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DREAMS (Digital and Recreational Education Activities for Marginalized and Syrian Refugee Girls)

Reaching out of school refugee girls in Lebanon with digital education through tablet based technology.

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What problem does your innovation solve?

Almost half of the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon are children. Yet, safe learning environment and quality education remain a huge gap. Over 84% of children aged above 12 years old are out of school, and are at higher risks of child labor, early child marriage and exploitation. Various barriers to access exists, such as distance to school, limited public resources, and dire economic conditions. We aim to address child protection issues through innovative and increased access to education.

Explain your innovation.

What is our innovation? The project will use tablet based technology in community based education 'hub' where girls can easily access, learn, create, and dream. Help us empower girls and prevent them from becoming a lost generation, by giving them the tools to make their dreams a reality! How does it work? Step 1: Community members/parents will be trained to use the tablets in the community based education ‘hub’ and to facilitate peer education on the importance of continuing education for girls. Step 2: Refugee girls will start learning basic and digital literacy through the combination of various online and offline education materials in small groups in their areas of residence. Is it sustainable? The capacity and motivation of parents and caregivers in the community are built, and the tablets and its digital learning contents remain, to continue the educational activities at the ‘hubs’. Through the peer education approach, the initial groups of girls can transfer their newly acquired digital skills and knowledge to other out of school girls (they can learn from and support each other). Supporting Evidence: Peer education: Arabic MOOC: Daniel, S. J., Cano, E. V., & Cervera, M. G., The Future of MOOCs: Adaptive Learning or Business Model? RUSC, January 2015.

Who benefits?

Post-primary school aged children (girls), who are out of school will benefit from our innovation. The project targets this particular group of children because: 1. Primary school education in Lebanon is provided free of charge to every child; 2. Out of school girls, particularly those aged over 12 years, are at higher risks of abuse, exploitation, child labor and early child marriage; and 3. By targeting older children and youths who are more mature, we aim to facilitate them to achieve their fullest potential and to become the agents for change through creativity and innovation. The parents, families and community will benefit from the peer education and the future opportunities in the labor market the girls will have. The peer education aims to act as the driving factor for change in norms and practice. After learning essential digital skills, girls will become more familiar with the use of technology and ready to participate in the 21st century online global labor market.

How is your innovation unique?

TECHNOLOGY We use tablet based technology as well as MOOC and various applications to ensure better access to quality education for marginalized girls. PEER EDUCATION We are only facilitators. The drivers for change are the parents and children in the community. COMMUNITY BASED We move ourselves into the community, instead of making girls travel to our educational centers, to ensure accessibility and safety for girls who are mostly stuck at home. TAILORED YET FLEXIBLE We offer various materials for education that are relevant, and that allow the girls to learn skills necessary to overcome challenges they face in their lives. There will be something for everyone - Girls can choose to learn wide range of skills and knowledge from basic literary and numeracy to life skills to digital skills, based on interests, ability, educational background and needs.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

1. Whether digital platforms can be accessed offline as access to internet may be a challenge: Many families own smartphones by which WiFi network can be created - is this practically possible and accessible? 2. How can the first group of girls effectively transference digital skills and knowledge to other girls in their community? 3. How to effectively make sure that the trained community hub facilitators take responsibility over the use of tablets? 4. How to motivate parents to participate, and how to make sure the community based ‘hub’ is sustainable, given the mobility of refugee community members: Unlike direct cash assistance, this project does not immediately solve the practical barrier to education – financial constraints.

Tell us more about you.

I’m a project manager at ADRA Lebanon, a NGO in Lebanon. The organisation is part of a larger network with ADRA offices in Indonesia, Republic of Korea, and Australia, among others. Our office in Lebanon has been working with conflict affected populations and particularly with Syrian refugees since 2013. We are a team of 12 international and national staff, based in Beirut. We take community based approach to our projects by involving Lebanese and Syrian community mobilizers and volunteers.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Lebanon hosts the highest per-capita concentration of refugees in the world. The population increase has placed extreme pressure on the country’s already limited resources. 70 per cent of over 1.5 million Syrian refugees live below the extreme poverty line. Many have adopted negative coping mechanisms, such as withdrawing children from school, child labor, early marriage and/or abusive and exploitative livelihood opportunities, which have negative consequences for children’s education.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

Our innovation will be implemented within refugee communities in the Mt.Lebanon/Beirut and the Bekaa areas, Lebanon. These areas face the highest rate of out of school children. We already have a presence there, with our educational and other projects (cash assistance, WASH, and community based elderly support). After the pilot project is started, we hope to expand to target displaced girls living inside Syria, where our sister organization is currently working on educational programs.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

ADRA Lebanon has developed strong grassroots relations with community members, gate-keepers and other partners. One of our educational projects is implemented with a local partner who has experience in the field since 1979. We are an active participant in the Education and Child Protection working groups, have strong network with (I)NGOs and research institute, and coordinate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

The organization has been working in the education sector since 2014, manly targeting Syrian refugee children. Activities implemented so far include: early childhood education; non-formal education; community outreach and awareness sessions; remedial sessions and homework support classes; and recreational psycho-social support. We have the advantage of experienced international and local staff, including Syrian refugee community mobilizers who have deep roots in the refugee communities.

Innovation Maturity

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

Sabtieh, Near Bitar Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon



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