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Refugee Connected Education Challenge

Refugee-hosting schools are simply not equipped with the digital resources, skills, and knowledge needed to foster learners who can succeed in an increasingly digital world.   

With long term or frequent school closures due to COVID-19, along with the ever-changing landscape of crises being faced by refugees around the world, it is critical we accelerate efforts to ensure refugee-hosting schools and classrooms are not left further behind.  

The time to act is now.

UNHCR needs you to act now. We call on society’s stakeholders, governments, private sector and partners to commit to the Refugee Connected Education Challenge and close the digital divide faced by displaced learners. Join us by becoming a sponsor, investing in Connected Education for refugees, and helping to advocate for greater refugee inclusion.  

We need to ensure that schools that host refugees, and forcibly displaced students, are prioritized and meaningfully included in global and national digital education and connectivity efforts. 

Only then will we be able to achieve SDG4 and provide more equitable futures for refugee children and youth around the globe. 

© UNHCR/Catherine Wachlaya. Students are excited to use tablets from the Instant Network Schools (INS) kits available at a community centre. 

In 2021, education actors worldwide are mobilizing to strengthen education systems to counteract future school closures and address the effects of learning loss experienced during the pandemic. As actors around the globe prepare to make public declarations on school connectivity and craft national connected education investment plans, it is imperative that schools and communities that host refugees and displaced learners are included within pilots and development rollouts.  

Our goal is to ensure refugee-hosting schools and communities are meaningfully included within all global and national connectivity and digital learning programmes planned between now and 2030.  

Read The Report


UNHCR released the Connected Education For Refugees: Addressing the Digital Divide report that provides an overview of the current status and challenges faced by refugees in accessing digital learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report notes that 78 per cent of refugee children and youth had limited to no access to learning opportunities during pandemic related school closures

The report also highlights the additional measures taken to extend access to refugee-hosting communities, putting forward recommendations on how to better design for more inclusive digital learning programmes that can benefit all learners.

Challenge Sponsors

We are looking to identify a group of Challenge sponsors to support this initiative. Sponsors will help demonstrate the type of clear and concrete commitments needed to ensure meaningful and safe inclusion of displaced learners within digital learning and school connectivity initiatives while also mobilizing their networks to secure further commitments and actors in the run-up of the next Global Refugee Forum in 2023.  

Challenge sponsors need to commit to: 

  • articulate support to achieve the aims of the Challenge;
  • make a clear and measurable commitment to ensuring the digital inclusion of displaced learners and their host communities in digital learning and connectivity initiatives;
  • promote the Challenge, and mobilize further commitments across your networks;
  • participate in the Challenge Action Group:

- this will include biannual meetings to track progress against the Challenge commitments;

- submissions of contributions to the annual Challenge report;

- and supporting the identification of the next steps for the Challenge.

Additional co-sponsors and commitments will be secured in the run-up to the next Global Refugee Forum in 2023, building from the momentum of the Challenge launch.

Example Commitments

Aligned with the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees, the commitments can include a mixture of financial, technical and in-kind. For example:

  • Government and donors contributing to digital learning initiatives could commit to earmarking X% of their support for the inclusion of refugee-hosting schools and institutions. 
  • Host governments commit to including at least X% of schools hosting refugees or displaced learners in each phase of their connectivity and digital education rollouts.  
  • Technology companies commit that X% of all in-kind hardware donations go to support refugee-hosting schools or displaced scholars.  
  • Mobile Network Operators commit to connecting X number of schools hosting refugees or displaced learners. 
  • Partners provide critical funding to enable school connectivity for refugees to be scaled up and sustained. 

Challenge Launch

This challenge was proudly launched in December 2021 alongside the Global Refugee Forum High-Level Officials Meeting and the RewirED Summit.

It coincides with other commitments, including the Global Declaration on Connectivity for Education, providing the opportunity for actors to further reinforce their commitment to digital inclusion by specifying how they plan to meaningfully and safely include displaced populations within their ongoing digital learning programming.

© UNHCR/Assadullah Nasrullah. Kenya. Juba primary school.

Submit your commitment

If you would like to announce a Challenge Commitment, please submit your pledge using the form and process outlined here.

Join Us

If you’d like to be a Challenge Sponsor, please confirm your interest by contacting [email protected]