OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Bridging the under-education gap with informal education in displaced communities

using informal methods of education to solve under-education crisis created by 3 years of war and displacements in English speaking Cameroon

Photo of Shiyntum Emeal Kelah

Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

A political crisis broke out in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon in the late 2016 where Anglophones were demanding for equal opportunities with their Francophone brothers. What started as street protests with teachers and lawyers protesting in the NW and SW Regions of Cameroon later on metamorphosed into an arm conflict pitting separatists against the Government. Since the year 2016, more than 90% of schools of all levels have remained closed in the Anglophone regions. Children of school going age have remained at home for over 3 years. As a result of these prolonged crises, children have become largely under-educated and there is now general fear that the future of these children is getting compromised. At the onset of the crisis, the teachers were among the first group of persons to go on strike and in the course of their strike, they ordered all the schools to shut down and since then, separatists and Government have used schools to mortgage their successes and failures - Firstly, we are going to set up informal education centers in areas where the internally displaced persons are found. These informal education centers will function with highly creative system of education that will prepare these under privilege and under-educated Anglophone children for eventual reintegration into the formal education system. - Beside these informal education centers, we shall also set up literacy centers where we shall organize mass literacy programs for relatively short period of 6 months to 1 year. - We shall then round up by setting up distance learning centers which will permit the use of well trained teachers to attend to the needs of many students. The distance learning centers will be set up in areas where access to electricity and internet is possible. This intervention will serve Anglophones and serve the world at large.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This idea targets the conflicts torn anglophone Regions of Cameroon which are made up of the NW and SW Regions of the country. The choice of the entire North west and South west Regions is because due to the conflict in these zones, numerous children have remained largely out of schools. This idea will also target the French speaking towns of Douala and Yaounde where most displaced persons have taken refuge and most of their children are at home.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

This idea will contribute to bridge the education gap between Cameroonian children of school going age who have been out of school for 3 years due to the conflict in the Anglophone Regions of the country and their fellow mates in the French speaking parts of the country who have been attending schools regularly without any interruption. When the problem of under-education will be addressed, it will bring stability and hope to these young people whose future now seem compromised.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Education is life per say, when one looks at the thousands of children who have spent over 3 years without any form of education, it is clear that their future now looks bleak and their hopes are gradually fading out. Education is also a fundamental right and survival without education in the current century is almost an illusion. What will the future of a child look like without education, how satisfied can a child be today without education. Therefore, there is no doubt that by implementing this idea, it will not only bring joy to these underprivileged victims of the conflict, but it will also bring hope to their lives and subsequently, their dignity shall be completely restored. Inside this idea lies hope for these young people, the idea carries the future of young people and the survival of anglophone Cameroonians. It can only be great satisfaction to see these forks once again engage in any education of any form and keep their hopes of having a bright future alive.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

This idea will create great actionable impact in the targeted communities in the following ways; when we begin to see numerous students and pupils attending informal education centers, it will no doubt be a sign that there was indeed great need for this assistance. More over, our intention is to train most of these children with the intention of reintegrating them into the formal system of education when and where it is possible. Therefore our measurement of the impact that the idea is creating will be the number of students and pupils that will successfully transit from these informal platforms of education to the formal system of education. When this is achieved with success, it will be a sign that the idea is creating a positive impact in the concerned communities. The mass literacy programs will be measured by the number of persons that attend the program and the number that successfully follow the program to the end.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

I was inspired by the situation in North east Nigeria where the terror group Boko Haram has caused the displacement of over 2 million persons and despite the fact that the terror group fights western education with bone and teeth, education is still going on in the affected areas, the setting up of informal education centers is doing a great deal in improving education among the displaced persons. I also drew inspiration from the drastic measures that were taken by the Indian Government to increase the rate of Education at a time when the country was largely under educated. Heavy investments in the informal sector of education played a vital role in raising the rate of education in India. From these two inspirations, i am extremely convinced that this idea will be a remarkable intervention in bridging the under-education gap that exists in Cameroon and is currently on the rise.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

I have visited 4 hard hit villages in the war zones, most of them have been deserted with children taking refuge in relatively secured towns of Bamenda, Buea or Limbe, Many of them have also escaped the fighting to Douala and yaounde which are major French speaking towns in the country. In all the hard hit villages, there is absolutely no formal education taking place. In relatively secured towns like Buea, Bamenda and Limbe, about 5% of Anglophone children of school age managed to attend formal Education while the rest remain home for the fear of being targets by the fighting parties. In Douala and yaounde, most of those who escaped to these areas are either attending evening classes or are left idle at home. The fact is that children who had lived in yaounde for more than 5 years had no difficulty attending regular schools. Therefore displaced victims of Anglophone crisis are more likely to stay at home ( 80%) while their mates who are not victims attend regular schools

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

The idea is to set up informal learning centers in the major and more secured Anglophone towns where many children have taken refuge and also in the major French speaking towns of Douala where majority of the displaced children are found. In major Anglophone towns like Bamenda, Buea, Limbe, Kumba and Nkambe, the fighting is relatively sporadic and therefore it is very possible to host these informal learning centers where many displaced children of school age can be found. With peace and order in the French speaking towns, it will be a great advantage to host these children in the above towns. We cannot over emphasize here that these displaced children stay at home mainly because the school fees are expensive and most parents have lost their livelihood to the ravaging war. Therefore, moving these centers closer to the displaced and to areas which are relatively more secured will greatly help the success of the idea. Online interactive learning will also reach to so many displaced.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

We have had major partnerships with faith based institutions in our pass projects which are a major force when it comes to galvanizing the communities. With these faith based institutions, there is guarantee for proper outreach as they are not only neutral but will help us reach out to as major beneficiaries as possible. We shall also reach out to traditional authorities who are the people that are also highly influential when it comes to community mobilization in these parts of the country. Finally, we will be extending a hand of partnership to UNESCO so that we can work together in designing an acceptable curriculum for such a strategic program.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Advancing Africa Strategic Initiatives

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Advancing Africa Strategic Initiatives is a Non-profit Organization registered in Bamenda, Cameroon in the year 2011 with legal registration number NW-GP-031-11-13395 with the then name Naturally Healthy in Life Common Initiative group. In the year 2017, we saw an increasing need to change the name and scope of operations of the organization and we therefore through an extraordinary assembly meeting, unanimously changed the name of the organization to ADVANCING AFRICA STRATEGIC INITIATIVES. Whether it is under the name NHL VISION OR AASI, our achievements over the years have been remarkable. Assisting communities in the areas of Health, education, youth empowerment and Agriculture, we have reached out to more than 50000 people over the past 8 years. Our mission is simple, bring hope to the hopeless and give courage to the less courageous

Website URL:

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Bamenda, NW Region


Join the conversation:

Photo of Marie-Noëlle. RUBANGIZA

Bonjour, nous vous souhaitons pleins succès pour ce que vous faites.

Photo of Shiyntum Emeal Kelah

merci beaucoup, nous souhaitons ardemment que cette idée devienne un grand succès car effectivement, cette partie du Cameroun a besoin d'un tel projet et le besoin augmente même chaque jour, les espoirs d'une amélioration de la situation diminuant progressivement. Quoi qu’il en soit, il est clair que le problème de la sous-éducation est un problème très urgent dans les régions anglophones du Cameroun

View all comments