Global Education Initiative

Girls laugh as they hold chalkboard tablets in a primary school in Bunj, South Sudan, sponsored by Jesuit Relief Service. The community is host to more than 130,000 refugees from the Blue Nile region of Sudan, and JRS provides educational and psycho-social services to both refugees and the host community. (Paul Jeffrey/Misean Cara)

Launched in 2015, the GEI is an ambitious international campaign to enable us to open the doors of our education programs to 250,000 refugees each year by 2020. 

Raised – $41 M

Goal – $35,000,000

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Education is a life-saving intervention. Yet, among refugee children, only 61 percent are enrolled in primary school, 23% are enrolled in secondary school, and just one percent are enrolled in tertiary education.  

Rooted in a strong tradition of Jesuit education, JRS is committed to a five-year effort called the Global Education Initiative (GEI) to expand and strengthen our educational services. Launched in 2015, the GEI is an ambitious international campaign to enable us to open the doors of our education programs to 250,000 refugees each year by 2020. Our education programs cover pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education, informal and supplemental education, livelihoods and skill-building education, and teacher training programs. 

We are committed to ensuring quality learning opportunities for all. Our commitments include expanding initiatives promoting girls’ educational access and well-being in Malawi, Chad, and Afghanistan, mainstreaming mental health/psychosocial services and promoting social and emotional learning in its education programs, and expanding programming to support teachers to become certified.

Education during times of conflict and crisis provides vulnerable children and adults an opportunity to re-build their communities and create more hopeful futures. Everyone deserves the opportunity to be educated and fulfill their dreams.
Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director, JRS/USA

Three areas of focus:

  • Teacher Development – Inspired by the Jesuit tradition in education, JRS emphasizes the role of the teacher as a transformative educator who can provide more than just quality instruction. Teachers can create the kinds of inclusive environments where children feel safe to learn, reflect on their experiences, and develop their potential.
  • Enhancing Access to Secondary Education, with a focus on girls – Displaced children are at a disadvantage: fewer than 23% are able to access secondary education. Of this already small group, fewer than 30% of are girls. JRS recognizes this disparity, and offers focused programs that support girls as they progress throughout primary school and transition to secondary education.
  • Professional and Post-Secondary Education – JRS also offers programs that promote educational and professional goals for youth and adults. This can include language courses and professional skills trainings to promote sustainable livelihoods.

Key results

JRS has completed the campaign. Our goal for the end of 2020 was to increase the number of people served in our education and livelihoods programs from 150,000 to 250,000, and to raise an additional $35 million for this work and for necessary institutional strengthening. At the end of 2019, we were educating and training 359,175 people throughout the world, and we had raised $41 million toward our goals.

JRS/USA’s GEI Progress

JRS/USA has raised over $18.6 million towards this effort, including $1 million for secondary education in Africa and more than $2 million from the United States Government for our work in Chad.

Renewed commitment

With these significant accomplishments of the GEI as the foundation, we cannot step back from the challenging pace we have set. There is too much at stake. At this moment, nearly 80 million people are displaced around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed, delayed, and disrupted schools and education across the globe. Educational opportunities are more important than ever; JRS must find ways to continue to accompany young and older learners alike, especially those for whom the GEI opened the doors of education. Learn more about how JRS is adapting and adjusting our education programs during the global pandemic. `