17 October 2018
Distinguished Managing Partners and Agencies of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
On behalf of the Kenyatta University fraternity I wish to thank all of you most sincerely for choosing Kenyatta University’s Main Campus as the venue for the INEE 2018 meeting.
Provision of education in emergencies worldwide continues to be a critical issue with approximately 60 million refugees worldwide.
Academic institutions therefore need to wake up to the call by providing relevant education not only to refugees, but also to the humanitarian service providers and governments handling refugees worldwide.
Thus, institutions of higher learning have an obligation to make a contribution to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals in which education is pivotal. In the context of refugees, that education must be relevant and equip its recipients with knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies as they arise.
Kenyatta University attaches great importance to the provision of higher education to refugees, with the aim of developing skills to enable them live healthy and productive lives, and promote sustainable, peaceful coexistence.
In 2010 the University went out to explore the challenges that refugee students faced in Dadaab Refugee Camp. It was at this juncture that it became apparent that there were very few actors in the field who were supporting higher education for refugees.
With further consultations, the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project, which began in Dadaab in 2013, was born. The project aimed at:
Through partnership with other players in provision of higher education in emergencies, Kenyatta University has collaborated with the University of Geneva, York University, Windle Trust Kenya, and local universities such as Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology an Moi University to offer higher education to refugees in Dadaab and now in Kakuma.
Recently, Kenyatta University in collaboration with University of Geneva and UNHCR, hosted a two weeks Geneva Summer School, the first time the School was held outside Geneva.
The Summer School brought together stakeholders and host communities of higher education for refugees worldwide. It is amazing to see the high level of interest shown by various countries, universities, the UN, international organizations and agencies in ensuring that education in emergencies is made available to all those in need.
It is my hope that as you congregate in Nairobi this year, you will explore the best practices that can be benchmarked for use in the African context where most refugees and youth learning in crisis contexts are located, and are continually emerging. African institutions of higher learning with an interest in education in emergencies therefore, deserve more and more support in providing opportunities for higher education to the ever growing number of youth fleeing their countries for refugees in neighbouring countries and beyond.
Kenyatta University is committed to partnering with the INEE community to enhance our ability in providing higher education in emergencies. As an institution committed to innovation and research, we are also open to partner in conducting research on emerging phenomena on emergencies.
I once again thank you most sincerely for choosing Kenyatta University as the venue for your meeting, which also marks the beginning of our collaboration with the INEE family.