A holistic approach to empower refugees through learning
The world is seeing unprecedented numbers of refugees and displaced populations due to conflict, disease and natural disasters. As part of its ongoing effort to address barriers to education worldwide, Education Above All (EAA) jointly with UNHCR will pilot a project that seeks to address the range of 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 both the refugee and host community.
Since a joint visit to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya in 2012 with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, EAA has partnered with UNHCR to develop a new holistic model that will empower refugee communities.
The aim of the Kakuma Project is to create an innovative programme that changes the way education is provided in humanitarian contexts. Rather than being entrenched in dependency, we are seeking to empower refugees and enable them to build a new life - both in the camp and in the communities where they will resettle.
The lessons and good practices that will result from this collaborative programme will serve to inform how refugees are supported globally.
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.
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 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.”
The project, which is centered on the concept of lifelong learning, will offer educational interventions¾ from early childhood education to vocational training and literacy classes¾that 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.
Within the Kakuma model project, Veolia, through the Veolia Foundation, will construct innovative latrines and hand washing facilities in primary and secondary schools and community centers – as well as water storage facilities to provide safe drinking water.
“Veolia has not hesitated to reply positively to the call for collaboration made by EAA to accelerate access to education,” said Patrice Fonlladosa, Executive Vice President, Veolia Middle East and Africa. Fonlladosa reaffirmed the importance of building long-term multi-stakeholder partnerships to succeed in this type of humanitarian and educational project.
The gathering of children in schools increases the risk of the accelerated spread of hygiene and sanitation related diseases. As such, addressing water and sanitation is a key issue in enabling learning interventions. The Veolia Foundation, a constant advocate of education especially in developing countries, will also work alongside EAA to educate children and communities surrounding the camp towards sanitation and hygiene.
Xavier Joseph, CEO, Veolia Gulf Countries, said: “We are extremely pleased to take part in such a prestigious and positive initiative that reflects Veolia’s commitment to building awareness and finding solutions for environmental challenges, and goes in line with our goal to empower, encourage and support tomorrow’s leaders.”
Photo credit: HHOPL
Created in May 2004, the Veolia Foundation supports non-profit community-oriented projects contributing to outreach, workforce development and environmental conservation, in France and internationally. Veolia provides emergency aid during national disasters and humanitarian crises by facilitating access to water and wastewater services, energy and waste management. Besides these crisis situations, the Foundation has supported over 1,000 development projects and conducted over 150 expertise missions.
Veolia is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 200,000 employees* worldwide, the company designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.
In 2013, Veolia supplied 94 million people with drinking water and 62 million people with wastewater service, produced 86 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 38 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE and NYSE: VE) recorded revenue of €22.3 billion* in 2013.
(*) Excluding Transdev employees and revenue currently under divestment
About the Kakuma Refugee Camp
Established in 1992 by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Kenya, the Kakuma Refugee Camp occupies approximately 12 square kilometres in northwestern Kenya. It is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, serving more than 170,000 refugees who fled from neighbouring countries due to dire circumstances.
About Education Above All
Education Above All (EAA) is a global initiative founded in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar. EAA’s aim is to build a global movement that contributes to human, social and economic development through quality education and other welfare programmes and initiatives. With a particular focus on areas affected by poverty, conflict and disaster, EAA champions the needs of children and youth and empower them to be active members of their communities. By meeting the demand for education, EAA equips them to support sustainable development and to nurture environments of peace, security, justice and prosperity. EAA is the umbrella organisation overseeing three core programmes: Educate A Child, Al Fakhoora and Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), as well as one special project, the Kakuma Project.
(Read more at www.educationaboveall.org).
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN refugee agency, was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. UNHCR safeguards the rights and well-being of refugees. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of refugees restart their lives. It also has a mandate to help people who have become forcibly displaced inside their own countries, stateless persons, returnees and asylum seekers. UNHCR is on the front lines of the world's major humanitarian crises, including Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and countless other emergencies (read more at www.unhcr.org).