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Start with the parents

In refugee camps, start by training the parents to teach their children in small groups.

Photo of Margaret Hill
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What problem does your innovation solve?

In a camp of 80,000 people, often at least half are children in need of education. It is often logistically impossible to set up schools for all the children within a reasonable time frame. This inovation would bring some degree of education to many of the children much faster.

Explain your innovation.

Facilitators with suitable training would come to a refugee camp, preferably soon after the refugees arrive. They would do some initial research to identify those adults in the camp who are literate and have some level of education. The facilitators would then start working with these adults in the afternoon/evening, and after a first week of classes, these adults would start teaching the children in the mornings. This would involve the provision of basic books and a white board or chalk board for each group.

Who benefits?

This would benefit the whole community, adult and children alike. In some cultures it might be necessa to insist on half the children in the group being girls as a condition of providing the materials.

How is your innovation unique?

My experience has been in one refugee camp, which I have visited 4 times. As far as I can see, there is little being done to train the parents/adults to teach the children.

Tell us more about you.

I work for a Christian NGO, and my experience is mainly in Africa.

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

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Refugee camps

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Daryl Yue

It's a significant idea that parents are the best teachers for their children. But I wonder it might be too costly to teach the parents. These parents might not have basic knowledge background and it might be hard for them accept new things. Instead, I think it may be good to teach the parents about the importance of education for their children.

Photo of Margaret Hill

I see your point, but from my experience, all sorts of people finish up in a refugee camp, and with some sort of selection process you could get the right parents who are ready to learn new things. We found parents have a very strong motivation to help their children.