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Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

Social Support Networks, Instant Messaging, and Gender Equity in Refugee Education

Research and Evidence, Teachers (compensation, TPD, etc.), Teachers and Learning, Technology and Innovation, Other
Resource Type
Journal Article
Negin Dahya, Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Daci Douhaibi, and Oliver Arvisais
Information, Communication and Society
Publish Date


Filename File Size
Dahya_DrydenPeterson_Douhaibi_Arvisais_Social_Support_Networks_2019_ENG 202 KB Download


This paper addresses the role of instant messaging chat groups to support teacher training and gender equity initiatives in Kenyan refugee camps. Our findings are based on survey data with refugee teachers in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps (n = 203), group interviews with refugee teachers in Kakuma (n = 21), and interviews with international instructors of teacher training programs in Nairobi, Toronto, and Vancouver (n = 14). In our analysis, we apply amplification theory, feminist science and technology studies paradigms, and considerations of transnational approaches to understand the use of instant messaging among refugee teacher communities. Our framework explores how social and cultural norms are amplified through transnational text and instant messaging related to teacher training and in support of gender equity. Peer-to-peer group chats draw on transnational learning opportunities and expand these engagements through group chats between men and women refugee teachers across camps as well as through community engagement about gender equity initiatives in education. International instructors identify both value and hesitation in navigating the quantity and content of these communications, such as learning more about refugee teachers’ daily lives in the camps and concern about following and managing the amount of communication that can ensue over chat groups. Our work has practical implications for transnational teacher training programs in refugee camps, illuminates how mobile technology and chat groups allow women and men in the community to engage and support girls’ education, and questions how text messaging affects the lived and day-to-day experiences of women refugee teachers