Field Note: Access to Higher Education: Reflections on a Participatory Design Process with Refugees

Refugees face significant challenges in accessing higher education. It is clear that new and diverse solutions are needed that both understand and address the contextual barriers to higher education access for refugees. In keeping with new approaches in the wider humanitarian community, which recognize the role communities can play in creating new education solutions, our organization sought to employ participatory design methods in the development of a new program to support access to higher education for refugees in the Middle East (mainly in Jordan and Lebanon). This note provides insights into the implementation of the participatory process and details the impact the participatory approach had on the design of our programs. Finally, we highlight the need for gender-balanced recruitment strategies and reflect on how the design of the participatory process benefited the participants and the initiating organization.


The authors discuss their work in the Behind the Pages podcast episode embedded below:

Resource Info

Resource Type

Journal Article


Published by

Journal on Education in Emergencies (JEiE)

Authored by

Oula Abu-Amsha, Rebecca Gordon, Laura Benton, Mina Vasalou, and Ben Webster


Community Participation
Levels of Learning - Tertiary Education

Geographic Focus

Region: Middle East