In northern Kenya, opportunities to access quality education in schools are limited and in many communities, the support for girls’ education is very low when compared to boys’. As a result, a large number of girls are out of school. Even for those girls in school, they are at a higher risk of dropping out especially once they are past elementary school.
Girls in refugee camps in northern Kenya face a similar situation, but have their own unique challenges as well. Donors, governments and other key stakeholders often think of refugee situations as temporary; however many of the present school-age girls were born in the camps and will continue to live there for the foreseeable future. At the same time, more refugees are arriving to the camps, which are already severely overcrowded. Dadaab is home to over 333,000 refugees, and more are arriving daily.
WUSC, along with Windle Trust Kenya (WTK), will help marginalized girls and boys in northern Kenya by improving the access to and quality of education in four target communities (the Dadaab refugee camps and surrounding host communities of Fafi, Waji South and Dadaab, and the Kakuma refugee camps and their surrounding host communities in Turkana West). The project will work towards:
- building girl-friendly school environments;
- providing targeted support to female learners; and
- generating parent and community support for girls’ education.
KEEP is the latest evolution of WUSC’s work with girls' education. In 2007, WUSC launched its in-camp strategy for refugee programming, with three key objectives:
- increasing girls’ access to education;
- improving quality of and access to formal and non-formal education; and
- increasing awareness amongst Canadians about refugee issues.
With support from 60 Million Girls Foundation in 2008, WUSC and WTK were able to pilot the girls’ education initiative. A main component of the pilot was the remedial education courses. Thanks to the after-school courses, girls were able to catch up on their homework making them more confident in their abilities. In 2011, WUSC received continued funding to help our in-camp initiatives through the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM).
With the funding from 60 Million Girls and BPRM, WUSC and WTK were able to learn lessons and build the evidence base necessary to attract additional donor support.
Local Committees (LC) and individual donors also played a huge role by raising money and awareness for the Shine a Light campaign, which provided refugee girls with the skills and resources needed to thrive at school. Many LCs, who were already supporting the Student Refugee Program, understood the importance of educating girls in the camp and they encouraged WUSC to make this a top priority.
Thank you to our donors.
WUSC’s Kenya Equity in Education Project (KEEP) is funded by the UK Government.