Little Ripples refugee-led early childhood education

Organisation: Jesuit Refugee Service

Partners: iACT; University of Wisconsin Survey Center

Location: N’djamena, Chad

Type of grant: Core – implementation

Status: Ongoing

  • A Little Ripples student leads her class in a song at a Little Ripples Pond in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • A Little Ripples teacher guides her students in outdoor play at a Little Ripples Pond in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Free play with legos at a Littles Ripples Pond in refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Little Ripples teacher poses with the Little Ripples box of educational materials. Photo Credit: iACT

  • Small group learning at Little Ripples, refugee camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad. Photo Credit: iACT


Little Ripples is a cost-effective early childhood education program that builds the capacity of refugee women to improve the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages three to five through in-home, state-of-the-art, and customized education.

What is the humanitarian need being addressed?

Fifty-one percent of the 65.6 million people displaced globally are children. The disruption of families and community structure as well as the acute shortage of resources deeply affect the physical and psychological well-being of all refugees, but especially young children ages three to five. The future of these children will be shaped by their experiences in refugee camps or settlements, yet there are no sustained or prioritized innovative solutions for this vulnerable age group. Consequently, generations of children continue to be at risk of irreversible long-term damage as they fall behind in their educational development from the start.

What is the innovative solution?

Through a community-led approach and state-of-the-art curriculum, Little Ripples trains refugee women to provide quality early childhood education programming in their own communities. Unlike traditional education programs, Little Ripples is refugee-led, cost-effective, sustainable, and scalable:

  • Capacity-building: Little Ripples trains and employs refugee women to co-create, implement, and manage early childhood education in their communities.
  • Cost-effective: Little Ripples is uniquely hosted in the home spaces of refugees, eliminating costly and timely construction of schools and reducing distance of learning spaces from communities.
  • State-of-the-art and flexible curriculum: The curriculum is pre-established by global experts in early childhood development and adapted to the beneficiaries’ culture and context by the refugees themselves. It is designed to improve the social-emotional, cognitive and physical development of refugee children.

What are the expected outcomes?

The expected outcomes of implementing Little Ripples Ponds in refugee camps Kounoungou and Mile, eastern Chad, include:

  • Improve the social-emotional and physical development of refugee children.
  • Train, build the capacity, and employ refugee women, with the potential to scale-up.
  • Change the humanitarian refugee response from a top-down, one-size-fits-all model to customized, refugee-led programming focused on quality over quantity.
  • Influence Education Ministries and humanitarian agencies, such as UNICEF, to adopt or integrate components of Little Ripples curriculum.
  • Influence UNHCR policy, mandated programming, and budget to include early childhood education.

Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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