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

Technological Innovation: Possible Tool for Refugees to Have Access to Higher Education.

Technology improvement is the possible innovation of helping people at the margin to access a higher education.

Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian
4 2

Written by

Technology, in many ways—has become a key component in global advancement. Significantly, in the sector of education. Technological innovations are, in a very particular way, making a way for marginalized population to access education on a higher level. Technology tools such as computers, internet, and social media are of great value in bringing education to people who, otherwise could not be able to access it. One pertinent case in Kakuma Refugee Camp is one of Jesuit Commons-Higher Education at the Margin.

JC-HEMs offer higher education to a limited number of refugees and hosts community members who need it most. JC-HEM international director Mary McFarland argues that: “By harnessing technology, we have brought universities to refugees.” (Retrieved from: http://www.unhcr.org/print/5166753e6.html). She proves that technology is a significant driver of change in the deliverance of education to refugees or displaced students. Personally, as one of beneficiaries, I would argue that with JC-HEM E-learning program, I have been blessed to acquire a diploma from Regis University. This is something that I thought would not be possible in a refugee life. The use of technological innovations has given me many occasions to explore the world through internet.

It is then clear that online education is one important option to help poor societies to improve their lives by giving them access to education, considering that some of refugees are obliged leave their countries before finishing their studies. Kakuma Refugee Camp has been lucky to have one channel through JC-HEM. However this is a very limited chance as the program gives admission less than forty students a year and diploma graduates who desire to reach another level of education are not able to continue due to lack of more sponsorship. Then the question is how can we improve technology facilities so that more refugees and people at the margin can attain the highest possible level of education?

Moreover, I would like to emphasize that enhancing access to education for displaced students; this can be the most constant and safeguarded atmosphere of offering structure and means to help them overcome the sufferings they have experienced and also helping them to recapture their academic self-esteem, social leadership traits and responsive stability. This is intensified by what the international director of JRS, Peter Balleis point out that: “In the midst of conflict and instability, education can be a form of healing to refugees hungry to rebuild their communities.” (Retrieved from: http://en.jrs.net/campaign_detail?-20140722044434&-20140722073332). All in all, colleges and universities can design an education-technological innovation project aiming higher to serve the needs of displaced students. I am strongly convinced that they contribute in providing hope and more opportunities which will restore hope in the heart of hopeless people—displaced students. This will enable displaced students to find meaning in all their hardship conditions faced in their past struggles.

Then the question is how can we improve technology facilities so that more refugees and people at the margin can attain the highest possible level of education (such as degree programs: Bachelors & Masters)?

JC:HEM Kakuma Library
Computer Lab One



4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Ally Krupar

Mr. Emerimana, Thanks for sharing your story! I have been doing some work in Dadaab, Kenya and talking with different NGOs and learners involved in technology in the classroom and eLearning there. Many of the complaints I've heard from the students in Dadaab is that there are few opportunities to use their degrees once they complete them. What do you think about that in Kakuma? Do you feel like you're able to use your degree? I agree that access is a huge issue in refugee and displaced contexts, but what do you think could be done beyond access to education so that more students in refugee settings could use their education in their community and the world?
Thanks again! - Ally

Spam
Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

Good for Dadaab Learners who have access to degree programs. What I believe is that by being equipped with education; I can do many different things. Even if the camp set up may not allow me to use my degree; what is more important is the skills acquired from that degree. Education for a refugee is like a stream of living hope for the future. Briefly, I would say that the issue of not having access to Bachelor, Masters degrees; is frustrating young men and women living in this lifeless place. For those who complained saying that they have few opportunities to use their degree; I could have asked them so many questions for me to get to know how... if they addressed these complaints for the sake of their self interest--that is fine. But if it was for the interest of others, I believe that those degree holders can be the role model in their communities. For example, Here in kakuma we have an Ethiopian refugee with a Master degree; this person is helping a lot of people. He is offering an English language course which helps many people to be good communicators.

Spam
Photo of Luisa Fernanda

Daniel,
Who is this Ethiopian person with a masters degree? What is his name? How did he get the degree? What is he doing for his community?
Thanks for sharing these insightful stories,

Spam
Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian

Luisa,
Preamble, I am sorry for the delay reply; it is because I had to find him and talk to him personally. This Ethiopian person is called ADDISU AZNATO. In the year 2000, he got a scholarship through windle trust and joined DayStar University of Kenya where he graduated in the year 2003 with BA of Community Development. Then he got another scholarship from a German organization and enabled him to do his Master MA in Sociology and Disaster Management. He struggled to get a job in Nairobi though he had so many promises of people who were ready to employ him but due to the fact that he didn't have a work permit; he could not be employed. Then he was advised to come back in the camp where he worked with different NGOs including WTK where he taught English both Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advance level. In 2010, Windle Trust Kenya closed down the adult learning program. Then, he joined Don Bosco Vocational Training Center where he taught English and he realized that there was a huge need of English language since the WTK closed its adult learning program. ADDISU is the founder of the ALPHA LANGUAGE STUDY CENTER. "What I am doing for the kakuma community is that I am eradicating illiteracy and empowering people from all nationalities and communities to be able to communicate in English." Addisu says.