The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, have today announced a partnership to bring transformative mobile-based education programmes to pupils at 13 schools in one of the world’s largest refugee camps.
In the Dadaab settlement, the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Schools, supported by UNHCR Innovation and UNHCR Education, will offer learning programmes to 18,000 young refugees between the ages of seven and 20.
Ensuring a high quality education for a population of more than 350,000 refugees in Dadaab remains a challenge for a variety of reasons, including funding constraints and a shortage of trained teachers. A total of 378 teachers in Dadaab will be trained to provide tablet-based education programmes.
Many school-age children arrive at the camp with no prior education and school enrolment remains low. UNHCR has found that, of the 279,000 children living in Dadaab, 41 per cent are enrolled in primary schools and only 8.5 per cent are in secondary education.
Six primary schools and three secondary Instant Network Schools are opening in Dadaab, as well as four vocational skills centres for teenagers and young adults. Safaricom, Vodafone’s affiliate in Kenya, is providing connectivity across all 13 solar-powered schools, while telecommunications equipment company Huawei has donated 235 tablets to the programme.
Teachers at Dadaab have been trained in a range of tablet-based education programmes, providing pupils with information they would have otherwise been unable to access because of a scarcity of education resources.
The tablets also provide pupils with a link to life outside the refugee camps. As part of their studies, pupils will use the technology to make contact with school children and professionals in other countries.
The Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR have partnered with a number of other humanitarian organisations and NGOs in Dadaab, including CARE, Islamic Relief Kenya, Lutheran World Federation, Windle Trust Kenya and the Norwegian Refugee Council. The Vodafone Foundation has also opened a further three Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Schools – two at Ajuntok in South Sudan and the other in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A further 5,000 young people will benefit from these schools.
Today’s announcement has been made ahead of the United Nations’ World Teacher’s Day on 5 October 2014 – a day to honour the teaching profession and to call for a quality education for everyone.
Vodafone Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett said: “There were 16.7 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2013 and 50 per cent of them are under the age of 18. Tablet-based learning programmes will provide many of the children in Dadaab with an unlimited information resource that they would otherwise not have had. This is another example of how Vodafone’s technology can significantly improve people’s lives – in this case providing access to life-changing skills”.
UNHCR Representative in Kenya Raouf Mazou said: “We are happy with this partnership which brings technology to our education system. Education is central in the lives of refugees since it is the most important thing that they can carry home. We are committed to ensure the success of the project.”
For further information:
In Nairobi: Teresa Ongaro | UNHCR Spokesperson | East & Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region| Tel: +254 20 422 2104 | Mobile: +254 735 337 608| Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Geneva: Olivier Delarue | Lead UNHCR Innovation | Email email@example.com | Telephone: +41 (22) 739 8499
Vodafone Group Media Relations
About UNHCR and Innovation
UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.
UNHCR Innovation is a multi-departmental initiative launched within the agency to find new ways of working together with refugee communities to design innovative solutions to the challenges they face. UNHCR’s Education Strategy 2012-2016 strives to increase access to quality education programmes for refugees of all ages, engaging a broad network of partners to expand opportunities through new and creative approaches.
About Vodafone Foundation
The Vodafone Foundation’s Mobile for Good programme combines Vodafone’s charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world. Globally, the Vodafone Foundation supports projects that are focused on delivering public benefit through the use of mobile technology across the areas of health, education and disaster relief. The Vodafone Foundation invests in the communities in which Vodafone operates and is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. The Vodafone Foundation is a UK registered charity, registered charity number 10989625.