In mid-June a four-member team from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Open Learning Exchange (OLE) will visit the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to evaluate the progress of an innovative community education initiative called the TIGER Girls Program. The TIGER program (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading) is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Relief & Development (IRD) with generous support from the UNHCR Innovation Fund and OLE International. The mission to Jordan is being jointly funded by the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and OLE International.
Za’atari, home to 80,000+ Syrian refugees and the largest refugee camp in Jordan, was selected to pilot the TIGER Girls program. Syrian refugees and refugee girls in particular, are at high risk of dropping out of formal education by the time they reach high school. A recently released regional report on out of school children by UNICEF and UNESCO estimates that 1 in 4 school age students in the region are out of school due to ongoing conflicts. OLE conceived the TIGER program in an effort to encourage and support the continued participation of young refugee women in the educational process. The program aims to engage Syrian girls in learning process by providing learning “coaches” drawn from the local community who are trained to deliver project-based learning methodologies while supporting individual learning objectives for each girl. The goal of the program is to enable additional learning opportunities, and to increase the sense of personal agency, meaning, and connection of the girls within their communities thereby providing added incentive to stay in or re-enroll in formal schooling.
The TIGER program is centered around a project-based learning methodology where the girls work in teams to develop and implement community oriented projects. Community participation and oversight is achieved by having the program vetted by a community advisory council made up of stakeholders from the community. By deploying the OLE open learning platform, the girls also have access to hundreds of educational resources via an off-line digital library and learning system. In Za’atari, where quality educational resources are very limited, the OLE learning platform provides the girls with educational resources across a variety of subject areas such as health, the arts, language, and mathematics to name just a few subjects available.
Since September 2015, a team of graduate students at the HGSE has been working with OLE to evaluate and monitor the TIGER pilot program. As a capstone to this effort and in preparation of the final report, recent HGSE graduates Farida El-Gueretly, Anina Hewey, and Sonya Temko will travel to Jordan together with Rory Phimister, the OLE Global Programs Director. During the visit, the team will meet with stakeholders at all levels including the TIGER coaches, the TIGER girls, and senior staff from UNHCR and IRD in order to conduct interviews, carry out training, and collect data. The team will also evaluate the proposed path to scale the program and document evidence needed to replicate the program in similar contexts around the world.
To date the Tiger program has been funded on a shoestring budget. What is clear is that these girls are motivated to learn. What they need is the opportunity to access quality education that fosters leadership, confidence, and a love for learning. We believe that the TIGER Girls Program provides a model for what is possible. We hope you will join us in supporting the TIGER Girls Program by providing a one-time or recurring donation via our GlobalGiving campaign. Your support is very much appreciated!