Education in Emergency Situations for Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator css=”.vc_custom_1592076377183{padding-top: 15px !important;}”][vc_column_text]On May 28th, 2021, Conflict and Resilience Research Institute Canada (CRRIC) hosted a joint webinar with Afrisda Inc. to discuss education in emergency situations, with a specific focus on girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the distinguished guests were Rosine Assamoi, the co-founder and vice-president of Afrisda, Professor Bento Novela, the gender co-chair of the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee, Dr. Djo Matangwa the co-founder and CEO of Afrisda, Kyaw Win a Rohingya resource person at CRRIC and Patricia Mushayandebvu, a humanitarian and educator from South Sudan. 


Commencing with a speech from Dr. Matangwa, the history and evolution of Afrisda Inc. as an organization was detailed. The importance of local perspectives in educational development was greatly emphasized. 


“Our goal at Afrisda is to improve capacity building,” he said. “We need to think outside of the box: how can we do the job differently?”


Following that, Kyaw Win, one of CRRIC’s experts on education for Rohingya children, shared his experiences working as a teacher in Rohingya refugee camps. Above all, he said, there was a great need to ensure refugee children have access to formal, rather than informal education. He concluded the presentation by calling upon the Bangladeshi government to mandate formal education for all children in Bangladesh, whether or not they possess refugee status.  


After that, CRRIC’s executive director, Dr. Kawer Ahmed continued by discussing his fieldwork with refugee children in Bangladesh. Focusing specifically on the education of adolescent females, the role of community participation and coordination were underlined as cornerstones of creating educational standards. 


“Host countries play a pivotal role in the education of displaced people,” Ahmed said. “We really need to gear up our activities towards the understanding of host country policies and why such policies are adopted.” 


Near the end of the webinar, Patricia Mushayandebvu delivered an informative presentation on the lessons learnt from South Sudan on educational development and policy. The impact of COVID-19 on education for women and girls was highlighted, with Mushayandebvu explaining how the world benefited from emergency education planning. 


According to Mushayandebvu, girls living in crisis areas are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school. In South Sudan, she explained, 72% of girls do not attend primary school, compared to 62% of boys. In rural areas, she says many girls are over-aged for their grade level. 


Dr. Helal Mouhuiddin, a professor at North South University and the co-founder of CRRIC, agreed with Mushayandebvu, noting that it would greatly help with the development of the Rohingya education project. He added that focusing on trauma, displacement and emergencies is necessary for educational development. 


“Girls still desire to go to school. They want to learn. They want to be protected. They want to not only thrive but survive,” Mushayandebvu said. “They can only do that if they get an education.” 


CRRIC will partner with Afrisda Inc. to implement education projects for refugees in the future.