Education in Emergencies

Sustaining education and literacy opportunities for children affected by conflict or crisis.

Of the one in 11 children worldwide who are out of school, 34 million are living in conflict-affected countries. According to UNESCO estimates, an additional 175 million children globally are affected each year by natural disasters. The global shortfall of primary school teachers only exacerbates these education challenges, as teacher shortages are often more severe in countries impacted by conflicts and disasters.

ACR GCD addresses the educational and psychosocial needs of children affected by conflict, natural disaster, or health crises by sourcing solutions for use in out-of-school contexts and contributing to research to improve the use of technology to provide education in emergencies that can be used in a wide range of contexts–from parents’ mobile phones in homes to tablets in lending libraries or smartphone projectors in reading camps.

Learning Apps

Below are open source smartphone literacy apps that build foundational literacy skills and improves psychosocial well-being in a game format. Both were developed in 2016 and jointly funded by ACR GCD, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), mobile operator Orange, and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).

  • Feed the Monster. Originally developed in English and Arabic, the app is now available in more than 50 languages.
  • Antura & the Letters. This app is now available in nine languages.

Digital Libraries

ACR GCD has supported the development of online libraries
that house thousands of free, high-quality accessible digital reading and learning materials that are available online and offline, downloadable, adaptable and able to be translated online, making reading material easily—and cheaply—accessible in languages children use and understand. In 2016, UNHCR reported that 71% of the world’s refugee households at that time owned a mobile phone, and 93% of all refugees lived in areas covered by either 2G or 3G networks, representing a potential way to provide digital content and resources to these populations. Below is a selection of digital libraries ACR GCD innovators and partners have developed:

  • Asafeer ( Online collection of quality, cost-efficient and trackable resources and books in Arabic
  • Bloom Library ( Global collection of books created with Bloom software (see below)
  • Bookshare ( Online library of accessible content for people with print disabilities, such as dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy and other reading barriers
  • Global Digital Library ( Over 6000 high-quality early learning resources and storybooks available in more than 90 languages, including sign languages
  • Let’s Read ( Asia’s only free digital library for children, with resources and books that explore important topics that can be downloaded and printed for offline use
  • World Around You ( Sign language storybooks in local and national sign languages

Strategies for use

Below are several strategies for adapting and expanding the use of EdTech solutions in emergency or crisis contexts:

  • Adapt or create context specific accessible digital storybooks: Our awardees have created training books using Bloom (example) which can be shared by anyone and cover accessing digital books, sharing digital books, simple maintenance and pedagogical instructions for using the app, projector and books in literacy lessons. 
  • Lending a few tablets via community libraries: In the context where there are no functioning community or school libraries, e-libraries provide more than 10,000 storybooks and reading content that are attractive to children, provide personalized learning and promote ICT skill acquisition.  For example, World Vision Ghana distributes content through community libraries that use about 50 android 10” tablets, headphones and raspberry pi servers to provide electronic reading books to children. They serve between 500 and 1000 children. 
  • Smartphone & Pico Projector in reading camps: Using smartphones in conjunction with Pico Projectors can increase the number of books per child in reading camps or group settings, which can help achieve the Reading Camp Minimum Standard of 5 books per child and address barriers to using digital books in reading camps and in homes. This strategy also allows organizations to use locally-created, digital, open source and accessible teaching and learning materials via the eKitabu and/or Bloom Reader apps via smartphones and Pico Projectors to complement printed learning materials. Both apps are free and have digital books available in local languages, including sign languages, with accessible features like accompanying narrated audio. 

Education in Emergencies

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Education in Emergencies

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