and Education Cannot Wait to Kampala-area sites to assess hardware and software needs in local schools, consult with government and local stakeholders, and identify suitable solutions. This included a  visit in two secondary schools where students have access to resources to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and practical skills through the Kolibri software.

The field visit confirmed the popularity of technology with students, the potential of supporting teachers in classrooms and the opportunity to complement teacher-led instructions with technology.

For this pilot, we determined that both hardware and software are needed. In this case, HP will be providing the hardware – an HP School Cloud – while Learning Equality will be providing the software – Kolibri, which has already been tested in the country and contains content that has been vetted and organized according to the Ugandan curriculum.

We believe that integrated technology can be a key component in delivering lessons, and connecting teachers with training materials to improve educational outcomes in refugee hosting districts in Uganda. Through this pilot program in Uganda, we aim to identify the right tools and technology to support larger deployments for multi-year education programmes that the Fund is helping to develop and launch in other countries affected by crisis.

PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS

To effectively deliver technology as a learning solution for the children and youth uprooted by conflict, or living in the midst of war zones, emergencies and disasters, we need to take a multi-pronged approach that leverages multiple partnerships, context-specific technology and human-based solutions, and to empower people with the training and tools they need to effectively integrate technology into mainstream education.

Partnership with HP

HP is an industry leader for education technology. The technology super giant aims to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025. For the pilot project in Uganda, HP will engage Learning Equality as a key collaborator to deploy its HP School Cloud and the Kolibri learning platform in select schools delivering education to refugee and host communities children in the spring of 2019. The project will be extended to a number of additional schools over the course of the year to benefit thousands of children.

“Education Cannot Wait is the ideal partner to identify and deploy effective, scalable education solutions to marginalized populations. Together with Learning Equality and ECW, it is HP’s intention to amplify our work in Uganda to serve refugee students around the world,” said Gus Schmedlen, Vice President for Education, HP.

To engineer sustainability into this pilot in Uganda’s refugee-hosting districts from the start, UNHCR will integrate the HP school cloud in existing initiatives and plans that align to governmental priorities and ensure all children will benefit from transformative learning labs. These initiatives already deploy the Kolibri learning platform in schools and refugee centers in Uganda and other countries.

Ensuring linkages with national EdTech stakeholders

Education Cannot Wait and UNICEF organized an “EdTech event” to bring together a wide range of Ugandan and international stakeholders including Aga Khan Foundation, Maarifasasa, Response Innovation Lab, Maendeleo Foundation, Save the Children, War Child Holland, Windle, Woman in Tech, World Bank, Xavier Project, and Yarid with an interest in improving learning outcomes through information and communications technology (ICT). It was encouraging to see other pilot programmes/approaches which also have accessibility, learning, scalability and sustainability at their core. The EdTech event took place at the Hive Colab, the first technology and innovation hub for ICT entrepreneurs in Kampala.

This was also an opportunity for representatives from HP, Learning Equality, Education Cannot Wait and the Ugandan National Curriculum Development Centre to share lessons on sustainability, curricula, teacher empowerment and community involvement, providing precious guidance for effective project formulation and to ensure linkages to the wider EdTech environment in Uganda.

DEPLOYING TECHNOLOGY AS A LEARNING SOLUTION IN CRISES SETTINGS

The key element to deploying technology in emergencies is about Connecting People with Technology.

Connecting

Not all refugee settlements benefit from 4G internet connectivity. In Uganda, this challenge is being addressed by creating local networks within the pilot sites. These work basically as an intranet to run offline server platforms like Kolibri, connect people, and ensure access to educational materials. Power – or the lack of electricity grid – is another obstacle to address to ensure connectivity. Yes, you need to power these devices and we will rely on existing solar powered systems or the grid, where available, and if not, bring solar power to schools.

Empowering People

No matter how successful one is at setting up the necessary hardware, the most important element is the human factor. You can’t just give people a computer and expect them to assimilate the new technology. The success of the pilot will lie in the users’ agency and involvement. This is why engagement with communities, and sharing lessons learned with other EdTech providers, is key for all partners involved.

Links

About the authors

Johannes Kiess is an Innovative Finance Adviser at Education Cannot Wait.

Michael Corlin is the Education Cannot Wait Country Lead for Uganda.