icon-print print


More than 30 million children are currently excluded from education as a result of armed conflict. War Child’s e-learning initiative Can’t Wait to Learn (CWTL) provides these children with flexible and effective learning opportunities. The programme enables children to receive quality education - even in areas where there are little or no schools or teachers.

Can’t Wait to Learn sees children learn by playing custom-made educational games on tablet computers, either within their communities or in formal and non-formal learning environments. The programme supports and supplements traditional education in conflict-affected areas in the short-term without displacing it in the long-term.

The games that make up the CWTL delivery model include instruction and practice modules as well as a learning management system. The game content is embedded in a virtual world that reflects children’s everyday lives. This helps ensure that the content is engaging and encouraging and that even children who cannot read and write can learn.

The coalition behind CWTL comprises several international and local organisations - including research institute TNO, Ahfad University for Women, UNICEF and the national ministries of education in Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon. The coalition will expand in future to incorporate new research, design, procurement and implementation partners. This will support the rapid scale-up of the programme.

Expansion and development

During 2016, following successful research studies of the programme’s mathematics component between 2012 and 2015, CWTL made the first steps towards significant future expansion.

© Roy Beusker

January saw CWTL selected as a ‘Dream Fund’ project by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery with €5.9 million secured in additional funding. The programme also received significant financial support from IKEA Foundation (€4.3 million) over the course of the year. These sources of funding will allow us to plan ambitious, large-scale interventions over the next five years, and potentially reach hundreds of thousands of children with this innovative programme.

The year also saw CWTL chosen by UNICEF, UNHCR and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as one of the first three projects that will form the global Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA). Projects in the HEA will receive tailored mentoring and support for two years.

These various developments will ensure CWTL can expand and scale up into three countries by the end of 2017. This will allow the consortium behind CWTL to adapt the programme for Syrian refugee children in the Middle East, scale up the project in Sudan and add language education and psychosocial well-being components.

In Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon, preparatory work to roll out the CWTL programme in Arabic with mathematics and literacy elements was undertaken over the course of 2016. More than 500 local children, parents, teachers and designers gave input on how the content and visuals for the educational games could best be adapted for the needs of local children, with support from our new project partner Butterfly Works.

CWTL entered into key partnerships with local organisations, national ministries of education and other international aid organisations over the course of the year. This will allow the teaching method to be developed, tested and deployed in the years to 2020, in line with the coalition’s ambitions.

The preparatory work undertaken in 2016 will see the adapted educational games for both mathematics and literacy ready to be used by children in Jordan, Lebanon and Sudan in 2017. The coming years promise to be very exciting ones for CWTL.