This scoping study has been commissioned by UNHCR to inform the future regional education strategy for Somali refugees to be developed in 2015. The assumptions behind this study are simple. First, the situation of Somali refugees and displaced in East Africa in 2015 present major political, social, and economic risks for refugees, host countries, and the Horn of Africa, while compromising Somalia’s capacity to progressively rebuild its future. Secondly, in 2015, there is not only a necessity but also an opportunity to work towards solutions addressing the immediate and longer term protection needs of Somali refugees; thirdly, these solutions require a regional and coordinated approach between Somalia, host communities and their natural partners – including UNHCR; last but not least, education of Somali refugees can trigger such a crucial change for the future of Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
The school-in-a-box programme is a broad educational initiative, created and implemented by the Womanity Foundation. Launched in 2007, the programme was developed while working at the Al Fatah School in Kabul and as of 2015 has been replicated in 11 other public schools. The programme aims to improve the quality of girls’ primary and secondary education in Afghanistan through teacher training, student counselling, improvements in infrastructure, and community outreach. This evaluation, the fourth of its kind, was commissioned to assess conditions at twelve schools where the programme is completed or ongoing, as well as three schools where it is soon expected to commence.
The World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report states that investing in women’s and girls’ empowerment and economic potential is “smart economics”. Researchers speak of the “Girl Effect” and find strong linkages between investing in girls and increases in national income all over the developing world. For Afghanistan in the early 2000s, fostering economic development is a high priority.
This paper is based on several research studies conducted for DFID, GIZ, the World Bank, UN agencies and INGOs. The talk at the London School of Economics, part of a discussion on gender in the Middle-East, addressed key findings on women’s access to justice in Afghanistan and their consequences for state-building.