UNHCR Educate Girls Ideas Challenge, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)/ July 2015 – June 2016

Quality education is essential to enable refugees to live healthy and productive lives. The participation of girls and women in reconstructing societies is of vital importance, as evidence shows that families of educated females are better off economically and socially than those who have not received an education. Unfortunately, adolescent girls remain at a particular disadvantage when it comes to accessing and staying in school: globally, only 9 refugee girls are enrolled in primary school for every 10 refugee boys, and girl’s enrolment rates are particularly low at the secondary school level.

These Inspiring Girls Are Reading (TIGAR) is the winning idea of the Educate Girls Ideas Challenge, a space UNHCR Innovation has introduced for humanitarian workers, refugees, academics and other partners and stakeholders, to share practical experience, first-hand knowledge, and fresh ideas, to solve field-based challenges. TIGAR demonstrates and documents the effectiveness of an innovative and scalable community-based approach that aims to enable adolescent girls in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, forming small TIGAR Teams to support each other as they improve their literacy skills in and out of school. They are provided with access to a virtually unlimited library of open educational resources, and a learning management system that aims to enable them to plan, track and share progress on their own personal learning ladder. The project’s main objectives were: 1) Advocacy campaign: To raise awareness on the issues related to adolescent girls’ education; 2) Crowdsourced challenge: To identify innovative solutions that support adolescent girls in having increased access to, retention of and completed education; 3) Solution testing: Increase TIGAR Girls’ sense of agency, meaning and connection- leading to completing secondary education; 4) Communication and engagement: Increase active engagement and communication in the community on the topic of educational needs.

The engaging and appealing Advocacy Campaign took place from 18 August until 22 September, relying on three social media instruments: Twitter, Facebook and CrowdHall. Tweets earned 81,000 impressions, which amounted to 539.5% more impressions than the previous 28-day period. Also, retweets came from several relevant education and gender focused organisations including UN Foundation, BPRM, Girl Up, Desmond Tutu.

The 8-week UNHCR Ideas Challenge was then launched, gathering 30 ideas that were debated and voted by the public, receiving a total of 1,916 views globally. The top 6 ideas were later reviewed by a panel of experts in early 2015: the winning idea, TIGER: These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading was selected. 

In November 2015, implementation of the project began in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, reaching 120 girls, organized in 12 TIGER teams (22 of whom were out-of-school girls). The TIGER program had resulted in a demonstrated increase in confidence for each of the TIGER girls. Surveys conducted among TIGER girls in show a positive trend, indicating that girls were much more likely to stay in school after participating in TIGER (4.5 out of possible 5), and girls felt they had more power in affecting change in their lives and the lives of others. The TIGER girls’ achievements have been visible within the community which has shown vivid interest and support for the program.