Edtech for Learning in Emergencies and Displaced Settings

Having some success with simple mobile phones for monitoring the work of volunteers in Tanzania -it is good to see the explosion of possibilities for using mobile technologies, particularly for isolated and rural contexts.

[REVIEW] Edtech for Learning in Emergencies and Displaced Settings
Michaelle Tauson and Luke Stannard, Save the Children

The purpose of this report is to build an understanding of ‘what works’ in educational technology (EdTech) to ensure that children can learn in crisis or displaced settings. The field of EdTech is vast, and has influenced almost every facet of modern educational delivery. This report will focus on ‘child facing’ EdTech, which refers to technology – both software and hardware – designed directly for use by the child or by a teacher, parent, or facilitator working with a child.

Overall, this report amasses evidence to develop a more nuanced understanding of what is required to implement effective and ethical EdTech programmes that lead to children learning, asking the research question: How can the utilisation of EdTech (at home or at school) for teaching and learning best facilitate the learning process of children in crisis-affected settings?

Click to read a blog post about this resource and download this resource.

TRAINING: Managing Gender-Based Violence Programmes in Emergencies: E-Learning Companion Guide

I have been working in Tanzania and some of the reports of gender based violence are really quite unbelievable. Girls  may be married early, be abused and end up pregnant  and leaving school, be caned for arriving late at school and the list goes on.

This free e-learning course supports our work when managing gender based violence programmes -particularly in emergencies.

This is brought to our attention through the INEE newsletter

TRAINING: Managing Gender-Based Violence Programmes in Emergencies: E-Learning Companion Guide.


UNFPA has launched a companion guide to its free e-learning course for professionals who are working to address Gender Based Violence in humanitarian contexts.


The e-learning course uses problems that practitioners currently face and case scenarios from real-life humanitarian contexts to guide learning. Integrated throughout the modules are videos, learning activities and quizzes that both engage the learner, and support participants’ varying learning styles. The new companion guide not only covers all of the content in the e-learning, but also provides new case studies, sample tools, best practices, and activities.


For more information, click here


World Mental Health Day

The theme of this World Mental Health Day, Monday 10 October 2011, is “Investing in Mental Health.” Financial and human resources allocated for mental health are largely inadequate, especially in contexts of emergencies and post-crisis reconstruction. According to the UN Secretary General, “We cannot expect improvement in global mental health statistics unless we increase financial and other support for promoting mental health and providing adequate services to those who need them.”


Photo courtesy of the International Rescue Committee

This month, INEE has launched a Thematic Spotlight on Psychosocial Support around World Mental Health Day to promote dialogue on mental health and psychosocial support through education in emergencies and post-crisis recovery. Children and youth are deeply affected by loss and trauma that can be brought on or exacerbated by natural disasters, armed conflict and poverty. Lack of perceived support from parents, classmates and teachers have shown an association with more post-traumatic stress and lower school performance. Conversely, psychosocial protection may be offered in schools through opportunities for self-expression, the expansion of social networks and access to structure and regular routines. By placing children in the social role of learners, education gives children a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Resources collected and collated by INEE

BRIEF: INEE Thematic Issue Brief: Psychosocial Support

This brief summarises the mainstreaming of psychosocial well-being in the INEE Minimum Standards Handbook.


TOOL: Guidance Note for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: Haiti Earthquake Emergency Response, Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2010.

This guidance is based on the IASC Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Guidelines in Emergency Settings and highlights those aspects of the Guidelines that are particularly relevant for the current response in Haiti. It also draws on knowledge and experiences of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) responses in previous emergencies, including the 2004 tsunami response and the 2009 Gaza crisis.


TOOL: Six Orientations Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies, Nancy Baron, IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, January 2010.

This tool provides six sample Orientation Seminars for WASH, food security, education, donors, media, and general aid workers. It draws upon the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. The design follows six parts: 1. Assessment 2.Goals 3.Seminar Step-by-step 4.Monitoring of learning during the seminar 5.Evaluation and 6.Reading and Handouts.


TOOL: Orientation for Education Staff on Psychosocial Support and EducationNancy Baron, IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, January 2010.

This tool is an example of an Orientation Seminar for members of the Education Cluster and/or other education actors. It draws upon the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, in particular the Education Action Sheet.


TOOL: Learning Spaces and School Facilities, Extracted from UNESCO IIEP’s Guidebook for Planning Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction, 2010.
This chapter contains a series of strategies to ensure access to safe learning spaces to provide for children’s daily basic needs during school hours as well as an excerpt of the Immediately, Sooner, Later Matrix of Response focused on site selection, shelter and furniture.


TOOL: Psychosocial Support to Learners, Extracted from UNESCO IIEP’s Guidebook for Planning Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction, 2010.

This chapter contains a summary of suggested strategies for providing psychosocial support to learners and guidance for implementing the suggested strategies (p. 113-19), a matrix of symptoms of distress (p. 120), and a series of best practices in providing psychosocial support (p. 121).


PRESENTATION: Psychosocial Support in EiE Transition: A View From UNICEF Programs in Iraq, Jordan & Sudan, Mike Wells, Global Consultation, 2009.

This presentation provides an overview of ISAC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial support on Emergencies Settings, School-based Program exemplars-UNICEF/Iraq, UNICEF/Jordan and UNICEF/Sudan and presents challenges and opportunities.


TOOLChild Psychosocial Distress Screener [CPDS], HealthNet TPO, 2008.
The CPDS is a multi-source instrument that assesses non-specific child psychosocial distress and the likelihood of need for psychosocial support/care. The instrument is developed as a primary screener in low-and middle-income settings, for children between 8 and 14 years old. The instrument has been used as a screener for a classroom-based psychosocial intervention (CBI), which in turn was part of a larger psychosocial care package.


PAPER: Children and the Sphere standard on mental and social aspects of health, Jodi Morris, Mark van Ommeren, Myron Belfer, Shekhar Saxena and Benedetto Saraceno, 2007.
This paper offers a child-focused review of the evidence for each of the interventions described as indicators for the Sphere standard on mental and social aspects of health. It suggests some, but limited, support for each of them.


TOOL: Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, IASC, 2007.

The IASC Guidelines enable humanitarian actors to plan, establish and coordinate a set of minimum multi-sectoral responses to protect and improve people’s mental health and psychosocial well-being in the midst of an emergency. The Guidelines offer essential advice on how to facilitate an integrated approach to address the most urgent mental health and psychosocial issues in emergency situations. Download the accompanying poster, here. The Guidelines are also available in  Arabic  |  French  | Nepali  |  Spanish 


TOOL: Eliminating Violence Against Children , UNICEF, 2007.
This handbook is designed to promote active and effective follow-up by parliaments and parliamentarians throughout the world to the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children. The ultimate goal of this handbook is to move States rapidly towards the elimination of all forms of violence against children.


TOOL: A Toolkit on Positive Discipline: with Particular Emphasis on South & Central Asia, Save the Children, 2007.

This toolkit was developed by a regional group of experienced people working to end physical and humiliating punishment. This chapter looks at the complex matrix of power relations, violence and abuse that underline physical and psychological punishments and presents a series of arguments for ending physical and psychological punishment.


REPORT: Where the Heart Is: Meeting the psychosocial needs of young children in the context of HIV/AIDS, Linda Richter, Geoff Foster and Lorraine Sherr, Bernard van Leer Foundation,2006.

This report is an output of a series of workshops on psychosocial support held in 2004-2005 by the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the Coalition on Children Affected by AIDS. The authors discuss the issues surrounding psychosocial care and support for children made vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and make recommendations for future priorities and programming directions.


TOOL: Creating Healing Classrooms: Tools for Teachers & Teacher Educators, International Rescue Committee, Child and Youth Protection and Development Unit, 2006.

This document is a collection of some of the tools and ideas behind the innovations in teacher support and development that have been created and piloted through the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Healing Classrooms Initiative. It is intended to serve as a resource for IRC staff working to improve their programs related to teacher support and development, as well as education program and policy makers in other agencies and organizations.


PAPER: Stressors, Supports and the Social Ecology of Displacement: Psychosocial Dimensions of an EmergencyTheresa Stichick Betancourt, 2005.

This study explored the psychosocial benefits of an emergency education intervention serving adolescents displaced by the war in Chechnya. It set out to describe key stressors and sources of social support available to youth served by the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) emergency education program.


TOOL: Teacher Training: Psychosocial Support, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), 2005.
This module looks at the role of schools and teachers in understanding and responding to the psychosocial needs of traumatised children. This includes information on guidance and counseling of children.


REPORT: Education for All in the Conflict Zones of Uganda, Martha Bragin, 2004.
This report, which targets CBOs, NGOs, social workers, and policymakers, proposes a way forward to achieve Education For All (EFA) in war-affected areas through a continuum strategy of more effective education. Sections of interest include pp. 34-50, which contains 16 handouts for teachers and community workers on “Basic Concepts in Psychosocial Work with Children Affected by Armed Conflict” and pp. 25-33 which contains a guide for focus groups on “Learning about community concepts of child development and well being.”


TOOL: Evaluating the Psycho-Social Environment of Your School, FRESH Tools for Effective School Health, UNESCO, 2004.
This tool contains a Psychosocial Environment Profile questionnaire, developed by the World Health Organization, to evaluate the extent to which a school’s environment contributes to the social and emotional well-being of its students and staff. It includes instructions for scoring the questionnaire, and for using the findings to plan and undertake corrective actions.


BRIEF: Safe Spaces, Extracted from Save the Children’s Education in Emergencies Toolkit, 2003

This brief provides a definition of safe spaces and strategies for ensuring a safe school building (community responsibility, classrooms, furniture, drinking water, latrines), safety around the school (routes to and from school, UXOs, sanitation, recreation space) and in the school (food for education, health promotion and care, walls and décor) and in the classroom, in terms of avoiding politicisation of what is taught and in the way a teacher disciplines the students.

For those working in emergencies – Global launch of four major INEE tools!

Those working for education in times of crisis and emergency need all the help they can get -and often very quickly. Four tools are being launched and information about this global launch, as well as the regional and virtual launch events is on the INEE website: www.ineesite.org/launches2010.

The four new tools which  have been developed by hugely committed groups of individuals working across agencies, disciplines and locations. The immense amount of work and expertise that these documents represent is a clear reflection of the unique community that INEE represents.

INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery
The INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery express a commitment that all individuals – children, youth and adults – have a right to education. The standards articulate the minimum level of educational quality and access in emergencies through to recovery. They can be used as a capacity-building and training tool for humanitarian agencies, governments and affected populations to enhance the effectiveness and quality of their educational assistance. They help to enhance accountability and predictability among humanitarian actors and improve coordination among partners, including education authorities. The INEE Minimum Standards are founded on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Dakar 2000 Education for All goals, and the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter.

INEE Secretariat and Working Group on Minimum Standards facilitated a highly consultative process that engaged national authorities, practitioners, policy-makers, academics and other educators around the world to develop the Minimum Standards in 2003-2004 and to update them in 2009-2010. The updated 2010 edition of the INEE Minimum Standards Handbook:

  • reflects recent developments in the field of education in emergencies
  • incorporates the experience and good practices of the users of the Handbook
  • is more user-friendly than the 2004 edition of the Handbook.

The 2010 edition of the Handbook is currently available in English and French and will soon be translated in Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, and other languages. To request a hardcopy of the document, please email materials@ineesite.org with your name, address, and the number of copies requested. For more information about the update process, and for details of what is new in this edition, please see the INEE website here.

INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning

The INEE Teaching and Learning Guidance Notes provide a framework to identify and address critical teaching and learning issues to ensure all people the right to quality and safe education in emergencies through to recovery. Building on the INEE Minimum Standards, the Teaching and Learning Guidance Notes articulate evidence-based good practice on critical issues related to:

  • curricula adaptation and development;
  • teacher training, professional development and support;
  • instruction and learning processes;
  • the assessment of learning outcomes.

Accompanying the Guidance Notes is a Resource Pack of vetted resources, including sample tools, teaching materials and case studies, which can be used to adapt the good practices within the Guidance Notes to one’s specific context.

The good practices contained within these Guidance Notes are designed to help governments, NGOs, UN agencies, and other education stakeholders plan and implement high quality education programmes. While progress has been made in recent years to ensure that all children and youth affected by crisis have access to educational opportunities, the content of what is taught, the teacher training and teaching methodologies, and the evaluation of learning outcomes are too often inadequately addressed. The Guidance Notes reiterate the importance of focusing on learners, learning outcomes, and access issues and provide guidance to help achieve the quality goals of EFA by promoting quality education that indicates measurable learning achievements for learners of all ages, but particularly children and adolescents.

The INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning is currently available in English. To request a hardcopy of the document, please email materials@ineesite.org with your name, address, and the number of copies requested. For more information about the process to develop this tool, please go to www.ineesite.org/teachinglearning

INEE Reference Guide on External Education Financing

Developed by the INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility, theINEE Reference Guide on External Education Financing is a resource that explains donor education funding strategies and mechanisms. It focuses on external education financing in low-income countries, including those in fragile situations (i.e. crisis, post-crisis or the risk of crisis associated with conflict, natural disaster or challenges to government legitimacy) in which governments typically face challenges in delivering core public services, including education. The Reference Guide is organized in three parts, which provide:

  • An exploration of how donors view the education needs of low-income countries and fragile situations, and a review of donor goals and strategies in the education sector, as well as “good donor practice”;
  • A overview of the variety of organisations that fund and deliver education;
  • A summary of the principle funding mechanisms for education, their objectives, how they are funded and how they work.

A range of brief case studies and additional resources and reading are also included in the annexes of the document. The Reference Guide is available in English and French, and will soon be available in Arabic and Spanish. You can request hardcopies of the Reference Guide by emailingmaterials@ineesite.org with your name, address, and the number of copies requested. You can access much more information about the document on the INEE website here


INEE Pocket Guide to Gender With the input of many INEE members, the INEE Gender Task Team has developed this quick INEE Pocket Guide to Gender to help practitioners make sure that education as part of emergency preparedness, response and recovery is gender-responsive and meets the rights and needs of all girls and boys, women and men affected by crisis.

The INEE Pocket Guide to Gender outlines useful principles for a gender-responsive approach to guide all education programming, and provides responses to some of the most common misconceptions and arguments against gender mainstreaming in the education sector. It then gives concrete strategies and actions for putting gender equality into practice in the major domains of education. Finally, key gender terms and a selection of resources are listed at the end of the Guide.

The INEE Pocket Guide to Gender complements the INEE Minimum Standards for Education and the IASC Gender Handbook, and is intended for anyone working to provide, manage, or support education services as part of emergency preparedness, response or recovery.

Click here to download the INEE Pocket Guide to Gender – Gender Equality in and through Education. You can also order hard copies of the pocket guide, which will be available from early July. To request hard copies please email materials@ineesite.org with your name, address, and the number of copies requested. Please click here to access the INEE Gender Task Team webpage for more relevant tools, resources and training materials.

Education under attack? Some new reports…

Education under attack? Some new reports found in the latest INEE newsletter:

Education under Attack 2010
This document, the second global report on the subject, was released this month. The first report from 2007 was seminal in drawing attention to this crime against international humanitarian and human rights law. The new report documents the trends of attacks since 2007, highlighting a tragic rise in violent attacks over the past few years:

  • The number of attacks on schools, students and staff nearly tripled in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008, up from 242 to 670;
  • In Iraq, 71 academics, two education officials and 37 students were killed in assassinations and targeted bombings between 2007 and 2009.
  • In Colombia, 90 teachers were murdered from 2006 to 2008.
  • In Pakistan, 356 schools were destroyed or damaged in one small region at the centre of the battle between the army and the Taliban;
  • In India, nearly 300 schools were reportedly blown up by Maoist rebels between 2006 and 2009;
  • In Georgia, 127 education institutions were destroyed or damaged in the conflict that took place in August 2008;
  • In Gaza, more than 300 kindergarten, school and university buildings were damaged, some of them severely, in the three weeks of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead spanning 2008-9.

The global report defines the scope of the issue, discusses challenges of data collection and analyses the motives behind the attacks. The report also documents some of the known short- and long-term impacts of attacks on affected communities and education systems as well as some of the prevention and protection measures that have been undertaken. Finally, the report examines the response to these attacks in terms of national and international monitoring and reporting, including combating legal impunity, and makes a series of recommendations for future action including, among others:

  • International support should be given to produce comprehensive guidelines on the application of humanitarian law to the protection of education buildings, students and personnel; and on the measures that states must take to protect education systems.
  • Recognizing the limited attention paid to attacks on schools by the current Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Children and Armed Conflict, the Security Council should demonstrate its commitment to the right to education by establishing attacks on schools as a trigger violation for UN Security Council listing of parties committing violations against children in armed conflict, requiring monitoring and reporting and time-bound action plans.
  • The international community, UN agencies and NGOs should devise strategies and campaigns to promote and fund inclusive, good-quality, learner-centred education in conflict-affected countries and establish respect for schools as sanctuaries or zones of peace.
  • Deeper research is needed into the extent and impact of attacks on education, particularly the medium and long-term impact on education systems, but also the impact on development, conflict and fragility;
  • UN agencies, NGOs and teacher unions should campaign for international solidarity with targeted groups and institutions and press for human rights instruments to be invoked to punish the perpetrators of attacks on education.
  • Education organizations should engage with the media to encourage coverage of attacks and their impact in order to improve accountability and response to attacks. This should include coverage of the long-term impact of attacks on education, education systems and efforts to achieve Education for All.

The study is dedicated to the memories of two colleagues – Dr Jackie Kirk and Ms. Perseveranda So who were both killed while working to ensure the right to education for children and youth affected by crisis.

Download the full study here.

Protecting Education from Attack: A State-of-the-Art Review
This accompanying publication presents key discussion points and 13 papers written by researchers and practitioners active in the field of protecting education from attack. The review also includes findings from an expert seminar held in Paris last year. The volume takes critical stock of knowledge on prevention and response with respect to both international law and interventions on the ground. Essays go into depth on particular elements of this phenomenon, including attacks on higher education communities and attacks against humanitarian aid workers. Several papers also deal with the debates surrounding the issue of applying and potentially strengthening the international legal provisions relating to these criminal acts.

Download the full review here.

A brochure detailing recommendations from the expert seminar is available here: ArabicEnglish;FrenchSpanish.
Other Resources
A number of resources from other organizations working on this issue are listed in the last listserv message, available here.
A short video of the author of Education Under Attack 2010, Brendan O’Malley, and the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, speaking at the launch of the publications in New York earlier this month is available here.

If you would like to become involved with the work UNESCO is helping to coordinate on this issue of Protecting Education from Attack, please email protectingeducation@unesco.org to be contacted as this important work moves forward.

INEE – New Gender-Responsive Research

From INEE website

In August 2009, to mark a year since the death of Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Kirk, INEE launched a Commemorative Competition to honour her work as the convener of the INEE Gender Task Team and more broadly within the field as the leading gender and education in emergencies expert (read the Call for Papers here).

The competition sought to identify academic papers and practitioner-authored case studies that documented innovative gender-responsive research, policy or practice in the field of education in emergencies. From the strong response of members and other partners INEE developed a shortlist of seven papers, from which a selection committee made up of gender specialists from the INEE Gender Task Team and the INEE Secretariat anonymously selected 2 winners:

Effects of teacher training for refugee women in West Africa: Fostering agents of change in schools and society? By Susan Shepler and Sharyn Routh
Effects of teacher training for refugee women in West Africa: Fostering agents of change in schools and society, draws data from an innovative research project tracing former refugee teachers who received teacher training from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) over a seventeen year long education program in refugee camps in Guinea (1991-2008). The research traced repatriated refugee teachers who had returned to their homes in Sierra Leone and Liberia in an effort to determine the effects of the training they received -particularly whether they were still working as teachers in their post-repatriation lives, or whether they had made use of their training in other ways. Although the research in question focused on all of the former IRC teachers who the research team could trace, the present paper is about the female teachers and their specific situations. Focusing on the women’s responses yields gender-specific conclusions about structural barriers to institutional and societal change in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Education and Emergency: Women in post-2001 Afghanistan By Eva Sajoo
This paper examines the potential significance of investing in female education in the fragile and frequently violent context of post-invasion Afghanistan.  Recent and chronic challenges to female education are examined through the lens of transitional priorities.  The economic and social benefits promised by human capital theory and their limitations in Afghanistan are considered, alongside arguments emerging from Amartya Sen’s capability approach. Beyond economics and politics however, the criterion of basic human capabilities provides a measure of the nature of the society being built – in terms of the ethical demand that no group be denied the capacity to exercise agency. In sum, this paper contends that prioritizing female access to education in transitional Afghanistan, for all the pragmatic and attitudinal obstacles, is a critical choice for the maturation of civic and economic development.

The winning papers are available on a dedicated webpage, along with the five finalists:

INEE would like to thank all those who submitted papers, and hope to be able to organize a similar competition in 2010, so stay tuned for further opportunities to continue the work that Jackie pioneered with INEE. Pending permission from the authors, some case studies may be developed from the final papers for use in the upcoming Gender Pocket Guide, which is currently being developed by INEE and the IASC Education Cluster with technical support from a GenCap secondment. The Gender Pocket Guide would not offer nearly as many comprehensive or effective strategies without Jackie’s work, and is a direct reflection of her profound contributions to the field.

Get Involved with the INEE Gender Task Team
One immediate way to share your experience relating to education and gender in crisis contexts is to get involved with the INEE Gender Task Team in 2010 in order to support gender mainstreaming and attention to gender equality in and through education in emergencies, post-crisis and contexts of fragility.  You can learn more about the work of the Team here: www.ineesite.org/gender. The Gender Task Team is open to any INEE member interested in working towards gender equality in and through education in emergencies through collaborative advocacy, tool development and research–simply email network@ineesite.org for more information.

Moving Toward Free Primary Education – Policy Issues and Implementation Challenges -UNICEF report

In the INEE newsletter a new report was listed:

Moving Toward Free Primary Education – Policy Issues and Implementation Challenges (UNICEF)

This report, published within the framework of UNICEF’s Division of Policy and Planning Social and Economic Policy Working Papers, is the third study in the series of SFAI (School Fee Abolition Initiative) publications and is the result of a collaborative effort between UNICEF, the World Bank and the EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI). Recognizing that school fee abolition is a bold and complex undertaking, it discusses how countries have addressed policy issues and implementation challenges. The study examines the experiences of 32 partner countries in the EFA FTI as of 2007, revealing a variety of strategies and impacts. It concludes by articulating questions for future consideration, including the sustainability of school fee abolition policies within the resource constrained environments resulting from the global economic crisis.

The report states that school fee abolition policies, and other strategies to support poor households in coping with education cost-barriers, are key to reaching out-of-school children and to sustain and accelerate progress towards MDG2. UNICEF plans to strengthen its engagement on the issue through an enhanced knowledge base, technical support to countries, South-South exchanges and intensified policy dialogue. A questionnaire will be sent out to countries in mid-January 2010 with a view to developing a global data-base on cost-barriers to education and of monitoring status, needs and programs more systematically as well as engaging in evidence-based advocacy.

For access to the full report, please click here.

To request a hard copy of the report, please contact the Education Section at safi@unicef.org.

And a second UNICEF report

Providing education to conflict-affected children in the remote regions of Central African Republic (UNICEF)

In an article for UNICEF, Daniel Dickinson discusses the creation of new schools deep in the “bush” of the Central African Republic, amidst years of violence:

After years of conflict in the rural north of Central African Republic, dozens of simple ‘bush schools’ are helping many children displaced by the fighting to return to full-time education. For many, it is the only chance they have to study.

It may not look like much, the rickety wooden structure with a thatched roof and open sides, but for its 70 pupils, the Martin Luther school in in the dusty scrubland of Bocaranga – in the far north-west corner of the Central African Republic – offers the best possibility to move forward following years of conflict.

Many of the pupils attending these schools were forced to flee their homes due to the conflict between rebel groups and government forces, and are now living in informal settlements around towns like Bocaranga.

Ms. Poukou is one of around a hundred such trained parents – called ‘ma?tre parents’ – in the area, complimented by only seven fully qualified teachers that have been provided by the Government. The harsh living conditions, the remoteness of Bocaranga and the huge needs of the local population make it difficult to attract teachers here.

Set up by UNICEF and funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), these schools represent more than just a place for children to study.  According to Muriel Cornelis, the Head of the ECHO in Central African Republic, in emergency situations schools provide people with access to basic services like safe drinking water, healthcare and protection. “For many of the children attending bush schools this is a positive step towards a normal life,” says Cornelis.

For access to the full article, please click here.