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Dadaab refugees benefit from technology and higher education initiatives

Technology and higher education are opening up new opportunities for refugees in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Abdullahi Mire arrived in Kenya at the age of three in 1991 to escape civil war in Somalia.

After completing his primary and secondary education in Dadaab, Abdullahi had the opportunity to pursue higher education. He is now set to become one of the first refugee students to graduate this year in Public Relations and Journalism.

His story – featured in the latest issue of “The Refugee”, a bi-monthly publication written by Dadaab residents – has been possible thanks to Kenyatta University, Dadaab satellite campus.

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A picture of Dadaab satellite campus, Kenyatta University, currently under construction

Set up in September 2012, Dadaab satellite campus aims to bring access to higher education to refugee students. Its courses include diploma, undergraduate and master’s programmes in Finance, Marketing, Project Management, Education, Public Administration, Community Mobilisation, and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Aware of the need for post-secondary education opportunities for refugee students, InZone started a partnership with Kenyatta University in 2013 with a view to setting up a Certificate in Community Interpreting for Dadaab refugee interpreters.

The programme will give a group of 25 interpreter students the opportunity to improve their interpreting skills and enhance their languages, with a focus on Somali and English.

“The presence of qualified interpreters will be instrumental in ensuring effective communication between refugees and the humanitarian organizations on the ground active in education, health care and community service," Barbara Moser-Mercer, founder and director of InZone, said.

"Qualified interpreters are also needed to ensure communication regarding the repatriation agreement recently signed by UNHCR and the governments of Kenya and Somalia,” she added.

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Dadaab satellite campus, Kenyatta University

The programme, scheduled to start in 2014, will take place both on site at the Dadaab satellite campus, and online within InZone’s virtual learning environment.

Students will be able to complete the course thanks to InZone’s innovative Learning Hub, a solar-powered computer lab specifically designed for use in Africa. Funded by the Canton of Geneva’s Bureau of International Solidarity, the hub is set to be transported to Dadaab during the next few weeks.

The Learning Hub underlines InZone’s commitment to provide training through innovative learning solutions specifically adapted to fragile contexts.

InZone already tested a miniature computer lab in Dadaab in 2013 to conduct a MOOC case study in partnership with education platform Coursera.

The case study shed light on the challenges faced by refugees when completing massive open online courses and provided important indications on how MOOCs can be re-thought in order to benefit learner communities in refugee camps.

Learn more about InZone’s case study. You can also download the Proceedings of the 2014 European MOOC Stakeholder Summit, held on 12-14 February 2014 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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