The UNICEF-IRC-Microsoft-Hewlett Packard group commits as a core partnership over the next three years to pilot-test 'Resilient Learning Communities' for displaced Middle East persons - interactive distance learning methods such as radio, TV, laptop, cell phone, computer kiosks, etc. in order to help Iraqi displaced children and youth transmit, receive, and exchange 'community information' and participate in appropriate education lessons based on their national curriculum. In addition, this partnership will test new distance-learning style supplementary education mechanisms for displaced children and youths.
The core partners will work with national government education authorities and NGO partners in each program setting. UNICEF will allocate staff time and expertise as well as some of its current funds for 'Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition Countries' to this innovative program. IRC will provide its program staff time and resources. Microsoft will contribute its technology capacity and products as appropriate. Hewlett Packard will contribute to the program's hardware development.
January - March 2008:
- Needs assessment in each setting and review of agency resource available.
- Development of 3 partner project team and terms of reference.
April - June 2008:
- Preliminary design of models, development of materials, training of program staff and educators
July - December 2008.
- Several rounds of pilot testing and analysis of tech tools and distance learning approaches
January 09 - December 10 Implementation on gradually expanding scale.
Children have the right to education, even in areas of conflict and where people are displaced from their home communities. This partnership is committed to working with local governments, civil society, and communities to develop and implement innovative ways to ensure that children affected by conflict have access to quality education.
As the UN Cluster lead in education in humanitarian situations and the agency with the largest education program base in these countries, UNICEF is committed to championing promising approaches that can make quality and relevant education available even in very difficult circumstances. It is also committed to the use of education as a tool for enhancing general quality of life, including issues of identity and community where lives have been disrupted.
Microsoft Corporation has been committed to addressing the digital divide and education technology needs in the Middle East for some time, and is eager to extend its support. The International Rescue Committee, one of the leading agencies providing education services directly on the ground in humanitarian situations and working with refugees, is keenly interested to explore new ways to make learning relevant for those displaced by war. Together, these agencies bring powerful complementary capacities to this challenge - they are presenting this commitment together.