Education for all, no matter who they are

Ensuring continuity of education for children in Kassala through Alternative learning programmes

Hadeel Agab
27 November 2020

Sudan has the highest rate of out-of-school children in the Middle East and North Africa region. Over 3 million children aged 5 to 13 years are out-of-school – more than half of them are girls.

More than 513,000 children live in Kassala state in Eastern Sudan, among them 405,758 children who are out of school, the majority of whom are displaced and refugees.

Every year, there are more than 400 school-aged children in Alshuahad community in Kassala, while only 50 to 60 children of these are enrolled in schools, with the rest being out-of-school. These out-of-school children are usually enrolled in alternative learning programmes, with limited possibility to be transferred to formal school.

Kassala Children
The graduation ceremony of Alshuhada ALP center in Kassala state, Eastern Sudan

Alternative Learning Programmes (ALP)

The Integrated education and child protection activities in one of the alternative learning programme (ALP) centers in Kassala, increased the enrollment of out-of-school children.

In July 2019, the Ministry of Education in Kassala, together with the Al Shuhada community, celebrated this achievement and awarded certificates of success to seventy girls and six boys who completed the ALP programme and passed the primary school exam for the year 2018/2019.

More than 500 community members attended the event. The students were applauded for being role models for other out-of-school boys and girls in the region.

Kassala Children
Adolescents presentations during the Hackathon held in Alshuhahada ALP center in Kassala state, eastern Sudan

UNICEF Sudan was able to reach 100 adolescents in four localities in Kassala state. The adolescents gained experience on life skills and problem solving and they were able to develop innovative solutions around the theme:

How can we provide a user-friendly, gender-sensitive, culturally-appropriate social innovation solutions so that adolescents have access to financial institutions and livelihood opportunities to increase their employability”.

Alshuhuda ALP center computer lab in Kassala state, Eastern Sudan

One of the recommendations that were raised by the children in the center’s HACKAthon, was the need for a computer lab. UNICEF Sudan was able to establish the lab and provide the essential tools to be ready to receive the students.

According to the director of AL Shuhada center, before UNICEF’s intervention, few boys and girls used to come to the center and if they came they would often drop-out after a short time (no boy progressed to the upper classes). Today, many families come to the center to get their children enrolled; a second chance for education!

Many thanks to the Government of Germany for making this possible.