November 5, 2016

Access to Education

Windle works across East Africa with governments, foundations, refugee and host communities and other NGOs to provide access to education for people who have been affected by conflict.

A girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in childbirth than to finish primary school.
Fewer than 2% of girls in Somalia attend secondary school.
Fewer than 12% of teachers in Uganda are female.

Girls face pressure to fulfill traditional roles as housekeepers and mothers rather than go to school.
Early and forced marriage or pregnancy leads to a high drop-out rate.
Limited available money for education is typically invested in boys and men.
Schools don’t provide proper facilities, including sanitation facilities, for girls.
Girls risk sexual assault on the way to school, or from male peers or teachers.

These are just some of the challenges and barriers.  Windle works to help girls overcome these barriers providing programmes that are specifically tailored to support girls needs across East Africa:



Girls Education in South Sudan (GESS) is a programme that will transform the lives of a generation of children in South Sudan – especially girls – through education.

GESS is an initiative of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction of South Sudan, funded by the UK Government and implemented by Windle Trust International amongst other NGOs.

The Girls Education for South Sudan is an educational initiative intended to benefit 200,000 girls in upper-primary and secondary schools across all the ten states. An estimated 300,000 boys will also benefit from the improved learning environment.

Education management will benefit from the introduction of an electronic attendance monitoring system – South Sudan School Attendance Monitoring Systems (SSSAMS) or Ana Fii Inni (I am here). Teachers and education managers will receive training and their strengthened skills will improve the quality of education.

Parents and communities will be targeted through awareness raising activities, aimed at improving their understanding of the value of education and changing attitudes towards girls’ education.



The Kenyan Equity in Education Project (KEEP) is a programme to improve the access to and quality of education for girls in Northern Kenya.  Working with four target communities (the Dadaab refugee camps and surrounding host communities of Fafi, Waji South and Dadaab, and the Kakuma refugee camps and their surrounding host communities in Turkana West). The project will work towards:

  • building girl-friendly school environments;
  • providing targeted support to female learners; and
  • generating parent and community support for girls’ education.


WTK works in partnership with WUSC (World University Services in Canada). In 2007, WUSC launched its in-camp strategy for refugee programming, with three key objectives:

  1. increasing girls’ access to education;
  2. improving quality of and access to formal and non-formal education; and
  3. increasing awareness amongst Canadians about refugee issues.

With support from 60 Million Girls Foundation in 2008, WUSC and WTK were able to pilot the girls’ education initiative. More than 100,000 text books have been purchased;  175,000 girls reached;  36 new classrooms built and 350 teachers trained in girl-friendly education.  A main component of the pilot was the remedial education courses. Thanks to the after-school courses, girls were able to catch up on their homework making them more confident in their abilities.


Hostels 2013_14 picture 2

In Sudan, Windle is supporting female refugees to attend Ahfad University in Khartoum under the DAFI (Albert Einstein) programme.

Part of the needs for any young refugee or internally displaced person is safe accommodation.  Windle provides accommodation for girls through the Ahfad Hostel project.  A safe space close to the University campus is provided for around 80 girls in four hostels in Omdurman, Khartoum.  Hear what one of the residents has to say

I used to regularly miss my lectures because of the long distance and lack of transport…sometimes I did not have enough money to pay the cost of transportation, in addition to the time I used to spend on domestic work to help my uncles’ wife. All these factors have greatly affected my academic performance, as well as negatively impacted on my psychological condition. When I joined the Unity hostel I started to achieve better results in my academic activities. Now, I am living very joyfully with my hostel colleagues with a wonderful social life and excellent academic surroundings. Without this opportunity my right to complete my study, and attain a degree would have been deprived.


school 2

Windle Trust Uganda offers children with a range of special needs, who require support to access primary education, a tailored programme run together with UNHCR.  This programme supports 285 of the most vulnerable children across the refugee settlements.  These children may have physical or mental disabilities, have no family support at all as orphans or young heads of households or be in some other way extremely vulnerable.



English Language Teaching is essential for access to education, justice, healthcare and within the refugee camps and settlements across East Africa.

Women can be disproportionately affected by limited English Language skills in refugee camps.  Girls and women can be denied healthcare because their husband or father will translate their symptoms, sometimes distorting or pre-empting answers to doctors’ questions on behalf of their wife or daughter.

Access to justice in cases of domestic violence, rape and murder can be similarly thwarted.

Windle offers single sex classes for English language for women and girls.  These classes boost confidence and improve awareness of the value of education.  Women who can communicate in English can then gain opportunities to work for international NGOs within the camp and develop a level of self-sufficiency.

Women are not the only recipients of ELT programmes.  Windle also runs classes for community elders.  These programmes bring together the many different tribes and ethnicities into one classroom promoting cohesion and an opportunity to overcome traditional past hostilities and have a significant impact in reducing the level of violence and improving community relations across the vast refugee camps.

Windle always seeks to listen to the communities it serves.  Supporting girls from the host population into education and improving the general quality of schools for all pupils in the areas around the refugee camps helps to diffuse tensions between the refugees and the local population.



South Sudan is the world’s newest country.  Part of the secession from Sudan was a decision to make English the official language and Windle has been improving the English Language skills of lawyers and other officials as they move away from Arabic Juba to English.   Working with a number of senior professionals, Windle in South Sudan trains lawyers and embassy staff in partnership with funding from the US State Department, US Embassy and International Development Law Organisation.