Vivian Tan, UNHCR Representative ad interim in China (left © UNHCR) and Stephen Ha, General Manager of TECNO (right © TECNO), signed the partnership agreement.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the learning conditions of refugee children, causing school closures in Africa over the school year. By contributing financially to the EAC program, TECNO’s support has benefited children in Kenya’s Dadaab camp by providing them with textbooks and school kits. In addition, TECNO donated tablets to support continued learning of refugee children during school closure, as well as 50,000 medical face masks for UNHCR Kenya to support its COVID-19 response.
In 2021, TECNO and UNHCR will continue the partnership to benefit a total of 10,670 refugee children in Uganda and Kenya. TECNO’s financial contribution to the EAC program will contribute to the holistic intervention in these locations including improvement of school infrastructure, material assistance to students, training for teachers, and support for refugee students with special needs.
Uganda and Kenya are amongst the world’s top host countries for refugees. Uganda is the largest one in Africa. Over half of the refugees in the two countries are below 18 years old (58% in Uganda and 53% in Kenya). While some refugees may have the access to study in public educational institutions, the shortage of learning resources has put many refugee children at risk of dropping out of school. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, continuous commitment from TECNO is important to support a safe school reopening and better access for refugee children to continue their primary education, laying the foundation for them to pursue higher education in the future.
Vivian Tan, UNHCR Representative ad interim in China, expressed appreciation for the continued support from TECNO. “UNHCR welcomes this renewed partnership,” she said. “COVID-19 has interrupted learning in many countries, and refugee children are no exception. Support from our private sector partners like TECNO is critical for UNHCR to continue and strengthen our efforts to support refugee learners and students to continue their education in this difficult time, and in the post-COVID time. The Chinese private sector can play an important role in addressing the gaps in refugee education globally, including providing financial contribution, technology and innovative solutions. We hope more Chinese private sector actors will be inspired by the partnership between TECNO and UNHCR.”
Stephen Ha, General Manager of TECNO said, “With the renewed partnership with UNHCR, we hope to continue our support in improving the learning conditions of refugee children. As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, TECNO is committed to giving back to the community where we are present. In the post-COVID time, we will amplify our efforts, especially using digital solutions to increase educational opportunity and enhance education quality for children in Africa so that they could receive better education and be better connected with the world.”
©UNHCR Samuel Otieno
©UNHCR Vincent Tremeau
Inclusive and equitable quality education is Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is also a long-term goal for UNHCR. Since 2020, UNHCR has been working with different partners to implement the EAC program that aims to provide 365,000 out-of-school children with primary education in 14 operations by 2022. Out of the 14 countries, Kenya and Uganda are two key operations. Despite the huge impact of COVID-19, UNHCR remains committed to advancing inclusive and equitable quality education for refugee children.
By the end of 2020, an estimated 4.2 million children and youth of concern to UNHCR have been affected by the pandemic globally. Once out of school, many refugee children will never return. UNHCR has been making efforts to create more equitable and inclusive educational access for displaced and refugee children so that they could all return to school. UNHCR and TECNO will deepen their partnership, through which they hope to engage more with corporate employees, partners and the wider public audience to strengthen understanding and support for education in Africa.