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Together for Learning

Education for refugee, other forcibly displaced, and host community children and youth

Together for Learning is an international 3-year campaign to promote quality education and lifelong learning for children and youth who are:

  • refugees
  • forcibly displaced from their home region, due to violence, natural disasters or other causes
  • living in host communities where refugees or displaced people are staying

Together for Learning promotes partnerships by bringing together children and youth, communities, civil society organizations, national governments and global stakeholders.

Together, we aim to drive community, national and global change to make sure that all children and youth have access to quality education and that nobody gets left behind.

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Key areas of work

The Together for Learning campaign includes the following 4 key areas of work where Canada is driving progress.

1. Programming excellence

Building on Canada’s leadership through the Charlevoix Education Initiative, Canada will continue to deliver programming to make sure all children and youth, especially girls, have access to quality education.

We aim to deepen our impact by:

  • sharing lessons learned and best practices drawn from our programming portfolio
  • developing programming tools and guidance to inform future programming
  • taking innovative approaches and working with Canadian civil society and multilateral partners to help deliver Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance

Together, these efforts will deepen our impact for refugee, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth.

2. Diplomatic engagement

Canada continues to work with country partners, local governments, Canadian civil society, multilateral partners and other education stakeholders to drive forward policy dialogue and advocacy for the education of all children and youth, including refugee, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth.

3. Amplifying local voices

Canada commits to listen and learn from the voices of refugees, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth, parents, teachers and community leaders through the following main channels:

  • the Refugee Education Council created in consultation with Canadian civil society and hosted by World Vision Canada. The Refugee Education Council is made up of youth advocates, community leaders, teachers and parents from developing countries. It allows us to hear and learn from local voices and their lived experiences.
  • engagement with the Canadian public, including refugee and diaspora populations within Canada, to amplify their voices.

4. Building the evidence base

Canada works with Canadian and international data partners. We aim to solve the gap in gender-sensitive and disaggregated data and evidence relevant to the children and youth targeted by the campaign.

Context

There is a global learning crisis: millions of children aren’t developing the essential skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Conflict, the climate crisis, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic are threatening hard-won global gains in education. The impacts are especially severe for refugee, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth, especially girls. These are the ones who are most at risk of being left behind.

Factors that marginalize people, such as displacement, create significant barriers to education:

  • about 3.7 million refugee children are out of school, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency
  • girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school if they live in conflict-affected countries
  • only about 7 refugee girls are enrolled in secondary level education for every 10 refugee boys
  • children in crisis- and conflict-affected areas are 30% less likely to finish primary school and half as likely to finish lower-secondary school

We must act quickly. If we do not, many of these children risk never being able to access quality education and lifelong learning.

For Canada, this means education that is:

  • Equitable: All children, regardless of their background, situation and ability, should have access to the same quality of education.
  • Inclusive: National education systems must include all children, including refugees. No child or youth can be left behind, especially those most vulnerable, such as:
    • children and youth with disabilities,
    • girls and adolescent girls,
    • refugees,
    • internally displaced persons,
    • those living in host communities.
  • Gender-responsive: Learning spaces must be responsive to the specific needs of girls and boys. We must break down the barriers that prevent girls from completing their education.
  • Conflict sensitive: Learning initiatives should not increase tensions or conflict. They should understand the context in which education takes place, including relevant conflict dynamics, and build capacities for peace.
  • Locally driven: Education cannot be one-size-fits-all: every context is different, and each requires a tailored approach. National governments must lead education that addresses the needs of communities, including the needs the communities themselves have identified.

Alignment with Canada’s existing policies on education

The campaign:

  • contributes to the government’s response to COVID-19 and the current global education crisis
    • In 2019, the Minister of International Development’s mandate letter committed to “lead an international campaign to ensure that all refugee and displaced children can get the education they need and deserve”.
  • responds to Canada’s existing priority on education for girls in conflict and crisis settings
  • aligns with the need to address the education of the most vulnerable and marginalized
    • This priority is identified in the Human Dignity Action Area of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. This will better support equal educational opportunities for women and girls in developing countries. It will also contribute to achieving quality education (Sustainable Development Goal #4).

Get involved

Take part in the #TogetherForLearning social media challenge!

We challenge Canadians and partners to come together! Take action and create awareness about the importance of quality education and learning for refugee, other forcibly displaced and host community children and youth.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Highlight the work of an organization led by local refugees or other forcibly displaced persons
  • Celebrate a partner that shares our objectives of quality education and lifelong learning for refugee, other forcibly displaced or host community children and youth
  • Highlight data and evidence on the education of refugee, other forcibly displaced or host community children and youth
  • Share your voice if:
    • you are or were a refugee or displaced child, youth, teacher, parent or member of a host community
    • you are part of the refugee/internally displaced person diaspora in Canada, and/or are working with and advocating for these populations

Make sure to tag #TogetherForLearning in your posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Events

Events and activities hosted by Global Affairs Canada and partners.

Upcoming events

Past events

Together for Learning Summit

On March 30 and 31, 2022, Canada hosted the Together for Learning Summit: Engaging Displaced Youth to Transform Education. Through interactive virtual sessions, participants had the opportunity to learn from the educational experiences of displaced youth, engaging with them as problem solvers and decision makers. Participants collaborated on solutions to promote quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth experiencing forced displacement as well as host community children and youth.

The following participants attended the Together for Learning Summit:

  • youth leaders, including members of the Refugee Education Council
  • ministers of education and officials from countries hosting refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs)
  • ministers of international development and officials from donor countries
  • heads of international development agencies
  • representatives of civil society, multilateral organizations and the private sector

The Together for Learning Summit focused on 3 core themes:

  • inclusive and high-quality education
  • gender equality
  • technology and innovation

The following documents were released as part of the Together for Learning Summit:

  • The Youth Manifesto entitled “Vision for the Education of Refugee and Displaced Learners” was written by and for youth and includes a call to action for governments, civil society, multilateral organizations and the private sector. It focuses on 5 core areas: inclusion, mental health and psychosocial support, digital learning, gender equality and accountability.
  • The Youth Anthology entitled “Learning from Disrupted Learners” is a compilation of stories and reflections from refugee and displaced youth.
  • The Together for Learning Summit outcome document entitled “Together with Youth” responds to the Youth Manifesto that outlines the signatories’ shared commitments.

Meetings ahead of the Together for Learning Summit

Youth dialogues (December 2021 and January 2022)

In the lead-up to the Together for Learning Summit in March 2022, World University Service of Canada (WUSC) organized 4 regional dialogues. These dialogues brought together youth participants from the Middle East, East Africa, West Africa and Latin America.

Through their stories and experiences of forced migration, the participants contributed to the development of the Youth Manifesto.

Government negotiations (February and March 2022)

In response to the Youth Manifesto, government officials discussed the calls to action formulated by the youth in the Youth Manifesto. Together, government officials negotiated their response, outlining their commitments to education. These negotiations resulted in the release of Together with Youth, the Together for Learning Summit outcome document during the Summit.

Contact us

For any questions relating to the campaign, please contact the Together for Learning team at together-education-ensemble@international.gc.ca.

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