The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Vodafone Foundation and Safaricom today announced a partnership that will see more than 13 schools at Dadaab refuge camp, one of the world’s largest refugee camps get The Instant Network Schools to offer learning programmes to 18,000 young refugees between the ages of seven and 20 years.
The announcement was made to make the international World Teachers Day. The deal will see Safaricom provide connectivity across all the 13 solar-powered schools donated by Vodafone Foundation, while telecommunications equipment company Huawei has donated 235 tablets to the programme.
In a statement made available to the media Safaricom Director of Corporate Affairs Nzioka Waita noted that the project is aimed at ensuring all children in Dadaab refugee camp have access to quality education just like children in other parts of the country.
“We are happy to be part of this innovative project that will eventually significantly transform the lives of at least 65,000 children in Dadaab. This is a platform that will enable child refugees and teachers’ access digital educational content as well as the internet,” he said.
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.
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.”
Statistics from UNHCR indicate that as of April last year, the population in Dadaab stood at 423,496 registered refugees with 58 percent being below the age of 18 years.
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.
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.”
A total of 378 teachers in Dadaab will be trained to provide tablet-based education programmes. As part of their studies, pupils will use the technology to make contact with school children and professionals in other countries.