Providing quality education to refugees is a serious challenge and is growing more complex, with trends toward more prolonged refugee crises. More than half of the six million school-age children under UNHCR’s protection mandate are not in school. Only 50% of all refugee children attend primary school (compared to more than 90% of all children globally), and only 22% of adolescent refugees attend secondary school (UNHCR, 2016). These challenges are particularly pronounced in Kenya, which hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab, the largest refugee camp complex in the world.
The American Institutes for Research (AIR), the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and its local partner Windle Trust Kenya (WTK), are partnering to rigorously evaluate the impact of the Equity in Education in Refugee Camps in Kenya (EERCK) program. The EERCK program provides remedial education to grades 7 and 8 girls in the refugee camps of Dadaab and Kakuma in Kenya. It targets medium to high achiever girls who might be at risk of dropping out of school because of their vulnerable condition. The evaluation is funded by UNICEF under the Humanitarian Education Accelerator, which aims to generate rigorous evidence to understand how to transform high-potential pilot projects into scalable education initiatives for refugees and displaced communities worldwide.
AIR designed a two-part study to evaluate the impact of the EERCK program on cognitive and noncognitive skills for the 2017 and the 2018 cohort. In Kakuma, AIR is conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT). We randomly assigned 679 eligible girls to the treatment group and 559 eligible girls to the control group. In Dadaab, AIR is conducting a quasi-experimental evaluation that uses a regression discontinuity design to determine the impact of the program. AIR will compare the outcomes from 496 girls who were above the cut off for admittance into the program to 179 comparison girls who were just below the cut off for admittance. We will supplement the quantitative analyses with qualitative methods that include focus group discussions with students, teachers, and parents, key informant interviews, as well as classroom observations.
In addition to the evaluation, AIR co-facilitates bootcamps in partnership with UNICEF, UNHCR, and DFID. During these bootcamps AIR provides monitoring & evaluation training to a wide range of policy makers and practitioners, including representatives from WUSC. The bootcamps contribute to the capacity of WUSC to credibly monitor and evaluate the performance of its program through internal monitoring and evaluation procedures.