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Press Release -- December 16th, 2019
Source: Vodafone Group
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Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR expand Instant Network Schools to benefit more than 500,000 young refugees

  • Vodafone becomes UNHCR’s largest corporate partner for Connected Education to support delivery of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 17.
  • Innovative digital learning programme to be rolled out across 6 countries and in up to 300 schools.
  • Initial evaluation points to positive impacts, increasing digital skills by 61% for students and 125% for teachers.
  • Vodafone and UNHCR call for others to join efforts to bring high-quality education to every child.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – 16 December 2019 – Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today announced at the Global Refugee Forum an expansion of the Instant Network Schools (INS) programme to benefit more than 500,000 refugee students.

INS is a free digital learning programme, which is transforming the lives of refugees by offering access to high-quality and localised digital educational content. Vodafone Foundation’s Instant Classroom - the equipment used for INS - is a digital ‘school in a box’ and can be set up in a matter of minutes. It includes:

  • 25 tablets for students
  • Laptop for the teacher
  • Projector
  • Speaker
  • 3G connectivity/WiFi router to connect to the internet
  • Inbuilt charging solution to recharge all tablets and laptop simultaneously
  • Cables

To date, 36 INS across eight refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan have benefited over 86,500 refugee students and 1,000 teachers. This has given them the opportunity to access a quality education and develop digital skills in some of the world’s largest and most poorly resourced refugee camps.

The expansion will see Vodafone Foundation work with UNHCR to increase the number of INS in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, moving into additional geographies by 2025, benefiting 500,000 young refugees.

Initial evaluation of the existing programme shows a positive impact on learning outcomes, including an increase in informational communications technology (ICT) literacy of 61% for students and 125% for teachers, improved confidence, motivation and academic performance. Wider analysis shows higher levels of school attendance, with examples of young people accessing tertiary education from within refugee camps for the first time.

“When I visited Kakuma refugee camp in July, I was incredibly moved by the ambition and achievements of the students at the Instant Network Schools, seeing first-hand how our technology is transforming their education and is connecting them to new opportunities from higher education to starting small businesses,” said Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group Plc.

“Our Foundation is expanding its partnership with UNHCR to bring Instant Network Schools to more than half a million young people. With four million refugee children not in school, we want to encourage other organisations to join us in taking action to ensure that refugee children and displaced communities are included in the benefits of a digital society .”

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said:

“We are very proud of our partnership with the Vodafone Foundation. Their continued commitment will help refugees in some of the most challenging environments, opening a window to the world through connected learning. Education is crucial in offering refugees the chance to rebuild their lives. This expanded partnership will help break barriers to education, allowing refugees to better shape their own futures.”

The INS programme was developed through Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR’s innovative public-private-partnership, which is now central to UNHCR’s Connected Education approach. Content delivered through the programme is localised and aligned to national curriculums, which supports the study of core subjects in the classroom, and crucially, equips young people with digital skills, and increases potential employment opportunities.

Today’s announcement will significantly increase the reach and impact of INS over the next five years, supporting UNHCR’s and governments’ inclusive approach to quality education for all. The €26 million joint investment in INS will also see Vodafone Foundation become UNHCR’s biggest corporate partner in Connected Education, a demonstration of the company’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Vodafone is calling for other corporate and development organisations to join Vodafone Foundation in supporting high-quality digital education. It is part of Vodafone Foundation’s ambition to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education.

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