- Vodafone Foundation and UN refugee agency, UNHCR, have expanded their Instant Network Schools programme into Mozambique, ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20.

The INS currently supports over 94,000 refugee students and communities in four African countries. Two new INS, in the Maratane Refugee Settlement and the city of Nampula, will benefit nearly 9,000 students in the 7th-12th grades, 25,000 family members and over 200 teachers.

The Maratane Refugee Settlement is located in Nampula Province and hosts one third of Mozambique's 28,000 refugees.

As of March 2021, more than 50% of the refugee primary school-aged children in the settlement were outside the primary education system, and more than 60% outside the secondary education system.

UNHCR supports a primary and a secondary school run by the Ministry of Education in Maratane Refugee Settlement for both refugee and host community children to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR have also established an INS in a public school in the provincial capital city, Nampula - 35km from the camp. It is the first time that the programme will be situated within an urban public school environment, maximising benefits to refugee and young learners.

Andrew Dunnett, director SDGs, sustainable business and foundations, Vodafone Group, said: 'Prior to 2020, refugee children were twice as likely to be out of school as a non-refugee child. COVID-19's onslaught of school closures, health needs, and loss of family livelihoods has exacerbated the risks of refugee children - and secondary school-age refugee girls in particular - not returning to school. Refugee students in Mozambique - where Maratane used to be called the forgotten camp - have faced particularly dire conditions and consequences to their continued safety, wellbeing, and learning.'

Samuel Chakwera, UNHCR's representative in Mozambique, added: 'Fostering quality learning in refugee settlements and camps remains a constant challenge as most of the time educational resources are not available in those settings. Through the Instant Network Schools programme in secondary schools in Maratane and Nampula, an innovation hub will be created in the classroom, bringing together education, innovation and protection.'

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