RET's Past Relief Interventions
Countries Where We Have Worked Previously
In 2001, RET International began its involvement in Guinea in order to mitigate the long-term effects of armed violence in the country and among its neighbours. We worked with local and migrant youth from Sierra Leone and Liberia to ensure a recognized secondary education for the more vulnerable. In Kountaya refugee camp, RET provided teacher training as well as infrastructural assistance in the form of the construction of classrooms and the provision of school material. Psychosocial support and vocational training for both local and refugee youth was also provided to contribute to their wellbeing and cognitive and social development.
With the crisis abating, RET International ceased its activities in Guinea in 2005, but continues to work with and monitor the situation of vulnerable youth having been displaced by violence, armed conflict, or disasters in other fragile parts of Africa (see our Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad and Kenya pages in the “Present” section for more details).
RET International intervened in Haiti soon after the devastating earthquake of 2010. The need for basic services (education, information, protection) was urgently lacking, with specific gaps in secondary level education that no other NGOs on the ground were providing.
RET assisted youth who had been affected by the earthquake by allowing them to pursue their studies successfully, overcome their psychosocial trauma and acquire the attitudes and skills needed to achieve a positive social integration. The activities provided include after-school support and life skills, including critical thinking, decision-making as well as interpersonal and communication skills. Vulnerable youth were also offered apprenticeship opportunities, in trades such as carpentry and construction, so as to be able to build their community centres themselves.
RET International’s operations in Haiti ceased in 2012, but continues to monitor fragile situations in the region and work to protect vulnerable adolescents and youth made vulnerably by displacement, violence, armed conflicts and disasters (see our Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama or Venezuela pages in the “Present” section for more details).
RET International’s first project in Pakistan, starting in 2001, took a holistic approach towards education for refugee and local youth. Based in both refugee camps and urban settings, RET assisted Afghans who had fled the country due to the conflict. We strived to provide vulnerable young people with life skills and livelihood training and worked especially closely young women, to increase their access to secondary education.
RET International has since then ceased operations in Pakistan in 2008 as Afghan refugees had been voluntarily repatriating. However, RET has not abandoned them and instead moved its operations to Afghanistan, so as to keep contact and continue working with the returnee populations (see our Afghanistan page in the “Present” section for more details).
The long-running conflict in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been one of Africa’s worst; killing more than five million people both directly and indirectly. To this day, hundreds of thousands of refugees from DRC remain in neighbouring countries, including the Republic of the Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville).
RET International’s work in the Republic of the Congo, between 2004-2006, consisted in aiding vulnerable young people displaced by the conflict in the DRC to gain access to formal education. Improving the quality of education through teacher training and providing young people with life skills allowed them to build their self-confidence and independence. This education allowed the youth to register in a school or university in DRC, or to find employment upon repatriation.
Despite having ceased operations in the Republic of the Congo, RET International continues its operations in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (see our Democratic Republic of the Congo Page in the “Present” section for more details).
RET International’s intervention in Sierra Leone between 2001-2002 aimed to strengthen educational and employability opportunities for young people made vulnerable by armed conflict. This was done by providing teacher training, and a life skills centre that delivered pre-professional livelihoods trainings for returnee and local youths. The trainings consisted of building marketable skills such as carpentry and baking that could be used in the local community and to create self-reliance while expanding labour markets. The programme improved educational and vocational opportunities that promoted their social and economic inclusion upon return in their home communities.
RET International ceased operations in Sierra Leone in 2003, upon the consolidation of peace in the country. As the humanitarian needs decreased, and the country entered a transition, development actors took over.
RET continues to work with and monitor the situation of vulnerable youth having been displaced by violence, armed conflict, or disasters in other fragile parts of Africa (see our Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad and Kenya pages in the “Present” section for more details).
RET International’s work in South Africa started in 2004, working primarily in urban areas to fill the gaps in secondary education for refugees. RET’s programmes in South Africa targeted vulnerable IDPs and refugee youth from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Burundi who were in the past unable to attend school, therefore finding themselves semi-literate or illiterate at a critical time in their lives. The programmes were designed to integrate these young people into local secondary schools through enhanced language, literacy and computer skills trainings.
RET ceased operations in South Africa in 2006, but continues work with and monitor the situation of vulnerable youth having been displaced by violence, armed conflict, or disasters in other fragile parts of Africa (see our Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad and Kenya pages in the “Present” section for more details).
RET International’s intervention in The Sudan, starting in 2002, concentrated on improving the quality of and access to education, maintaining local community-based efforts and positively impacting schools, students and teachers alike. Working primarily with IDPs fleeing the civil war, but also with displaced adolescents from Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, RET International primarily assisted in helping schools acquire the necessary tools and materials to offer a sustainable education to those made vulnerable by situations of armed conflict and violence.
RET also worked in cooperation with the Sudanese Ministry of Education for Sudanese refugees in Chad to have their secondary education exams certified by the Government of Sudan in order for their diplomas to be recognised upon return. In 2014, the decision was taken by the UNHCR and the Chadian Government to have Sudanese refugees change to the Chadian curriculum instead of the Sudanese one, thus ending this unique accreditation practice.
RET International has ceased ground operations in Sudan since 2003 and ended the specific accreditation programme with the Sudanese Ministry of Education in 2014. However, we continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain good relations with our partners. We also continue to work with vulnerable young people in many other fragile parts of Africa (see our Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad and Kenya pages in the “Present” section for more details).
Tanzania has provided shelter and protection to the largest refugee population in Africa for the past fifty years. Violent conflict in the region has affected millions of people during that time, and many found themselves fleeing to Tanzania to find safety.
RET International’s work in the country began in 2002. It concentrated upon the improvement of the quality of and access to post-primary education for Burundian and Congolese refugee youth who were living in refugee camps. Providing integral post-primary educational programmes that respected community-based self-determination was the main focus of the programme, as well as improvement of school infrastructure and teacher training for over 2,300 Burundian refugee teachers.
As the programmes progressed, RET put specific emphasis on preparing Burundian refugee youth in Tanzania for their repatriation through quality language courses, in order to facilitate their reintegration.
RET closed its operations in Tanzania in 2006, due in large part to the repatriation of the Burundian refugees, but opened operations in Burundi to accompany them while also responding to the needs of the local Burundian youth. See our Burundi Page in the “Present” section for more details.
Uganda was among RET International’s first on the ground operations starting in 2001.
Our work aimed at protecting youth made vulnerable by armed conflict both in Uganda and in the region as a whole. The main goal of the programme was to improve the quality of teaching and learning through infrastructure enhancements, raising the students’ self-esteem and improving the level of education for both the Sudanese refugee students as well as the local community. Particular attention was paid to girls’ education, with a focus on their attendance and academic results.
RET International ceased operations in Uganda in 2003, but continues to have a strong and dynamic presence throughout Africa. Please see our Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Chad and Kenya pages in the “Present” section for more details.