It's World Refugee Day and we are pleased to announce that The Vodafone Foundation and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are delivering the first two of our Instant Classrooms to the Kakuma refugee settlement in Kenya on Monday.

The Instant Classroom, which was developed by the Vodafone Foundation, is a single case containing what is required for tablet-based teaching. It has been specifically designed for areas where electricity and internet connectivity are unreliable or non-existent and is deployed in partnership with UNHCR’s Innovation and Education units.

The Instant Classroom is shipped in a secure and robust 52kg case which contains a laptop, 25 tablets pre-loaded with educational software aimed at children aged seven to 20. The kit also contains a projector, a speaker and a hotspot modem with 3G connectivity. The tablets can connect to the laptop locally, enabling teachers to deliver content and applications to students without the need to access the internet.

All the components of the Instant Classroom can be charged simultaneously from a single power source while the case is locked. After six to eight hours of charging time, it can be used for a full day in a classroom without access to electricity.

The first two Instant Classroom boxes will be deployed by four volunteers from Vodafone, including IT specialists from Vodafone Netherlands, Vodafone Romania, Vodafone Greece and Vodafone Albania. The two kits will be set up on 22 June and teachers in Kakuma will be trained to use the equipment during the week.

The Instant Classroom will be installed at a secondary school in Kakuma, benefiting 1,200 students, and at a library for teachers, adults and out of school children.

As well as the Instant Classroom equipment, our volunteers will also deliver a Blue Box from our partner, Worldreader to the library. The Blue Box will contain 35 eReaders with 200 books uploaded.  

Over the next year, we’ll be deploying the Instant Classroom in a further 12 schools in refugee settlements in Kakuma in Kenya, in the Nyarungusu refugee settlement in Tanzania and in the Equatorial Region in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As a result, the Vodafone Foundation Instant Classroom will this year provide up to 15,000 children and young adults aged from 7 to 20 with advanced teaching aids that are currently only available in a minority of schools in developed nations.

As the map below shows, the Instant Classroom builds on the success of our Instant Network Schools programme, which introduced tablet-based learning to around 18,000 pupils in the Dadaab refugee settlement in northern Kenya. Teachers at the Dadaab schools said the tablet-based lessons have been so popular that pupil attendance had increased by an average of 15 per cent, something we are very proud to have helped achieve.

Over the next two years, the Instant Network Schools programme will be extended to support additional schools in refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo with the aim to reach more than 60,000 children and young people.

Despite all that we have achieved to date, we are acutely aware that there is still lots of work to do to support refugee education. There are over 50 million refugees and displaced people worldwide.  Half of the world’s refugees are under the age of 18 and are displaced from their homes for an average of 17 years with little or no access to education. Our ambition is to provide every child refugee in a camp in countries where Vodafone operates with internet education to develop the skills to enable them to build a better future both in the camp, and when they leave.

 

Andrew Dunnett has been Director of the Vodafone Foundation since 2006. Andrew is also a Trustee of the M-Pesa Foundation (Kenya) and a Board member of the M-Health Alliance (USA). He has 15 years' experience in corporate responsibility, community investment and public affairs, including advising organisations such as, BTEC, the BBC, the Commission for Racial Equality the Sustainable Development unit at the UK Department of Trade and Industry and Thames Water.