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UNHCR and Vodafone bring tablet-based learning to people in Dadaab refugee camp

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The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone's philanthropic arm, have announced a partnership to bring mobile based education programmes to pupils at 13 schools in one of the world's largest refugee camps.

In the Dadaab settlement, the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Schools, supported by UNHCR Innovation and UNHCR Education, will offer learning programmes to 18,000 young refugees between the ages of seven and 20.

Ensuring education for a population of more than 350,000 refugees in Dadaab remains a challenge for a variety of reasons, including funding constraints and a shortage of trained teachers. A total of 378 teachers in Dadaab will be trained to provide tablet-based education programmes.

Many school-age children arrive at the camp with no prior education and school enrolment remains low. UNHCR has found that, of the 279,000 children living in Dadaab, 41 per cent are enrolled in primary schools and only 8.5 per cent are in secondary education.

Six primary schools and three secondary Instant Network Schools are opening in Dadaab, as well as four vocational skills centres for teenagers and young adults. Safaricom, Vodafone's affiliate in Kenya, is providing connectivity across all 13 solar-powered schools, while Huawei has donated 235 tablets to the programme.

The tablets also provide pupils with a link to life outside the refugee camps. As part of their studies, pupils will use the technology to make contact with school children and professionals in other countries.

The Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR have partnered with a number of other humanitarian organisations and NGOs in Dadaab, including CARE, Islamic Relief Kenya, Lutheran World Federation, Windle Trust Kenya and the Norwegian Refugee Council. The Vodafone Foundation has also opened a further three Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Schools - two at Ajuntok in South Sudan and the other in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A further 5,000 young people will benefit from these schools.

Vodafone Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett said: "There were 16.7 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2013 and 50 per cent of them are under the age of 18. Tablet-based learning programmes will provide many of the children in Dadaab with an unlimited information resource that they would otherwise not have had. This is another example of how Vodafone's technology can significantly improve people's lives - in this case providing access to life-changing skills".

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Tags:  vodafone foundation  safaricom  unhcr  Kenya