Community Reception of the new school in Ali-Addeh Refugee camp in Djibouti

Side view of some of the 10 new classrooms funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and constructed by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) at Ali Addeh refugee camp in Djibouti to support conflict-affected children through education. All 10 classrooms have ramps, rails and wide doors to enhance access by learners with disabilities. Photo by Helene Wikstrom, April 2017

Community Reception of the new school in Ali-Addeh Refugee camp in Djibouti

The Lutheran World Federation is implementing a one year action titled “Supporting Conflict-Affected Children through Education in Ali Addeh refugee camp, Djibouti” funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and co-funded by the Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS), Church of Sweden (CoS) and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH). Additional contribution to the project comes from the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR).

The action started in June 2016 and will end in May 2017 with its principal objective being to ensure children in Ali Addeh camp enjoy equitable access to quality education in safe school environments.

Through ECHO funding, 10 classrooms and 17 gender-separated latrines have been constructed, in addition to the provision of 500 desks to enhance dignity and comfort of learners. The new classrooms and latrines have been designed and constructed to ensure unhindered access by learners with disability.

In a brief reception ceremony of the new school organized by LWF and the refugee community that was held on Sunday the 16th of April 2017, the refugee community expressed their gratitude to ECHO, ALWS and all other partners involved for their generous contributions towards improving the education infrastructure in the camp.

The local administration through a representative of the sous préfet Mr. Abdillahi Hussein urged the community to play its role of protecting such investments for the sake of refugees. Speaking on behalf of 30 members of the School Management Community (SMC) present during the ceremony, the SMC chairman Mr. Yusuf Mohamed referred to the new school as “a great treasure” that the community would work hard to safeguard while the SMC chairlady Kalsuma Abdi expressed excitement and thanked ECHO, ALWS and all other partners for supporting the project, adding that the community had advocated for additional classes for years and “for such a project to come to pass ... it was a dream come true...”

The Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Committee chairman Mr. Abdirizak Mohamud called the new school “a fruitful project” while community leaders represented by one section leader Mr. Yasin Omar congratulated ECHO, ALWS and all other partners who supported the action as well as LWF as the implementing partner for “a beautiful work” and challenged LWF to ensure that the quality of education offered to their children was “as beautiful...”

The LWF Projects Coordinator in Djibouti, Ms Truphena Kirior also thanked ECHO, ALWS and all other partners for their support towards education for refugee children in Djibouti and noted that there were still gaps to be bridged in order to comply with the Djibouti Education Standards relating to number of learners per classroom and learners per desk. "Close to a third of the 15,295 people in the camp are children of school-going age. There are 2,815 (1,299 girls) learners in the 4 preschools and they will soon be joining primary school" says Truphena. She further clarifies that due to the large number of learners especially in lower classes, LWF has introduced double shifts where some learners attend school only in the morning while others attend school in the afternoon.

2 of the 17 latrines have been constructed at the Child & Youth Friendly-Space (CYFS) which initially had none. Thanks to ECHO, the construction of latrines has led to increased usage of the CYFS, thus allowing for more interaction, closer monitoring and assessment of children and youth while at the facility. 

By James Macharia | Sub Programme Manager | Djibouti