Refugee education in Kenya: education for a peaceful and sustainable future

Refugee education in Kenya: education for a peaceful and sustainable future

Benefitting the education of 30,000 Kenyan school age children in refugee camps

This article discusses the aims and level of success of two programmes piloted in Kenyan refugee camps aiming to enrich education: an environmental education, and a peace education programme. Some of the projects aims were to:

  • develop a programme of skills, values, concepts and understandings which are structured to meet the needs of the ethnically/educationally/gender/age diverse client group
  • strengthen/reinforce the conflict resolution activities being undertaken by refugees in the camps, and any other initiatives related to peace education
  • develop skills such as communication, assertiveness, co-operation, critical thinking, and conflict resolution
  • strengthen existing educational and environmental initiatives by UNHCR and its implementing partners

Lessons learned:

  • environmental education and peace education are processes and not time-specific activities
  • refugee educators and communities should be involved in the early design phase for each country programme
  • formal and non-formal approaches should be harmonised: using a 'whole community' approach, when possible, and involving many community groups and events
  • activities should be linked to relevant ongoing projects e.g. environmental care, newsletters
  • activities can be diffused into existing school subjects (as attempted for environmental education project) and/or given separate time periods and teachers to maximise impact (as in peace education pilot project)
  • in-service teacher training in use of exploratory/participatory methods for these programmes can reinforce other in-service training in methodology
  • the largest costs are those of start up (the employment of expert staff/ consultants to work through the various stages from participatory research to the development of materials, training of teachers and trainers and so on). Apart from start up costs, there will be some recurrent costs after mainstreaming. These should be integrated into normal education, environmental and other project budgets. Ongoing dedicated financial and specialist support of a modest nature, if available, will help ensure the continued development of these programmes.

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