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International Partnerships

BRiCE - Building Resilience: education opportunities in fragile and crisis affected environments

The BRiCE programme targets children and youth living in crisis situations who face a higher risk of being left behind

Key information

Total budget
€24 000 000

EU contribution
€19 200 000

March 2018 to February 2022

Implementing partners
Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam Ibis, Plan International UK, Save the Children


72 million children are denied access to quality education due to conflicts, forced displacement, violence, climate change and disasters. Reaching those children with education is especially challenging; they live in the hardest places to reach and many spend their entire childhood on the move, fleeing conflict and poverty.

In 2017, the EU launched the 'Building Resilience: Education Opportunities in Fragile and Crisis Affected Environments (BRiCE) Programme', bringing together experts and practitioners to tackle the issue.

BRiCE has an innovative design, bridging the humanitarian and development nexus, and applying cutting-edge research by

  1. Targeting the hardest to reach children and youth across seven countries affected by crisis and conflict, particularly refugees, displaced children, girls and young women, and the most vulnerable.
  2. Mixing the agility of humanitarian action with long-term development programming to enable EU partner organisations and to respond to vulnerable learners and strengthen national education systems over time
  3. Bringing top research institutes from around the globe to apply cutting edge research, in partnership with national research institutes, documenting evidence on what actions make a difference such fragile states


The BRiCE programme consists of four projects implemented by our partners


The BRiCE programme reached over 230,000 girls and boys across seven countries in Africa. Most of those participating in the programme had never been to school or had been forced to leave school years before due to conflict and displacement. Tailored programmes were set up, such as alternative education programmes, so they could start school again with their peers, and learn using a curriculum adapted for adolescents and youth. Others needed remedial support, language courses, or catch-up programmes.

For long-term impact, BRiCE influenced national and international policies and processes. Research and advocacy were used to improve the long-term ability of education systems to protect learners, reach out of school children and support teachers. BRICE worked closely with education ministries and teacher unions to raise standards of teacher support, curricula and child protection systems.

When crisis strikes…

The BRiCE programme was designed to cater for students who have been through a crisis – but during the implementation period a number of major shocks hit. Across the globe, the COVID-19 crisis closed schools and interrupted learning – in the seven BRiCE countries this led to long-term school closures and travel restrictions that hit schools in remote areas particularly hard.  

On top of this, the BRiCE students faced other challenges. The escalation of violence across the Sahel affected learners in Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and insecurity in South Sudan led to serious issues, including school closures, displacement, schools becoming inaccessible, and schools being used as temporary shelters.  In Eastern Congo, clashes between armed groups displaced students just as they were starting to catch up on their missed years of schooling. Natural disasters, such flooding in South Sudan, Niger, and DRC, made schools impassable at times, washed away homes and forced families to use schools as temporary shelters. In Tanzania, policy changes led to refugee camp closures, and students faced uncertainty and relocation, which interrupted their education again.

There were also the added effects of the COVID-19 crisis on children living in the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world – increased prices leading to household food insecurity (Somalia, Niger, South Sudan and DRC) and increased risks of gender-based violence, child marriage and early pregnancy during COVID-19 restrictions. Living in conflict-affected areas brings serious child protection risks: one project in DRC responded to 60 cases of child kidnapping, 15 cases of attempted murder of children and 47 cases of gender-based violence, including rape and sexual exploitation of children.

The design of the BRiCE Programme meant that partners had the agility and expertise to manage shocks and support learners. The four BRiCE lead agencies managed to steer the programmes through multiple crises. When the COVID crisis interrupted education around the world, the BRiCE programmes embraced remote learning, moved with populations, and worked with teachers, communities, and governments. In the most difficult circumstances, students were supported, with great success.

Key results of the BRiCE approach

  • Improved access to school: 234 000 students, including more than 111 000 girls and young women, were supported to access education
  • Improved teaching and learning: 3 213 teachers, including more than 1 030 female teachers were supported in 237 schools, with a range of services
  • Improved protection and well-being of learners and teachers: a range of innovative approaches to support students, teachers and caregivers were developed across the project, with careful monitoring of results by the research institutes
  • Improved local, regional and national systems to support learners in conflict settings: BRiCE projects used the action research results to influence government policies and strengthen national systems
22 JANUARY 2024
Results of the BRiCE approach - in detail

Related projects

This project was part of the BRiCE (Building Resilience: Education Opportunities in Fragile and Crisis Affected Environments) programme, which aimed to bring education to children and youth living in crisis situations.

The Never too Late to Learn project was part of the BRiCE (Building Resilience: Education Opportunities in Fragile and Crisis Affected Environments) programme, which aimed to bring education to children and youth living in crisis situations.

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