Learning & Well-Being in Emergencies
A Three-Pronged Approach to Improving Refugee Education
Learning and Well-Being in Emergencies (LWiE) is an approach to education in emergencies (EiE) programming that focuses not only on literacy, but on the issues impacting children’s capacity to learn. It is being piloted in Cairo, Egypt and Doro Camp, Maban, South Sudan. By focusing on the well-being of both teachers and students and assessing their related social and emotional needs, LWiE, while still in the pilot phase, is an effective innovation to garner community support for education and to ensure teachers and children are equipped with the tools to learn and thrive, even in the face of uncertainty:
- An assessment of children’s literacy and well-being at the beginning of the project helped to inform teachers of student needs. It was found that more than half of the students assessed fell into the “below basic” category suggesting that they did not have the foundational literacy skills despite being enrolled in the third grade. Students also expressed a desire for more avenues to discuss their feelings and translate feelings into prosocial behaviour.
- The impact of the approach is apparent in both the capacity of teachers and the learning outcomes of children. Through classroom observation, formative assessments and discussions with teachers and children, teachers have demonstrated improved classroom management and pedagogy skills and children’s literacy levels have increased. • Many parents and community members have participated in local reading events such as reading awareness workshops and local read-a-thons as well as in Parent Teacher Association (PTA) groups and school-based activities. This shows that even in potentially transient and unstable contexts, parents support their children’s access to quality education.
- Given that this is a pilot, we have not been able to test one of the most compelling principles of LWiE, the ability to successfully transition from a development to crisis context with limited disruption to children’s learning. We have, however, demonstrated that the program can be established quickly with minimal external resources by following the guidance included in the comprehensive LWiE toolkit.