UNHCR partners with tech firm to support schooling at Daadab Refugee Camp
By Antony Mwangi | June 19th 2020
Leading smartphone brand TECNO announced a new partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that will provide quality primary education to thousands of refugee children in Africa.
The partnership commits TECNO, a premium smartphone brand of TRANSSION Holdings for global emerging markets, to make a grant in support of the UNHCR’s global education program, Educate A Child (EAC). The program has been running since 2012.
Under Phase I of the partnership, TECNO has committed to providing financial support for over 6,700 refugee children from Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. The funds will go toward basic expenses including textbooks, tuition, examination fees, and school uniforms. In turn, it is hoped that this support will encourage pupils to pursue higher education and continuous learning.
Dadaab Refugee Camp was established in 1991 by the government of Kenya and UNHCR to host refugees displaced by conflict in Somalia and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region. It is among the world’s biggest refugee camps.
According to UNHCR’s 2019 Global Trends report released yesterday, ahead of the 20 June World Refugee Day, globally 79.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Some 3.7 million refugees are children who have been deprived of regular schooling. The enrollment of refugees in primary school is estimated at only 63 per cent, compared to 91 per cent for children globally. In Africa, this education deficit is especially acute, owing to the continent’s large number of refugees displaced by conflict, violence and persecution.
Education is a fundamental human right, one that is even more precious for refugee children. In displacement situations, schools provide a safe space to protect children from violence, exploitation, underage marriage, and sexual or gender-based violence. Education helps refugees to develop resilience and hope so that they can one day rebuild their communities. It also provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for jobs and self-sufficiency later in life.
The needs have become more acute as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts schooling for almost 1.6 billion children and youth globally. Supporting continued access to education for displaced and refugee students during the pandemic is of utmost significance to prevent them from dropping out of school. With the current partnership, TECNO also commits to provide tablets to UNHCR this year, to support refugee children in Kenya refugee camps with connected learning in the context of COVID-19.
“Education is one of the best investments we can make to help refugees. Primary education is a critical tool to help refugee children overcome difficulties during displacement and contributes to durable solutions to displacement in the long term,” said Sivanka Dhanapala, the UNHCR’s Representative in China.
He added, “The private sector plays a key role in addressing this global crisis. Companies can provide funding for refugee education programmes as well as employment and training opportunities such as internships, mentoring, career guidance, and in some cases eventually jobs. I am glad to see that brands like TECNO are committed to investing in education for refugee children, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ensures that they have the opportunity to learn and satisfy their natural curiosity, as all children should.”
Stephen Ha, General Manager of TECNO, said, “As a premium mobile phone brand deeply rooted in the African market over many years, TECNO has upheld its philosophy ‘Together We Can’, and has long been committed to working with local communities to create social value. Africa is the youngest continent and its young people will shape the region’s future. The most vulnerable and marginalized among them are those children who have been deprived of educational opportunities. That’s why, together with UNHCR, we at TECNO are so happy to be supporting educational access for refugee children, helping them to unlock their full potential and thrive in life.”
In addition to its funding support for the EAC program and in-kind donation, TECNO will also engage its employees to contribute their time, knowledge and skills to the program. With this deepening of cooperation, TECNO and UNHCR will continue to support the program in more African countries for years to come.
The company has also pledged to provide 50,000 surgical masks to UNHCR to help refugees and host communities to cope with COVID-19 in Kenya refugee camps where health services are already under pressure. This support will augment UNHCR’s overall efforts to mitigate risks and prevent further spread of the virus in the refugee camps, and ensure that vulnerable refugees, asylum-seekers and host communities in Kenya have access to adequate health services and care.
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