Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR Expand Instant Network Schools for Refugee Education

Vodafone and UNHCR’s Instant Network Schools program to extend to 26 more schools, supporting refugee education.

At the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, confirmed that their flagship connected education programme for refugees, Instant Network Schools (INS) will expand into 26 additional schools in 2024.

The INS programme supports refugee and host community students with access to equitable and quality education through connectivity and digital education resources. Since 2013, the partnership has led to the development of 118 Instant Network Schools (INS) across six African countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo; Egypt; Kenya; Mozambique; South Sudan; and Tanzania.

To date, over 271,000 refugee and host community children and 4,500 teachers have benefited from the programme.

The programme intends to grow pupil numbers by 84% in the next three years to meet a pledge made at the 2019 GRF to help over 500,000 learners and 10,000 teachers by March 2026.

In Egypt, Vodafone and UNHCR will open a further 22 INS classrooms by October 2024, the beginning of the next school year. Those schools will have the capacity to support an additional 44,000 learners a year. Since 2021, UNHCR and Vodafone Foundation have been working with Egypt’s Ministry of Education to provide INS classrooms in 48 of the country’s refugee-hosting public schools. To date, 46,000 students and 1,200 teachers have benefitted from the INS programme in Egypt.

There will also be four new schools in the Nampula region of Mozambique in 2024. Also set in schools run by the country’s Ministry of Education, the new digital classrooms are expected to benefit around 8,000 students per year. There are currently 15 INS in Mozambique, which have supported over 67,000 learners to date and provided training in digital skills for around 1,400 teachers.

To support refugee education, a detailed study will be commissioned in 2024 by the Global Partnership for Ethiopia, the owners of Safaricom Ethiopia, working jointly with UNHCR to map the country’s educational needs and requirements against the operator’s current and planned network coverage. The study will then be used for the subsequent delivery of digital education tools. The Global Partnership for Ethiopia consists of Vodafone, Vodacom, Safaricom, Sumitomo Corporation, BII, and the IFC.

Education is essential for children to create a better future for themselves. We therefore want to continue our educational partnership with UNHCR and other corporate and government partners to deliver long-term improvement for refugees and their host communities.

“There are over 110 million people in the world who have been forced to flee their homes – more than ever before.1 Forty per cent of those refugees are under 18. Support for refugee education is needed more than ever before.

Joakim Reiter, Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer, Vodafone Group

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