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Refugee Education Challenge Design Principles

Design principles describe the most important elements that guide how and what we design. 

For the Refugee Education Challenge, we have six design principles that all of our solutions to the challenge question should keep in mind: 

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Policy changes, peace agreements and government reform are some of the strongest levers for change when it comes to ensuring refugees’ right to education, but they are long-term solutions. In this challenge, let’s focus our efforts on designing solutions that effect change now.

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Women and girls face unique challenges in accessing a quality education. Between pressure to marry early, household responsibilities, and caring for younger siblings, girls often drop out of school significantly before their male peers. Let’s design inclusive solutions that ensure women and girls – who make up a disproportionate percentage of the global refugee population – are part of the equation.

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The scale of refugee crises around the world is enormous, and the resources allocated to addressing them are often insufficient and slow to arrive. As designers, resource constraints are opportunities for us to start small and fail fast. In order to ensure our ideas are scalable and sustainable, let’s seek to design solutions that leverage resources efficiently and require minimal external investment to get started.

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Refugees do not often know how long they will be in their host country – from a few months to a few decades. With that in mind, let’s design solutions that equip refugees with knowledge and skills that will serve them in any environment, both in their current circumstances and wherever they may land next.

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When refugees arrive in a new country, they join a new community of people with different backgrounds, needs and abilities. Let’s make sure that the solutions we design take into account the diversity of the communities they exist in – including members of host communities, that often face similar challenges when it comes to education and training.

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All good design reflects an understanding of context. Our culture shapes how we perceive and interact with our environments – from what we eat, to social norms and how we process information. Let’s design solutions that respect, acknowledge and align with refugees’ diverse cultural backgrounds.