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Non-formal education program: An innovation to build and nurture youth-centred creativity, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership in refugee contexts: Relief International

Thu, March 29, 1:15 to 2:45pm, Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico, Floor: Lobby Floor, Room B


134,000 of the 1.3 million Syrians in Jordan live in Azraq and Za'atari refugee camps. Over 60% of this camp population is under 25 and many have an incomplete education. Forced to make the dangerous journey to flee the conflict in Syria, young people face an uncertain future in the camps.

With the support of UNICEF Jordan, Relief International (RI) has been providing integrated non-formal education support, utilising the Makani approach , to in and out-of-school Syrian refugee children and young people in the two camps since 2013. Makani means "My Space" in Arabic and the concept offers a comprehensive approach (I am safe, I learn, I connect) to ensure that vulnerable girls, boys, men and women have access to quality services: education, skills and capacity building programmes and psychosocial support.

This case study explores a new component introduced to the Makani model in August 2016 through the lens of Syrian youth researching, designing, and implementing solutions to everyday challenges they face. The Social Innovation Labs (SIL) target youth, male and female, aged 14 - 18. Young people in Za'atari and Azraq have so far experienced the dichotomy of being treated as children (excluded from decision-making over their own lives, within the Community, no voice) yet having to take on adult responsibilities (getting married, going to work, dropping out of school). SIL are creative safe spaces for these youth to work together to identify and prioritise social issues affecting them and their communities. The approach directly empowers this future generation of leaders which has a hugely positive impact on their contribution to and position in the community, both current and future. The aim of the SIL is to develop and nurture potential, innovation, and hope amongst the future generation of leaders, as well as to provide opportunities for youth to make positive contributions to society now.
The SIL concept is based on user-centred design thinking. This means that youth and parents have been, and continue to be, consulted at every stage of the programme. For example, when the SIL idea was first conceived, the initial step was to go to the refugee camps and discuss with different groups what their issues were and how these might best be addressed. The programme design was then based on this consultation and continues to be reviewed and adapted according to regular feedback. This is also reflected in the projects SIL participants undertake, with community consultation and review being a significant component. Projects emerging from SIL are highly innovative and examples to-date include a solar powered oven and a robot made out of recycled materials that welcomes students to school (using Bluetooth technology). More efficient answers to meet growing social needs in refugee camps are being identified by SIL participants.

Key lessons emerging from the programme include the fact that young people have the ability to look at old problems in new ways and are uniquely equipped to change the world. The continuous consultation process has been key in harnessing this ability, both in ensuring that the training content is relevant, engaging and challenging for youth, as well as supporting them to build up their own consultation and analysis skills during innovation project design and implementation phases. Finally, the participants' energy and idealism propel them to take risks and think in innovative, path-breaking ways. A key learning that has supported them to thrive and expand their work has been the development of a support system that connects them to potential non-governmental, public, and private stakeholders to scale up and scale out project ideas beyond their own community space.

Teachers College Columbia
Teachers for Teachers: competency-based, continuous teacher professional development for refugee teachers in Kakuma, Kenya

Speakers: Mary Mendenhall, Ed.D. & Jihae Cha, Teachers College Columbia

Teachers are at the heart of learning and yet receive limited support in refugee contexts. In response to this Teachers for Teachers provides competency-based, continuous teacher professional development. It is an integrated professional development model that combines teacher training, peer coaching and mobile mentoring.

Teachers for Teachers provides the knowledge and skills necessary for teachers to make their classrooms protective, healing and learning environments.

The training model consists of two tracks and utilizes the Training Pack for Primary School Teachers in Crisis Contexts: (1) a short-term training conducted over a period of four days, consisting of 12 sessions in 23 hours; and (2) a long-term training that runs over several months, consisting of 18 sessions and 60 hours. Training takes place in the form of workshops where international and local staff lead in-person training sessions with cohorts of ideally 25-30 teachers. Topics for both training schedules include: Teacher's Role and Well-being; Child Protection, Well-being and Inclusion; Pedagogy; and Curriculum and Planning. Trainings are interactive, practical, and draw on local expertise in the Kakuma context.

Teachers who participated in the Teachers for Teachers programme reported better preparation, higher confidence, a stronger sense of purpose-not just as educators, but also as advocates for child protection and positive discipline-and that they were more aware of useful practices that can be used in their classrooms.


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