Windle provides education and training to conflict-affected communities in East Africa and upholds a strategy of building the capacity of those communities and equipping them with the skills to resolve challenges of development and work towards peaceful solutions.
Twenty years ago UNHCR regarded education as outside their core mandate. About ten years ago they agreed to include education as a core activity. Education is now the TOP priority in refugee programming and the biggest aid agencies are rushing to engage with it. Windle realised this twenty-five years ago and we still hold on to the vision:
Education transforms the life of an individual and also that of his or her community. It enables refugees to make a constructive investment in their future and equips them to overcome the challenges they face.
Education builds the confidence of women and other vulnerable individuals so that they can speak up for themselves.
Education fosters cooperation and understanding between differing ethnicities and tribal backgrounds and minimises the potential for outbreaks of violence within the refugee camps and settlements.
Education breaks the cycle of conflict by providing refugees with the skills they need when they return to their country of origin. Failure to invest in education leaves communities without the skills to manage peaceful development.
Windle programmes include access to university level education in Europe and North America as well as in Africa. The UK Masters programme selects individuals, who remain committed to returning to Africa to help rebuild their communities shattered by war and conflict and has a policy of not contributing to the ‘brain-drain’. This provision of high quality education also guards against conflict-affected people taking desperate and illegal journeys to the West that risk their lives or leaving young people vulnerable to recruitment into armed conflict or terrorist initiatives.
Windle believes that quality education can support individuals to become very effective promoters of positive change.