(GEM) Refugee Students and Graduates Shine AS Leaders in Their CommunitiesSouthern New Hamsphire University
SNHU GEM (Global Education Movement)Author: SNHU GEM - CLCC Member
Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (GEM) offers accredited bachelor’s degrees and employment-focused training for refugees to prepare for high level professional and leadership positions in their communities. GEM offers a pathway to university for students from refugee and affected communities in nine sites within five countries across Africa and the Middle East. Our blended learning degree model relies on close collaboration with our partners, including Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL), Kepler, Lebanese Association for Scientific Research (LASeR), Multi Aid Programs (MAPs), Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Over the past year, GEM’s focus has been continuing to reach our targets for student academic progress across our sites. An external evaluation found that 88% of GEM graduates are employed within 6 months and make 37 double the salary of their college-educated peers. As part of our strategy to achieve full financial sustainability, we have continued to grow our Rwanda-based assessment center, which now employs 30 staff and has expanded its services to include online tutoring.
Additional GEM highlights from 2019 include:
▪ In February, GEM launched the first cohort of students with our partner Multi Aid Programs (MAPs) in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
▪ In May, GEM hosted the SNHU Board of Trustees on a series of site visits to Malawi, Rwanda, and South Africa. The trustees, inspired by the fortitude and talent of GEM’s students and graduates, gifted USD$90k to a GEM AA graduate and Bachelor’s student in Malawi to open an innovation and entrepreneurship hub in Dzaleka refugee camp.
▪ In September, the Aspen Institute’s Ascend Fellows partnered with GEM to offer internship opportunities and small business investments for GEM students in Kakuma refugee camp following their visit to the program, as well as an investment in AA grad and BA student Innocent’s soap business, enabling him to move his business out of his house and build Kakuma’s first refugee owned and led factory.
▪ In October, GEM hosted an all-partner retreat in Lebanon, alongside our Lebanon partners. Despite challenging political circumstances in the country, participants convened in person and online to share best practices and make plans for cross-site collaborations.
▪ In November, the GEM & Kepler refugee guidance counselors, sponsored by the College Board, convened a group of 45 participants from nine countries, including 15 refugee students and graduates from across other GEM sites, to share best practices and to facilitate the building of a network of counselors to support refugee access to higher education.
▪ In December, three GEM graduates were invited to attend the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva as speakers and representatives. This is a key step in GEM’s long-term goal to prepare graduates for professional and leadership roles in their communities, enabling refugees to engage in discussions and contribute to solutions as equal partners alongside humanitarian actors.
To read other stories from the 2019 CLCC Yearbook, click here.