Premium smartphone brand TECNO has announced the renewal of its partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support its Refugee Scholarships Programme DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative). The partnership aims to provide higher education and possible job opportunities to refugee scholars in Africa, unlocking their full potential to thrive as adults, and ultimately contributing to equal access to education for all.
As of now, more than one per cent of the world’s population is forcibly displaced. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict continued to drive new displacement in 2022, pushing the number of those forced to flee cross the staggering milestone of 100 million for the first time on record.
In times of displacement, higher education is crucial. Education empowers by giving refugees the knowledge and skills to live productive, fulfilling and independent lives. It improves mental wellbeing and offers a stable and safe environment for those who need it most. It also helps young people to carry on building futures for themselves, their families and their communities.
However, at tertiary level, refugee enrolment stands at only five per cent, compared with 68 per cent at primary level and 34 per cent at secondary level. Too many refugees are denied the opportunity to explore their potential through higher education, where they can advance their own skills, knowledge and professional careers as well as innovation and research that can improve lives.
Since 2020, TECNO has joined UNHCR to provide quality primary education to more than twenty thousand of refugee children in Africa through their financial contribution to the Educate A Child (EAC) programme in Kenya and Uganda. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic devastated learning conditions for refugee children, TECNO helped close the gap with an emergency donation of tablets to support learning for refugee children during school closure. In addition, TECNO donated 50,000 medical face masks to UNHCR Kenya’s COVID-19 response.
As we continue to provide education opportunities in Africa, barriers to higher education need to be addressed and refugee access to the labour market needs to be expanded. In 2022, TECNO expanded the partnership with UNHCR to tertiary education, supporting refugee scholars in Africa to complete four-year higher education. In addition, TECNO will provide internship opportunities at its branches or subsidiaries in Africa for refugee students if the national policy allows and their qualifications match the positions.
Vanno Noupech, UNHCR Representative in China, expressed appreciation for TECNO’s continued support. “UNHCR welcomes this renewed and expanded partnership,” he said. “TECNO’s contribution will continue to enable UNHCR’s efforts to support refugee scholars to continue their education in difficult times, and potentially supporting their transition into the labour market. Increasingly, we see Chinese private sector and individuals showing solidarity and support to address gaps in refugee education globally, and we believe the private sector
could play a greater role in addition to financial contribution, such as leveraging their expertise and networks to co-create innovative solutions.”
Stephen Ha, General Manager of TECNO said, “With the renewed partnership with UNHCR, we hope to expand our support for refugee students from primary education to higher education. As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility endeavours, TECNO is committed to giving back to the community where we are present. We see DAFI programme as a chance to help those displaced young refugees with higher aim and big potential to continue their education, and provide them with more opportunities to change their lives and give back to the community in future. ”