Global Education Initiative

Girls in a JRS primary school in Bunj, South Sudan. (Paul Jeffrey / Misean Cara)
Girls in a JRS primary school in Bunj, South Sudan. (Paul Jeffrey / Misean Cara)

The Global Education Initiative (GEI) is an ambitious international campaign launched in 2015 to enable us to open the doors of our education programmes to 250,000 refugees each year by 2020. 

With over 16 million people in protracted (five years or longer) situations of displacement, education cannot be optional. Education offers forcibly displaced people access to security, hope, and economic opportunities.

Rooted in a strong tradition of Jesuit education, JRS committed to a five-year effort called the Global Education Initiative (GEI) to expand and strengthen our educational services. Launched in 2015, our goal for the end of 2020 was to increase the number of people served in our education and livelihoods programmes from 150,000 to 250,000, and to raise an additional $35 million for this work and for necessary institutional strengthening. At the end of 2019, we were educating and training 359,175 people throughout the world, and we had raised $41 million toward our goals. Thank you for helping us meet our goals a year early!

To give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give.
Pope Francis

Three areas of focus:

  • Teacher Development – Inspired by the Jesuit tradition of Ignatian pedagogy, JRS emphasises the role of the teacher as a transformative educator who can provide more than just quality instruction. Teachers can create the kinds of inclusive environments where children feel safe to learn, reflect on their experiences, and develop their potential.
  • Enhancing Access to Secondary Education, with a focus on girls – Displaced children are at a disadvantage: fewer than 23% are able to access secondary education. Of this already small group, fewer than 30% of are girls. JRS recognises this disparity, and offers focused programmes that support girls as they progress throughout primary school and transition to secondary education.
  • Professional and Post-Secondary Education – JRS also offers programmes that promote educational and professional goals for youth and adults. This can include language courses and professional skills trainings to promote sustainable livelihoods.

Key results

Through the GEI, JRS has increased and improved safe and stable learning environments for refugee children. The GEI provides older refugees with the tools to build a future for their families and to contribute to the growth and stability of their communities.

Thanks to the success of the GEI, JRS has launched several significant initiatives:

  • A global Teacher Training Programme that builds instructional capacity and helps teachers create inclusive environments where children can develop their potential.
  • A gender-responsive education unit that focuses on increasing access to education for girls, built upon lessons learned from pilot projects in Chad and Malawi.
  • Scholarships that permit refugees and displaced people to attend local and boarding schools, fostering integration within their communities.
  • The JRS Pathfinder programme that offers refugees professional and post-secondary training, including digital skills and other livelihood instruction.
  • An inclusive special-needs education programme that is inspired by a pilot project for special-needs children in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.


Goals of JRS's Global Education Initiative (GEI)