Four Programs Delivering Education in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States

Calla McCabe

Every year, millions of children are displaced from their homes due to conflicts.  Many of these children end up in refugee camps and end up falling behind in their education for a number of reasons including limited resources, inadequate and/or insufficient teacher instruction, language barriers, and immigration challenges.  Below are four innovative programs around the world that are determined to provide education to at risk children and children in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Tiempo de Juego develops integral social skills and life skills in youth from the most vulnerable and violent communities of Colombia through sports and other recreational activities.  Born from simple pick-up soccer games in Altos de Cazucá, a community on the outskirts of Bogotá populated primarily by desplazados, "the displaced," Tiempo de Juego aims to fill free time with meaningful activities. Tiempo de Juego operates are among the most low-income, marginalized, and violent in Colombia. Government cost-cutting measures have reduced education budgets, and as a result children spend only half of the day in school, leaving them with unstructured free time and vulnerable to recruitment by gangs or teenage pregnancy.  The model is unique in that the activities are almost completely student-run. To make the program sustainable and a true practice in community-building, Tiempo de Juego has created a pipeline to develop leaders through the program. 13-18 year olds can volunteer to become monitories, the monitors of the games, and then graduate to become actual employees of Tiempo de Juego as community managers. Read more about Tiempo de Juego here...

The Akassa Community Partnership for the Development of Education was developed in response to the poor standard of education available to local children. It implements micro projects to improve the standard of education in the community. The partnership includes the community development unions of 19 communities in the Akassa Kingdom. Akassa is a remote coastal Ijaw community in Bayelsa State which is located in the outer Niger Delta of Nigeria.  The education component of Akassa community partnership projects were motivated by a dissatisfaction with the standard of education being offered to local children. Akassa determined that projects to improve the quality of education would cost little more than $1 per child.Today, about 540 pupils attend these schools. Over 1,800 pupils have been educated in the five renovated public primary schools, while annually, over 480 students benefit from various levels of support at the secondary level. Learn more about The Akassa Community Partnership for the Development of Education here...

Building the Resilience of Youth: War Child in Sudan project has directly reached 29,456 learners and an estimated 211,330 indirect beneficiaries in West Darfur since 2005. The project targets out-of-school children and at-risk older children by increasing their access to formal and informal education opportunities in a conflict-sensitive manner.  Launched in 2005 following a study in El Geneina that revealed that displaced youth were among the most disenfranchised groups in West Darfur. These youth, with little protection, few educational or employment opportunities, and even fewer leisure activities, were at risk of becoming a “lost generation.” As war, displacement and urbanization continually heighten this risk, War Child’s education programming provides a safe learning environment and opportunities for vulnerable youth to re-enter the formal education system. War Child in Sudan implements a broad portfolio of programming in formal and informal educational settings. Read more about War Child in Sudan here...

The School-in-a Box kit is a portable classroom that can be used almost anywhere in the world. Each box kit contains school supplies and materials for 1 teacher and 40 students. The kits are meant to supply a make-shift classroom for up to three months.  These portable aluminum container are stuffed to the brim with hundreds of books and school supplies that enable children and teachers to create an instant classroom, no matter where they are. The contents of the kit are not culturally specific so that they can be used anywhere in the world. The purpose of the kit is to ensure the continuation of children's education by the first 72 hours of an emergency.  The primary objective of the School-in-a-Box is to help re-establish learning as the first step towards the restoration of normal schooling following an emergency. However, it can also be used in development situations where a country suddenly faces an influx of students and supplies are needed urgently. The School-in-a-Box Kit is on the Emergency Education list.  Learn more about School-in-a-Box here...

CEI has profiled almost 50 programs that work specifically in fragile and conflict-affected states.  To learn more about them, click here.

Photograph above courtesy of Tiempo de Juego.

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