Part I of this brief discussed the barriers refugee girls face to continuing their education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The barriers fall into three main categories: financial issues, gendered norms about the value of educating girls, and outright gender-based and sexual violence. Part II focuses on solutions, not only to overcome these barriers in the short-term, but to create greater gender equity in refugee education in the long-term.
Based on USCRI's research, recommendations from NGOs and agencies on the ground, and innovations currently being implemented during the pandemic, here are USCRI's top recommendations for ensuring educational gender parity among refugees during and in the aftermath of the pandemic:
- Fully fund education while ensuring that funds benefit boys and girls equally
- Provide a variety of remote learning options, some of which do not require a computer or internet access, while encouraging families to share their technology access with their girls
- Increase family support for girls' education by providing financial incentives and sensitization on the importance of educating girls
- Combat gender discrimination through both short-term solutions and longer-term dismantling of gender-discriminatory policies
- Hold perpetrators of discrimination and gender-based violence accountable, from harassment on the way to school, to sexual assault, to child marriage
One notable gap in the existing literature on solutions is the role that men and boys can and should play in promoting girls' education. Short-term solutions proposed by various NGOs too often focus on girls as the only solution to problems that are largely caused by men, leaving males unaccountable for creating change and falling short of actually dismantling gender hierarchies. Hence, USCRI's last two recommendations reflect the need for more systemic change, which cannot be achieved without demanding that males participate in creating solutions and holding them accountable when they perpetuate gender inequality.