In late 2013, the Middle East Children’s Institute received a grant from UNICEF to create and implement an Informal Education Program for Syrian refugee children in Jordan. The program is based on MECI’s holistic education model which has been customized to meet the needs of at-risk Syrian refugee children, many of whom have been out of school since the conflict began. MECI's programs also help out of school Jordanian children who live in close proximity with Syrian refugees and face challenges staying in school due to financial pressures on families.
In 2018, as the high-school-level adolescents dropping out of school for socio-economic reasons has become widespread in the kingdom with the Syrian refugee crisis confirming the ‘normality’ of such coping mechanisms. MECI in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education implemented the accredited Non-Formal Education stream that gives hope to children who lost years of schooling to pursue their education, heal from trauma and succeed academically.
This intervention targets Jordanian and non-Jordanian adolescents aged between 13 and 18 years old for boys and up to 20 years old for girls who have been out of school for a minimum of one scholastic year, and de facto not eligible for the continuation of a formal school (primary, elementary, high school). The students enrol for a minimum of two cycles, after which, each graduating student has the choice to (1) continue her/his education through another Non-Formal Education stream; home-schooling, which when passed successfully, leads to sitting for the grade 12 final exams – Tawjihi – and pursue academic higher education opportunities, or (2) enrol in accredited Vocational Training Centres (VTC) that equip its learners with vocational and technical training and skills to attain certification in a certain technical professions e.g. carpentry, electricity, craftsmanship, etc.
MECI Jordan is established as a locally registered international NGO with its regional office HQ in Amman.
MECI Jordan outcomes:
94% of illiterate students demonstrate academic improvement
88% of all students demonstrated academic progress in Arabic, English and math
98% show improvement in life skills development, reflecting leadership and problem-solving
89% demonstrate behavioral progress after 3 months of exposure to the program
Stress in students is reduced by an average of 6%
88% of teachers improve their quality of teaching through observation and ongoing training
Thousands of Syrian and Jordanian children, parents and members of the community have participated in community engagement sessions which enhance social cohesion
Through MECI, children and youth are given a safe-space to learn and explore, and coping mechanisms to develop and thrive. Communities are given tools towards building a strong future civil society in peace & stability.