In November and December of 2017, Sky School ran a pilot course on the topic of social entrepreneurship in Amman (Jordan), Athens (Greece) and Kakuma Camp (Kenya). Keep reading to find out more about what happened and how the course went.

16 March, 2018

In November and December of 2017, Sky School ran its first course: a six week course on social entrepreneurship for 50 students aged between 16 and 25 years old in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya; Athens, Greece and Amman, Jordan. Students studied via a blended learning approach: learning online for four hours per week via an app provided by our technology partner, Aula Education, and coming together for six hours per week a local learning centre where they were supported by a facilitator from our local partner organisations.

We received over 200 applications for the course, with many students applying from countries - from Indonesia to Denmark -  where we did not have a learning hub. To account for this demand, we also made the course available as an online-only study course, to which we admitted 40 students.

The course

The course focused on social entrepreneurship, and more specifically on ‘How to Become a Changemaker’. The course curriculum was developed by teachers at our partner school, UWCSEA, with the help of a wider group of teachers and refugee learners. Throughout the course, students learned about existing social entrepreneurship projects, the relationship between social entrepreneurship and migration and human-centered design. They were also mentored in understanding their own skills and how they are able to use them, and worked on identifying problems within their communities. One of our students said: ‘’I enjoyed the course because I was able to dream big as much as I want’’.

Students put their learnings into practice by designing their own social entrepreneurship project, aimed at tackling an issue that exists in their community. We were hugely impressed by the projects that students developed over the course of just a few weeks: Students in Amman, Jordan, started a campaign to inform their peers about sexual violence towards girls in their community in. Students in Kenya developed an initiative to use solar power to improve internet access in the camp, and students in Athens devised a campaign to combat police harassment.

Delivery model

In each location the llearning hubs were set up in collaboration with partner organisations. In Amman we worked with Ahlan and Al Tareeq (The Path), in Athens our partner was ELIX, and in Kakuma Camp we partnered with URISE. These organisations provided facilitators and venues - as well as curriculum contextualisation - while Sky School provided the course content, technology and overarching coordination.

In each hub, facilitators spoke several languages which helped in communicating with students whose first language was not English. In addition, some of the facilitators were themselves displaced persons, and had a deep understanding of the mindset of students. Our online-only course also involved remote facilitators who helped guide students through the course and supported them in their learning.  

Results and insights

Feedback from the short course was overwhelmingly positive. The course saw an overall retention rate of 72%. 86% of students rated the course with an 8 (out of 10) or higher, while 91% of students agreed that the content and materials were well-suited to their level. When asked what they enjoyed most about the course, responses varied from learning about existing social entrepreneurship projects to interacting with other students. 100% of students who completed the course said that they would recommend it to a friend, and 95% of the graduating students expressed an intention to continue their projects, with one student saying: ‘’I want to offer opportunities to the refugees who are suffering.’’

Gathering feedback from students and facilitators has been of enormous value in further developing the Sky School curriculum. The first course has been a great success, and has shown us that the way of working we are developing works well for refugee learners. One of our students described it as follows: ‘’After the course ended I observed that my way of thinking has changed positively in terms of addressing a problem and finding a solution for it. Now I can see problems as chances to make a difference.’’

We are so grateful to all participants for their time and effort - as well as their willingness to participate in an entirely new programme. We also want to extend our gratitude to our partner organisations and in particular the course facilitators, for their tireless efforts to make the Sky School pilot course a successful foundation that we can build on in the future. To get a glimpse of the course from the students’ perspectives, check out our video.