A New Horizon for Girl's Education through Innovation & Technology
Education is a human right with important implications for health, livelihood, and peace-building in conflict and crisis contexts. Crisis and conflict are among the biggest obstacles to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education.
Refugee and Migrant women face the same challenges and barriers their sisters face in their home countries, including violence, poverty, and feelings of isolation. In addition, as newcomers, many cannot access public health benefits and other social services due to language and cultural barriers. For many, these disadvantages also lead to struggles in school, while others struggle to navigate daily life, further preventing these women and children from accessing opportunities to better their circumstances.
WFI’s programs on education develop innovative, replicable models that address gender equity and education for women and girls both in their home countries and abroad and assist in removing the basic barriers to their participation in their communities and economies.
WFI has observed that knowledge is power, and, for those seeking equality, technology is the great equalizing tool for this empowerment. Nowhere is this statement more true than within WFI’s global template A New Horizon for Education in which we have two key programs:
1) A Virtual Women’s University Without Walls
2) Connecting Minds: Mobile Learning for Refugees, Displaced Migrants & those living in Conflict Zones
Women Forward International, in partnership with Afghan Institute of Learning, Learning Upgrade, Lynn University, and the European Network of Migrant Women, have developed software for digital education and media innovations that could deliver educational materials so learners can maintain access to basic and advanced educational opportunities despite disruptions experienced during crisis or conflict. Solutions are targeted to specific developing countries or regions, with the hope of addressing common education challenges associated with conflict and crises, including impaired educational cognition or retention due to trauma or injuries, lack of access to a school or teachers, as well as the socio-emotional needs and challenges learners in crisis face.
Through this program, WFI is committed to putting technology into the hands of women, girls, and individuals from Ukraine and Afghanistan in particular to empower them to return to the classroom to use the power of education as leverage in their fight for social, political, and economic equality.
Connecting Minds: Mobile Learning for Refugees, Migrants, & Students in Conflict Zones
WFI is collaborating with Learning Upgrade to develop and implement a strategy for expanding its education app into migrant and refugee communities in Europe. Learning upgrade is specifically interested in scaling their current software program for use by Ukrainian refugees, focusing on reaching women & girls prevented from going to school or those requiring additional support. WFI will enlist two partners from its network: 1) European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW) and 2) Lynn University Social Impact Lab research team, to provide crisis and conflict-affected communities with mobile learning software used through smart handheld devices at 4x the learning rate and 1/10 of the cost of traditional education. The 12-month program will be available through WhatsApp, and the Learning Upgrade app, which consists of K-12 certified English language, math, and general job skills curricula. In addition, there will be coordinators and coaches that oversee and support the learning and progress of students throughout the 12-month program.
The Lynn University team will assist Learning Upgrade in developing an additional curriculum for the app and provide recommendations to adapt its content for key migrant and refugee communities across Europe, i.e., cultural sensitivities and nuances. In addition, the app will be translated to key target languages, namely Italian, French, Polish, and German, and disseminated through migrant and refugee support networks across Europe with the assistance of ENoMW.
Together with our partners, WFI will:
Scale the reach of the Learning Upgrade app to countries in Europe with a high number of refugee communities
Develop the curriculum to include additional material such as basic science courses
Disseminate the app through grassroots organizations and networks in Europe that work directly with refugee women and girls
This program represents the cutting edge of tech justice, education, and gender inequity, as well as investing in a pool of passionate young professionals who will instill the values of unity, collaboration, and service in the world.