E-Learning Innovation Restores Hope For Uganda’s Refugee Children

Nov. 9, 2021

Schools across Uganda have closed their doors for more than 77 weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s longer than anywhere else in the world. Through our e-learning innovation, Can’t Wait to Learn, War Child is restoring hope for 7,000 children from refugee and host communities.

Launch Event

Today - as part of our INCLUDE project funded by the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations - War Child will launch Can’t Wait to Learn in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. This landmark event signals a light at the end of the tunnel for thousands of refugee children across the country.

High-ranking officials including Hon. Dr. Joyce Moriku, the State Minister of Education will be in attendance as well as key UNHCR representatives.

Navigating Learning During COVID-19

Since COVID-19 swept the country, the tablet-based e-learning programme has offered a vital alternative to learning in the classroom. Besides it flexible operating model - the tablets don’t require an active internet connection - the delivery of the programme has also been carefully adapted to meet the needs of the changing environment.

As part of the transition to distance learning, COVID-19 awareness raising was incorporated, for example through the dissemination of water, sanitation and hygiene materials. Can’t Wait to Learn teachers and ‘facilitators’ go house-to-house to check in with the whole family and clean and re-charge the tablets.

“War Child staff conduct routine checks on us and my mother was taken through the ‘Caregiver Manual’ which helps her support me when I’m stuck”, says Scovia (10) who lives in Rhino Camp. “I enjoy the phonics games, my reading is improving - there are a lot of interesting stories which motivate me to complete.”

Reaching More Children

Despite increased access challenges due to nationwide lockdowns, our mobile teams have succeeded in reaching 3,125 children in 8 refugee settlements in the last 18 months.

Now, we will extend our support to Kyangwali, with intentions to reach an additional 705 children by the close of the year.


Education and Mental Health

For children like 14-year-old Violet - a refugee from South Sudan - this can’t come quick enough. “I used to enjoy school with my friends - we would play, share ideas and go to class together”, she says. “When schools closed, I became bored, so I’d wander the streets; moving from place to place.”

As 77-weeks of hard-closures look set to hold until January, Violet and others have no other option but to stay home - home often being a hut in a crowded refugee camp. With parents unable to put food on the table and tensions rising, many children are at heightened risk of domestic violence, child labour and other forms of exploitation.

Besides its potential to transform their future, Can’t Wait to Learn offers children hope and has been proven to contribute to improved self-esteem. "In several country contexts, research shows that the creative educational games have a measurable positive effect on children's wellbeing", says Felicity Brown, War Child Regional Senior Researcher.

For more on INCLUDE and what we do in Uganda go here.