Author: Caroline Pontefract, Frosse Dabit, Bieke Vandekerckhove and Thomas Aedy
Full Citation: Pontefract, C., Dabit, F., Vandekerckhove, B., & Aedy, T. (2017). Bringing hope in times of conflict: UNRWA Education in Emergencies programme (Case study). Promising Practices in Refugee Education.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was established in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to over 5 million registered Palestine refugees. With the onset of the Syria crisis, there was a need for a sustained and innovative approach to ensure that the most vulnerable children and youth were not left behind. Within this context, and recognizing that education is a human right, crucial for human development, the Agency developed an Education in Emergencies (EiE) Programme to offer support to Palestine refugee children living in conflict-affected areas. The EiE Programme draws on UNRWA’s education system, and the progress achieved through the Agency-wide Education Reform. This has helped to ensure that Palestine refugee children continue to have access to quality education and learning opportunities, even in times of crisis and conflict.
- UNRWA’s EiE approach is distinctive in the sense that it embeds its EiE Programme into the overall education system of the Agency, rather than establishing an interim structure, this helps to ensure that the programme’s impact is sustainable.
The deployment of a multi-stranded, integrated approach to providing EiE is how UNRWA has found it can best support the needs of children and education staff impacted by crisis. UNRWA’s EiE approach is designed to simultaneously address the multiple barriers to education faced by students in Syria through alternative learning modalities including self-learning materials, safer and more secure learning environments, targeted psychosocial support and recreational activities, and strong engagement with parents and the community.
UNRWA’s EiE operational capacities have been enhanced at Headquarters (HQ), field and school level. The Agency has systematically worked to ensure the sustainability of its EiE programming by strengthening in-house capacities across all strands of the EiE response.