Innovation and Learning
Fund 2022



in funding supported:












people targeted

Advancing the rights of people with disabilities and the forcibly displaced

A key benefit of Misean Cara membership is access to a global network of international development professionals steeped in the rich tradition and practice of missionary development. Our Innovation and Learning Fund provides members the opportunity to learn, adapt, and implement good practice from other members in the Misean Cara network. Members also have the opportunity to try out new ideas of their own or adapt their own existing approaches in new, innovative ways. 

Each year we identify a theme or themes that members may wish to address within their own projects, such as gender equality, climate resilience, or disability inclusion. 

In 2022, the Innovation Fund had a human rights focus, supporting 15 projects from 11 members aimed at advancing the rights of people living with disabilities, or finding ways to promote the rights of people forcibly displaced from their homes and communities by war and conflict. 

Working from guidelines within Misean Cara’s Disability Policy, members in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana piloted new ways of increasing the inclusion of people with disabilities into their education projects by training teachers in disability support methods and addressing stigmas and attitudes of parents and caregivers about children with disabilities. Another project in Uganda used the Fund to conduct research and advocacy aimed at influencing national policy towards education for students with disabilities. 

Children and youth forcibly displaced during conflict and crisis often suffer from lingering trauma, and several of our members used Innovation and Learning funding in 2022 to bolster supports for children living in temporary and uncertain accommodations, including projects in northern Nigeria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and South Sudan.

Among the tens of thousands who have fled internal conflict in South Sudan are approximately 5,000 children now living at the Gumbo refugee resettlement camp. The right to play project facilitates recreation and normal childhood development through games, drama activities and play-based learning. 

Photos: Salesians of Don Bosco Ireland


Upholding children’s right to play 

Misean Cara member
Salesians Don Bosco Ireland

South Sudan

After the 2013 outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, the Salesians of Don Bosco established a resettlement camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Gumbo, eight kilometres from the capital, Juba. Internal conflicts and violence in the region have continued over the years and the camp is now home to almost 10,000 people, including 4,500 children and young people. 

Life in the camp can be stressful and difficult for its youngest residents, many of whom live with the effects of trauma from their experiences fleeing violence. 

Play and recreation are essential to the health and well-being of all children and promote the development of creativity, imagination, self-confidence, as well as physical, social, cognitive and emotional skills. In an effort to uphold the UN-ratified right of every child to engage in age-appropriate play and recreational activities*, the Salesians’ 2022 right-to-play project provided opportunities for recreation and games to more than 2,500 children who do not attend the camp’s primary schools due to lack of space. 

With support from the Misean Cara Innovation and Learning Fund, the project was based on a similar project implemented in the Salesians’ IDP camp in Palabek, Uganda. At Gumbo, the Salesians prepared a safe playground space in the camp community for children to play and interact without fear, and practice skills that promote their cognitive, emotional, physical, and social development. Psychological support and guidance are also provided to the children. 

By bringing children from different backgrounds together to play, the project facilitated mutual understanding, acceptance and the chance for friendships to grow. Other activities promoted awareness about gender equality, peace building and conflict resolution, hygiene and how to care for the environment. As many children in the camp do not have the opportunity to study at home, some of the games were designed to help improve basic skills in reading and maths. 

*According to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by the government of South Sudan in 2015), “Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts”.

For further information about our work or to comment on this report, please contact:

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