Instant Network Schools: A front row seat to transformation

Nick Read at Kakuma Refugee Camp. Picture credit: Vodafone Group

Globally, 70.8 million people have been forced from their homes as a result of conflict or persecution, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, people who have had to cross borders to reach safety. Over half are under the age of 18.

Around the world, UNHCR estimates that half of the 3.5 million refugee children of primary school age do not go to school. Education is a fundamental human right, and one of the most valuable assets a refugee can have.

It helps children develop friendships, and the skills they need to support themselves and their families.

Working with UNHCR, the Vodafone Foundation’s Instant Network Schools programme provides access to technology, the internet and educational content to enhance the quality of education for students living in refugee camps t of conflict or persecution.

On The Ground

I’ve just finished a trip to Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya with UNHCR, Safaricom and the Vodafone Foundation. 

We were able to meet some of the 83,500 refugee students and 500 teachers who have benefitted from Instant Network Schools.

I’ve seen the INS programme at the head office in Paddington. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen demonstrations, and I’ve tracked the impact.

But I wanted to see it in the field, and I wanted to connect a little with the students and the teachers to understand a little bit more about the impact it was having.

Vodafone spends a lot of time investing in our local communities – we want to make a difference, we want to make an impact.

 Planning the future

The visit changed my perspective on things. Like many, I assumed that refugee camps existed to house people in times of conflict, until they were able to return home.

I’ve learned that for many that never happens. Kakuma is one of many long term camps – it has been housing refugees for 27 years, with two generations born and raised there.

Which makes our investment in education important both for Kenya and the countries the refugees have come from.

The project is truly transformational. We are equipping teachers to deliver a well-structured class, and advance the students at a pace they’re comfortable with.

It’s more energising, it’s more exciting for the students, they are more engaged, and what you’re seeing is a substantial increase in the number of people who are going to class, because of the tools that they’re being given.

We’re firmly committed to the INS programme at Vodafone and at the Vodafone Foundation – and being able to meet the people involved has helped cement that.

I met some really inspiring individuals – that I know are going to go and do great things.

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