Education in Emergencies

One of the tragedies of conflicts in Africa is the way in which it so often destroys the right to education – and in so doing increases the likelihood of chronic vulnerability and poverty, creates or perpetuates social divisions, contributes to increased inequality and impedes development.

The scale of the devastating effect of conflict on education is too little recognized. As people are displaced from their homes and their land, they are forced to flee to distant towns, to camps for internally displaced or to neighbouring countries, where they may spend years in refugee camps. They may be kept alive through the emergency provision of food and water, but the rights of children to education are too often ignored. With only 1-2% of humanitarian aid spent on keeping displaced children in school, a child’s right to education has become one of the first casualties of war.

When conflict rips communities and countries apart, it is not just those in the frontline who suffer. As public expenditure is diverted to arms purchases and paying for larger armies and militias, so spending on education across the nation is squeezed. The diversion of spending is made worse because external donors also review their budget priorities and staffing levels in countries where insecurity is pervasive. In such circumstances, spending on education may be reduced, compounding the cuts in national spending. The consequence is that a country’s entire education system is weakened. Access is constrained and quality is eroded, even for children who live far from the front line.

"Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” Kofi Annan


In both Sudan and South Sudan, there are thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to many years of conflict and natural disasters such as flooding and drought. In addition both countries are hosts of thousands of refugees from across the Eastern Africa region.

WTI continues to build on our experience working closely with relevant governments, UNHCR, and development and humanitarian partners to support policy frameworks that encourage the provision of educational services to IDPs and refugees. WTI alsos partner with donors to provide emergency learning and teaching materials; to provide temporary learning spaces (TLS); and to integrate peacebuilding, conflict sensitivity programmes, and gender and protection into Education in Emergency (EIE) programmes.

Some of our current and recent Education in Emergencies programmes include:

Girls Education South Sudan 2 (GESS2)

GESS2 aims to transform the lives of a generation of children in South Sudan through breaking down the barriers to education, whether these barriers are cultural, financial, or quality. Read more to find out how we do this.

Undergraduate Scholarships for refugees in Sudan

Since the 1990s Windle Trust International has supported scholarships for refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced, marginalised, and conflict-affected communities in Sudan. This includes management of the DAFI programme for refugees throughout the country, and the URTEP programme for refugees in Khartoum state. Read more about the programme.

The Sharg-El Neil Schools Project

The recent influx of refugees from Eritrea put additional pressure on Sudan’s limited resources and services. Government schools are under resourced with poor facilities. Refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) are especially marginalised in terms of limited access to basic services. Most of these refugees were settling in Sharq El Neil locality. This project focused on ensuring access to quality education for these refugee children. Read more about how we did this - page coming soon.