Building out-of-school Syrian refugee children’s foundational literacy and psychosocial wellbeing through gaming apps

The Grand Challenge

A generation deprived of education opportunities and at risk of psychosocial trauma

Years of conflict in Syria has uprooted millions of people, hampering children’s access to education. More than 3.5 million refugee children were unable to attend a single day of school in 2016, and those who did attend often faced learning difficulties due to long-term stress as well as the use of educational materials in languages they don’t use or understand. A lack of basic literacy and numeracy skills among young people significantly decreases their educational progress and economic opportunities.

The Big Idea

Arabic literacy apps that address education lapses and psychosocial stress

The EduApp4Syria competition sought the development of smartphone apps that could build foundational literacy skills in Arabic and improve psychosocial well-being for Syrian refugee children who are out of or struggling in school. The prize—funded by the Norwegian government and coordinated by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) in cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, mobile operator Orange, and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)—funded two gaming apps now available for free download on Google Play and the App Store.