Posted on November 06, 2014

As part of its ongoing effort to address barriers to education worldwide, Education Above All (EAA) today announced with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, the launch of a four-year, holistic education pilot project in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Education Above All, took part in the launch and witnessed the signing between the partners.

During the launch, Her Highness spoke of her visit to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in October 2012, when she saw firsthand the scope and scale of education challenges facing displaced children and their families, and the pressure on aid in a protracted refugee situation. Following the visit, Her Highness worked with UNHCR to establish a model education programme in Kakuma. The EAA Kakuma Project results fromtwo years of development and collaboration with private and public sector stakeholders.

Her Highness said: “We are bringing together different sectors and partners to work together for the first time in a holistic way, with education at the core. The goal is to use education to help the refugees develop the confidence to build their futures and be productive members of the community, whether it is in Kakuma, in their homeland or somewhere else.”

Working closely with UNHCR (the UN’s refugee agency) and the Kenyan Government, the EAA Kakuma Project will seek to address all of the factors that currently prevent refugee camp residents from receiving an education—such as health and nutrition, livelihood, food security, water and sanitation and energy—effecting changes that will positively impact the community as a whole. It is estimated that the project will reach more than 70,000 individuals.  In addition to targeting refugees, the project also seeks to promote the education and development of the surrounding Kenyan host community. The launch took place on the sidelines of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, where EAA and its partners attended and signed the agreement.

Leonardo Pinheiro, Director of Strategy, Policy and Research for EAA, said: “The Kakuma Project represents an innovative approach to providing education in a conflict-affected community. Not a relief effort, the EAA Kakuma Project focuses on improving camp infrastructure and providing educational opportunities to residents of all ages in order to give them the confidence, skills and knowledge necessary for self-reliance. Together with our partners, EAA seeks to give the residents of the Kakuma Refugee Camp the tools and agency they need to create a better future for themselves.”

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Commenting on the project, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner Janet Lim said: “Education is often a vital lifeline to a future for a refugee. It’s a crucial part of restoring hope and purpose for people living in incredibly difficult circumstances. We’re both grateful for and excited to see this project taking off.” EAA, which is funding the project, will coordinate the efforts of a wide range of industry partners, including experts in construction, project management, solar technology, sports, and water and sanitation, to create a multi-sector ecosystem conducive to the provision and sustainability of quality education.

The project, which is centered on the concept of lifelong learning, will offer educational interventions from early childhood education to vocational training and literacy classes that are designed to meet the learning needs of each individual regardless of age, background or special need. The project will also feature peace education programmes, sports and extra-curricular activities to benefit both refugees and Kenyan nationals in the surrounding community, further solidifying peaceful coexistence and enhancing protection in the region.

UNHCR Representative in Kenya, Raouf Mazou, said that:“Addressing education in a comprehensive manner goes beyond having children attend schools. It aims at ensuring that learners access knowledge in good health and nutrition status and remain on a lifelong learning path. The ultimate purpose being to support self-reliance and nurture talent while in exile or in preparation for any durable solution.”

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