Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal aim to make access to education more equitable for children in conflict or crisis contexts by utilizing alternative models of delivery, providing training and psycho-social support for teachers, and promoting safe learning environments.
Crisis often prevents access to education. Natural disasters, pandemics, and conﬂicts, as well as the resulting internal and cross-border displacement, can leave entire generations traumatized, uneducated, and unprepared to contribute to social and economic recovery. Children in fragile states are up to three times more likely to be out of school than those living in non-conflict contexts, and they are far more likely to drop out of primary school before completion (1, p. 61). Girls in crisis contexts face the additional dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, confinement to domestic labor, or sexual exploitation (2). Even when conflict does not disrupt access, it can affect learning. Teachers have to handle multilingual classrooms and traumas affecting displaced students. Additionally, conflict tends to exacerbate exclusions based on ethnicity, religion, or gender (1).
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of international migrants is estimated to grow to around 400 million people by 2050, and many risk being denied the opportunity to acquire skills. Education buffers future social and economic shocks and can drive stability, reconciliation, and peacebuilding; migrants’ dearth of skills will increase their vulnerability to shocks and the risks of instability across the world (3, p. 16). Education can give children the building blocks needed to rebuild their lives and, eventually, their countries (3, p. 2).
Investments in this strategy can offer alternative models of education to address the diverse needs of children affected by emergency and conflict. For example, investors’ capital could scale a project to accelerate these students’ learning or close gaps through bridging programs. Investors could also support technology-based solutions that enhance existing learning environments or create virtual learning environments.
Investments in this strategy can also ensure access to supportive learning environments by promoting safe learning sites and structures, addressing the psychological and social needs of young children and adolescents recovering from trauma, and providing protection from school-related gender-based violence.
Finally, investments in this strategy can address the distinct psycho-social and other needs of teachers working in crisis- or conflict-affected contexts through training, monitoring, and support, including support to develop strategies to manage overcrowded, mixed-age, and multilingual classrooms.
One in four of the 462 million school-aged children around the world now live in countries affected by crisis, and 75 million of them most desperately need educational support (3, p. 2). For further context:
Refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs): Displaced children face significant obstacles to learning. Only half of refugee children have access to primary education; a refugee child is five times more likely than the average child to be out of school (1, p. 61).
Girls: Refugee girls are particularly disadvantaged; there are fewer than eight refugee girls for every 10 boys in primary school and fewer than seven girls for every 10 boys in secondary school. Investments in this strategy can help address the barriers preventing refugee girls from accessing education.
Out-of-School Children: Conflict-affected countries are home to more than a third of out-of-school children, and only 23% of refugee adolescents attend secondary school (1, 5).
Teachers: Teachers and other education professionals have to meet the educational and emotional needs of children and youth in emergencies through to recovery. Investments in this strategy can provide teachers with the information, learning, and support they need to help their students build towards a more positive future.
Schools: From 2013 to 2017, there were more than 12,700 attacks on educational facilities that harmed more than 21,000 students and education personnel (1). Yet schools provide a safe space and a vital routine for children during times of major upheaval.
Children in fragile, conflict-affected countries are more than twice as likely to be out of school compared to those in countries not affected by conflict; similarly, adolescents facing conflict are more than two-thirds more likely to be out of school (6). Developing countries hosted 92% of the world’s school-age refugees in 2017 (7). Fewer than half of refugee children hosted by low-income countries access primary education, and only 9% of refugee adolescents access secondary education in these countries (5, p. 9).
More than half of the world’s out-of-school refugee children are located in just seven countries: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Turkey (2, p. 4). According to UNESCO, the sub-Saharan Africa region still has the highest out-of-school rates for all ages, 4–18 (9). In Africa, children affected by drought are less likely to complete primary school; similar impacts of drought have been found in Asia and Latin America (3).
Besides direct benefits to children’s long-term education, maintaining access to education during conflict benefits their well-being and protection and contributes to post-conflict stability and peacebuilding (10). High secondary school enrollments increase a country’s level of stability and peace and reduce crime and violence. Education enables refugees to fulfill their economic potential, as well as boosting their confidence and self-esteem (11).
Strengthens Global Peace, Security, and Governance: Education promotes peace, tolerance, mutual respect, and social cohesion. Quality education builds positive social connections and provides tools for peaceful problem-solving. In fact, equal access to education for girls and boys reduces the likelihood of violence and conflict by 37% (17).
Strengthens Resilience: Education gives children a place of safety and can reduce early marriage, child labor, and recruitment by armed groups. Schools give children stability and structure, fostering their resilience as they cope with trauma through the support of trained teachers and their peers.
Reduces Poverty and Inequality: Educating children benefits whole societies. A child whose mother is literate is 50% more likely to live past the age of five and two times as likely to attend school (8, p. 99).
Promotes Global Prosperity: Education increases earnings and boosts growth. Each additional year of schooling leads to a 10% increase in income, with even greater gains for women. Limited educational opportunities for girls cause USD 15–30 trillion lost in lifetime productivity and earnings (3).
Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal can benefit the 75 million children aged 3–18 years and living in 35 crisis-affected countries who most desperately need educational support (4, p. 10).
Investing in education in emergency contexts has economic and social benefits for that country’s population, including social cohesion and national identity (8, p. 36). Evidence suggests that each year of education reduces an adolescent boy’s risk of becoming involved in conflict by 20%, and a 10% higher-than-average enrollment rate for secondary schooling reduces the risk of war by about three percentage points (9). Providing secondary education for all girls, UNESCO estimates, would greatly reduce child marriage (by almost two-thirds) and under-18 pregnancy, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, regions which host many refugees (2, p. 43).
Education gives refugees the knowledge and skills they need to live productive, fulfilling, and independent lives. For example, every extra year in school for a refugee child in Uganda increases their income by 3% (5, p. 7).
Execution Risk: Poor access to electricity and other resources in low-income countries can present challenges for some technological solutions. Investors should make sure such solutions fit the geography or demographic to be served. Also, multilingual classrooms can pose adoption challenges for certain solutions. To mitigate this risk, solutions must center on the user, be well-suited to the implementation context, and include a plan to foster user (student or teacher) adoption in that specific context.
Evidence Risk: Some startups may lack the capacity to monitor and evaluate all of their outcome metrics, limiting investors’ ability to monitor impact. Teacher well-being can be particularly challenging to capture comprehensively. Inability to measure impact metrics or reliance on a third party to monitor progress introduces the risk of error. To mitigate that risk, investors should carefully consider the type of indicators investees provide and require realistic social impact performance metrics that better relate to the intended outcome of their solution. For recommended metrics based on evidence and best practice, see metrics section below.
External Risk: Outside factors such as trauma, language barriers, new shocks or crises, and health issues can prevent students from learning and teachers from teaching. To mitigate this risk, investors should make sure investees understand the limits of the context in which the solution will be implemented, monitoring performance and adapting as needed.
Such risks could make it difficult to reach the desired impact. In some cases, investments that do not effectively take into account risk factors and local contexts could further generate negative impacts.
The Instant Network Schools Programme, is an initiative that equips schools with internet through a satellite or mobile network connection, electricity through solar-powered batteries and a backup generator, and dynamic digital content through pre-loaded and online resources, connecting remote and isolated communities with the rest of the world. The initiative has established 36 Instant Network Schools in eight refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, benefiting over 86,000 refugee students and 1,000 teachers. The program aims to enable up to three million young refugees in countries where Vodafone operates to access a digital education by 2020. Preliminary data from an evaluation in Kenya pointed at a three-percentage-point increase in attendance rates and a 36% increase in the participation rate for primary school certificate examinations. The Instant Network School is a joint initiative of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Vodafone.
Ideas Box, developed by the NGO Libraries Without Borders together with UNHCR, has an education component and also includes additional tools and cultural resources, from books and films to cameras and graphic design software. The aim is to create a community space that enriches the experience of isolated communities. A qualitative evaluation of its deployment in two Burundian camps hosting Congolese refugees showed positive impact on measures of resilience. Since its inception, 59 Ideas Box kits have been implemented in emergency and reconstruction contexts, providing more than 850,000 refugees and displaced or vulnerable people with the means to reconnect with the world, gain self-reliance, and strengthen their children’s education.
Filmer, Deon, Halsey Rogers, Samer Al-Samarrai, Magdalena Bendini, Tara Béteille, David Evans, Märt Kivine, Shwetlena Sabarwal, Alexandria Valerio et al. World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018.
UNESCO. Migration, Displacement and Education: Building Bridges, Not Walls. Global Education Monitoring Report, 2019. Paris: UNESCO, 2019.
UNHCR. Missing Out: Refugee Education in Crisis. Geneva: UNHCR, September 2016.
UNICEF. "Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies." Briefing summary, London, UNICEF, 2016.
Nicolai, Susan, et al. Education Cannot Wait: Proposing a Fund for Education in Emergencies. London: Overseas Development Institute, 2016.
UNHCR. Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis. Geneva: UNHCR, 2016.
UNESCO. Humanitarian aid for education: why it matters and why more is needed. Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Policy Paper 21. Paris, France: UNESCO, June 2015
UNHCR. Turn the tide: refugee education in crisis. Geneva, Switzerland: UNHCR, 2018.
Steer, Liesbet, Justin W. van Fleet, Gila Sacks, Nicholas Burnett, Paul Isenman, Elizabeth King, Annababette Wils et al. The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World. New York: International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, 2016.
Omoeva, Carina, and Elizabeth Buckner. Does Horizontal Education Inequality Lead to Violent Conflict? New York: UNICEF and FHI 360, April 2015.
Save the Children. Education Under Attack in Syria. London: Save the Children, September 2015.
Bergin, Charlotte, Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, Emma Wagner, Sebastien Hine, and Lindsey Dickinson. Promising Practices in Refugee Education: Synthesis Report. London: Save the Children, 2017.
Raleigh, Clionadh, Reza Lahidji, Daniel Frederik Mandrella, Daniel Hyslop, David Hammond, Andrea Abel, and Wendy A. MacClinchy. States of Fragility 2016: Understanding Violence. Paris: OECD, November 2016.
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies. Conflict Sensitive Education. https://inee.org/collections/conflict-sensitive-education
Winthrop, Rebecca, and Jackie Kirk. "Learning for a bright future: Schooling, armed conflict, and children’s well-being." Comparative Education Review 52, no. 4 (2008): 639-661
Sommers, Marc. "Education amidst conflict: The youth challenge." PRAXIS The Fletcher Journal of Human Security32 (2009).
Omoeva, Carina, Rachel Hatch, and Wael Moussa. "The effects of armed conflict on educational attainment and inequality." Education Policy and Data Center Working Paper(2016).
Save the Children. 2016. Greece: Education Needs Assessment, May 2016. https://reliefweb.int/report/greece/greece-education-needs-assessment-may-2016
This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.
Shah, R. 2015. Norwegian Refugee Council’s Accelerated Education Responses: A Meta-Evaluation. Oslo, Norwegian Refugee CouncilAccelerated learning program in Dadaab that condenses Kenya’s eight-year curriculum into four years. The program is responsive to student needs, with multiple entry and exit points. Review showed that the program had increased access for refugee boys.
McKinney, Rachel and Caroline Keenan. Learning & Well-being in Emergencies: A three-pronged approach to improving refugee education. Washington, D.C.: Save the Children, 2016.Two-year pilot project with three key objectives: 1) To support learning in refugee education responses, 2)To improve well-being of students and teachers through integrated Social Emotional Learning (SEL) content) and 3) To better understand the potential correlation between learning outcomes and well-being.
Mendenhall, Mary. Strengthening Teacher Professional Development: Local and global communities of practice in Kakuma Refugee Kamp. 2016.Case study on teacher professional development initiative that integrates teacher training, peer coaching, and mobile mentoring.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Bringing hope in times of conflict: UNRWA Education in Emergencies programme. UNRWA, 2016.This is a case study of a UNRWA program, Education in Emergencies, which protects and promotes the education of Palestine refugee children and youth whose access to education is affected by conflict, crisis, and poverty.
Kinoti, Timothy and Lucy Philpott. Remedial Education Programme: An Innovation to Improve Girls’ Academic Performance in Refugee Contexts. WUSC/EUMC, 2011.Remedial education program that has proven effective in addressing critical systemic gaps, improving girls’ academic performance and positively influencing parental and positively influence parental and community attitudes towards girls’ education.
Wagner, Emma and Save the Children UK. Refugee Education: Is technology the solution? Save the Children UK, n.d.While there are multiple challenges in providing quality education to the world’s refugee children, the need for innovative, cost-effective and scalable educational solutions has never been more urgent. This paper highlights some promising practices in using technology to bridge the gaps, and asks if technology is the solution to providing refugees with quality education.
Abdul-Hamid, H., Patrinos, H. A., Reyes, J., Kelcey, J. and Diaz Varela, A. 2016. Learning in the Face of Adversity: The UNRWA Education Program for Palestinian Refugees. Washington, DC, World BankThis multi-method study was undertaken to better understand the reasons for success at UNRWA schools and their positive variation from comparable public schools. Econometric techniques were used to analyze international and national learning achievement data. Pedagogical practices and classroom time-on-task were observed using structured methods (Stallings model). Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) tools were used to better understand the policies and implementation strategies for school and teacher management and for monitoring and evaluation. Additionally, qualitative data were collected and analyzed in line with an education resilience conceptual framework to better uncover factors that help students develop the skills to learn despite the adversities they face.
Besedic, Jelena, Ljiljana Dosen, Tatjana Ristic, Ivan Tasic, Nina Stamenkovic. Save the Children International, Refugee Response in Serbia. Save the Children, 2016.Programme on the Move and its innovative toolkit ‘Boxes of Wonder’ provides a framework for the development and the implementation of psychosocial support (PSS) and non-formal educational activities to refugee and migrant children.
Oddy, Jessica. Time to be a Child: Play, Learning and Child-Centred Development for Children Affected by the Syrian Crisis. War Child, 2016.This is a case study of ‘Time to be a Child,’ a three-year project that will deliver play, learning and child-centered development activities to children affected by the Syrian crisis in Jordan and Lebanon.
Murwanjama, Josephine and Phyllis Mureu. Two Schools in One: Management of high enrollment in refugee secondary schools. Windle Trust Kenya, 2016.This is a case study of Two Schools in One (Kenya), an approach that uses secondary schools in an effective double shift model to accommodate more students.
Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.
Percentage of school students passing standardized tests set by a regional governance body during the reporting period.
= (Number of enrolled students who passed standardized test) / (Number of enrolled students who took standardized test)
Organizations should footnote the description of the standardized test, the threshold for passing, how many tests were taken, and other relevant details.
If more than one test is taken, organizations should report on the average of the pass rates.
Investors can use this metric to understand if the strategy is successfully reaching the desired outcome “Improved learning outcomes for students” in context of crisis and conflict.
Number of students enrolled as of the end of the reporting period, both full-time and part-time, where each discrete student is counted regardless of number of courses.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time students.
Learners should be counted if they are enrolled in primary or secondary school or the equivalent education. When calculating this indicator, each learner should be counted only once in data for the year being reported. In other words, if a learner benefits from two overlapping programs and each meets the criteria outlined here, the learner should be counted only once.
This indicator provides a sense of the overall scale of students in crisis benefitting from the education solution, and also speaks to the desired outcome “Increased enrollment & educational attainment”.
Number of female students enrolled as of the end of the reporting period, both full-time and part-time, where each discrete student is counted regardless of number of courses.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time female students.
The data would have to be gathered by schools.. Investee company could work with schools to provide that data to investors.
Investors can use this metric to understand if and how many girls the education solution is reaching. The metric speaks to the important gender lens described in this strategy.
Rate of student attendance during the reporting period.
'= 1 - [(Number of absentee days of students during the reporting period) / (Number of school days in the reporting period * School Enrollment: Total (PI2389))]
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used, including details on how attendance is tracked.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve (or not) student attendance in contexts of crisis and conflict. An increase in student attendance is an important factor to improve student learning outcomes.
Rate of teacher attendance during the reporting period.
'= 1 - [(Number of days teachers were absent during the reporting period) / (Number of working days during the reporting period * Teachers Employed (OI5896))]
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used, including details on how attendance is tracked.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve teacher attendance in contexts of crisis and conflict. An increase in teacher attendance is an important factor to improve student learning outcomes.
Percentage of students advancing from one level of schooling to the next.
'= (Number of school students enrolling in the next level of schooling for the upcoming year) / (Number of students who completed the previous level of schooling during the preceding year)
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used and any relevant details regarding the transition rate.
This metric is intended to capture the percentage of students that transition from one level to the next, for example, from primary to secondary school, or the third year of secondary school to the fourth year.
For example, if 100 students complete their final year of primary school at the end of the previous reporting period and 95 of them transition on to the first year of secondary school at the beginning of the following reporting period, the student transition rate is calculated as 95/100 = 95%.
This metric is different than Student Dropout Rate (PI9910), which captures the rate at which students dropout during the reporting period.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve students’ in crisis and conflict progression through schooling.
Percentage of a cohort of children or young people aged 3-5 years above the intended age for the last grade of each level of education who have completed that grade. The intended age for the last grade of each level of education is the age at which pupils would enter the grade if they had started school at the official primary entrance age, had studied full-time and had progressed without repeating or skipping a grade. For example, if the official age of entry into primary education is 6 years, and if primary education has 6 grades, the intended age for the last grade of primary education is 11 years. In this case, 14-16 years (11 + 3 = 14 and 11 + 5 = 16) would be the reference age group for calculation of the primary completion rate.
The number of persons in the relevant age group who have completed the last grade of the given level of education is expressed as a percentage of the total population (in the survey sample) of the same age group.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve students’ completion of schooling at the expected age group.
Number of teachers as of the end of the reporting period who have obtained training or have qualifications that meet or exceed minimum requirements of the local area.
Organizations should footnote the minimum level of qualifications required in local area.
The data would have to be gathered by schools. Investee company could work with schools to provide data to investors.
Investors can use this metric to understand if the strategy is successfully implementing trainings for teachers in the context of crisis and conflict, to improve their well-being and effectiveness.
Number of teachers who report having higher well-being at the end of the intervention relative to the beginning, by responding to standardized survey.
Number of teachers with improved well-being at post-test/number of teachers participating in well-being programming
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used.
Survey would need to be drafted or adapted from existing assessments, and the data would have to be gathered by schools. Investee company could work with schools to provide data to investors.
Investors can use this metric to understand if support/solution provided to teachers in crisis and conflict environments is improving their well-being.