INEE Wins Innovative Policy Award

Published by
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)
Humanitarian Sectors - Education
Inclusive Education

The INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, together with the INEE Toolkit, was recently recognized as one of 12 “Innovative Policies 2016” at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria.

ZPThe INEE products were highlighted at the 2016 Zero Project Conference, an international summit on inclusive education and ICTs, attended by more than 500 experts in the field from around the world. The INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery (INEE Minimum Standards), together with the INEE Toolkit, including the INEE Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education, as well as the INEE Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities, were recognized as exemplary in the areas of innovation, outcome & impact, and transferability, as they articulate the minimum level of educational quality and access, including for all children with disabilities. Education for all children has been referenced in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the Right to Education in Emergency Situations of 2010, which made the provision of education in emergencies mandatory worldwide.

Group photo

INEE presented the INEE Minimum Standards and the two pocket guides at a panel session entitled "Inclusive education in emergency and refugee situations". The panel included a range of professionals working on education in emergency settings:

  • Chair: Edgard SEIKALY, UNICEF, Denmark
  • Karen CHESTERTON KHAYAT, Massey University, New Zealand and Iraq
  • Joseph Mburu EVANS, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan
  • Angelo EBENGO MUZALIWA, Initiative for Refugees living with Disability (IRD), Rwanda
  • Ingrid LEWIS, Enabling Education Network (EENET)
  • Laura DAVISON, Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

The session highlighted the need for inclusive education in emergency situations and showcased some of the innovative practices taking place in areas affected by humanitarian crises, including Afghanistan, the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI), and Uganda. Panelists discussed the vast needs for learners with disabilities in crisis-affected contexts, the lack of resources to meet learners’ needs, as well as the opportunities to build inclusive education systems and the incredible efforts of national and international partners, families, and caregivers to ensure children with disabilities can access education in the most challenging circumstances.

Education in emergencies panel at the 2016 Zero Project Conference.

In Afghanistan, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan works with local partners to ensure early identification and intervention with referrals to health facilities, placement in Community Based Rehabilitation Centres (CRDCs), and mainstreaming in public schools. In KRI, the Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF ensures access for all learners to all schools by providing support and training to teachers and using simple, low-cost resources to include all children in the mainstream education system. In Rwanda, the Initiative for Refugees living with Disability (IRD) improves access to education for refugee children with disabilities in Gihembe refugee camp, as well as for urban refugees in Kigali.

The INEE Minimum Standards serve as an overall policy and practice tool that agencies use to advocate for inclusive education in emergencies. The INEE Pocket Guides help explain inclusive education principles to non-expert audiences and suggest some easy-to-achieve actions that education programme managers and teachers can take to improve the inclusion of all learners, especially those with disabilities.

From the session on inclusive education in emergency and refugee situations, five key messages emerged and were reported in the final plenary of the conference:

  1. Firstly, Education For All as set out in the Dakar Framework for Action, really does mean education for all, including those children, numbering 65 million, whose education has been disrupted by humanitarian crises. That includes those who have disabilities, whether as a result of the natural or man-made disaster or from prior to the disaster.
  2. Secondly, education in emergency situations arguably requires more focus on ensuring access for persons with disabilities given that natural and man-made disasters cause physical and psychological damage to people, and that persons with disabilities are likely to face increased risks and suffer even more of a disadvantage in terms of access to aid (including food, water, shelter), precisely because they are unable to physically access food distribution points, water points, sanitation facilities, schools, and so on.
  3. Pictorial Summary
    A pictorial essay of the EiE panel session. 
    Thirdly, education in emergencies provides an opportunity to build inclusive education systems from the beginning in situations where education systems have largely or sometimes entirely broken down.
  4. Fourthly, support and training for educators working in emergency situations is critical to the success of inclusive education interventions, given that teachers are often untrained and themselves are also often traumatized as a result of the crisis. Proper training and awareness-raising provides an opportunity for teachers to ensure accessibility for all learners, according to their needs.
  5. Finally, but probably most importantly, inclusive education is “democracy in action”. It offers a chance to build broken societies and bring people together across former divides to face a common challenge to provide all learners with equitable access to safe and relevant education, as well as to instill a culture of acceptance of difference and diversity.

Find out more about the INEE innovative policy award at the Zero Project Website:

Present to accept the award on behalf of INEE were Laura Davison, INEE Working Group Coordinator, and Ingrid Lewis, Director of Enabling Education Network (EENET) and Convener of the INEE Inclusive Education Task Team.

The Zero Project
The Zero Project focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face are shared. The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2010, and is run in partnership with the World Future Council since 2011 and with the European Foundation Centre since 2013. The mission of the Zero Project is to work for a world without barriers, according to the principles and Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

Further information:
More about the 2016 Zero Project Conference:
The full Zero Project Report 2016: See pages 148-149 for the summary of the INEE Minimum Standards and INEE Toolkit.

Zero Project Contact:
Ingrid Heindorf, Zero Project Policy Research & Conference Organisation
Phone: +41 (0)79 523 81 27