FCA and The LEGO Foundation – Learning through Play

FCA AND THE LEGO FOUNDATION are connecting with out of school children in the world’s second largest refugee settlement through the ‘Play to Learn’ project.

Only 14% of refugees in Uganda’s Bidibidi settlement complete primary education. FCA Uganda is confronting the problem of a high rate of dropouts from school by reaching out to communities with functional and play-based pedagogical activities in safe, protected and inclusive environments.

One of the key tools in the project is the innovative, creative and colourful FCA School Bus. It was supported by The LEGO Foundation funding of $480,000 over 18 months.

A brightly coloured minibus with numerous illustrations of children, positive slogans and the FCA logo stands on a dirt road.

Equipped with learning and play material, including locally made toys, the FCA School Bus allows the delivery of attractive and pedagogically organised content.

Motivating children to return to school

The non-formal learning environment also contributes to improved psychosocial well-being and resilience. During the initial project run, 432 children in 6 villages were motivated through play-based learning to return to school.

Video and sound equipment in the bus is power by solar energy and learners have access to tablets programmed with the Can’t Wait to Learn (CWtL) app, developed for Education in Emergencies (EiE) contexts.

Learners can then transfer to our Accelerated Education Programme (AEP) centres where the same techniques and safe, creative playgrounds ensure that newly enrolled learners stay in school and complete their education. With the LEGO Foundation support, FCA has trained 130 teachers and assistants at the centres in functional and play-based pedagogy.

A schoolchild wearing a rucksack and leaning on a crutch waits for a brightly coloured bus on a dirt road

Bashir Mawa, 13, is picked up by the schoolbus each day.

A number of schoolchildren, some in school uniform, sit in a minibus reading books

In the bus, there are a wide range of learning materials for all ages, including digital devices.

Children sit outside on a yellow tarpulin and play a hand clapping game while a teacher leans down to talk to one of them

Play-based lessons are fun and interactive.

A teenager in school uniform sits at a desk in a classroom. She is listening and smiling.

Children who complete the programme are then supported to return to mainstream learning.

Janet, 17, came back to class after giving birth to her first child.

Learning through Play

FCA has worked with The LEGO Foundation since 2022, developing innovative and playful ways to integrate pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning.

LEGO’s Playful Learning in Crisis Settings (PLiCS) initiative focuses on protracted refugee settings and seeks to ensure refugee and host community children aged 3-12+ achieve improved holistic skills and learning.

A number of girls sit around DUPLO bricks playing together

Key Facts

  • 239,096 refugees in Bidibidi refugee settlement.
  • 50% of refugees are between 5–17.
  • FCA is a Finnish based INGO working in develop-
    ment cooperation and humanitarian assistance,
    focusing on the right to education, livelihood
    and peace.
  • In Uganda FCA provides access to quality educa-
    tion, runs vocational training centres and partners
    with local organisations promoting resilience to
    violent extremism.

Watch the video below to learn more

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