Back to the Future II

The project in brief

Implemented by

AVSI Foundation




June 2019 to February 2022


The project promotes enrolment and improves retention in formal education, for refugee and vulnerable children from local communities in Lebanon by supporting formal and non-formal activities as well as child protection activities for pre-school and school-aged children. The comprehensive and holistic approach addresses the wellbeing of children and caregivers by integrating child protection in education and enhancing the learning environment by upgrading school buildings and strengthening the capacity of educational staff.

Project aims 

  • Output 1. Readiness: Targeted out-of-schoolboys and girls are prepared to access the formal education system
  • Output 2. Retention of school-aged boys and girls at risk of dropout is improved through the provision of schools-based and community-based education programs
  • Output 3. The protective environment, resilience, and psychosocial wellbeing of children, caregivers and communities are improved
  • Output 4. National systems of non-formal education are strengthened through the information management system and advocacy and communication

Resources used 

Solid consortium architecture relying on expertise of partners; strong network of local community-based organizations as main implementing modality; established coordination with Ministry of Education and broader education sector in Lebanon. 

Main activities of the Good Practice

Non formal education and transitioning to distance learning: Transitioning to remote learning was part of the effort to ensure continuity in education, mitigating the negative impact of learning losses. Back To the Future (BTF) launched distance community based early childhood education and basic literacy and numeracy programs. 

Online learning environment: Technology can offer tools to produce innovative interactive resources, potentially targeting a broad range of cognitive approaches.

Integration of child protection in education programs: Focus on improving access to education and increasing the protective environment of children by adopting a holistic approach. Activities conducted to prevent harm have been designed to strengthen protective factors around the child using a socio-ecological approach to prevention. 


Back to the Future 1.JPG


Teachers' professional development through training, coaching, and mentoring: Responding to the disruption of education services caused by COVID-19, several sets of capacity-building sessions have been implemented to meet teachers’ needs in distance and blended learning approaches while ensuring access to relevant teaching resources.

Engagement of parents: In the education of their children and provision of the necessary skills for that purpose, training modules address parental engagement in distance learning since parents and caregivers are requested to play a complementary role to that of teachers.

Syria in my mind: This cultural heritage program was implemented as an extracurricular activity with the local NGO Biladi. Being uprooted from their homeland, Syrian refugee children are away from the country of their heritage. The program has worked on reconstructing the positive image of their home country while trying to take the beneficiaries on a virtual trip to Syria.


  • Terre des Hommes Italy
  • War Child Holland
  • Biladi – cultural heritage program for displaced refugee children
  • 12 CBOs – represented at Steering Committee level (consortium governance)

Challenges and how they were overcome


Challenge 1: Social, political, economic, financial crises, and related security and access issues: Starting from October 2019, the country has been faced with multiple crises that prevented access to education and increased the political instability and the level of poverty and vulnerably across the social strata, particularly for the most vulnerable. This was further aggravated by the Beirut Port explosion on 4 August 2020 that caused widespread destruction.

Challenge 2: The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted all humanitarian operations, especially education activities in the country since February 2020, and has seen a resurgence in Q3 and Q4 2020 resulting in recurrent closures of the educational institutions decreed by the Government of Lebanon.

How they were overcome

How Challenge 1 was overcome: Adaptation to the context required adopting the (triple) nexus humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding approach in line with the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF), to ensure this flexibility and the inclusion of extremely vulnerable refugees and host community children and the retention in formal education of those who were left without education in 2020.

How Challenge 2 was overcome: Through the consolidation and development of the distance learning methodologies and programs (including piloting retention programs), the education and protection services offered have become more comprehensive and structured and have increased their reach. Back to the Future continues developing innovative tools based on affordable ICTs, a combination of high- and low-tech methods that ensured continuous education, wellbeing in all conditions, and can be easily integrated in blended or face-to-face approaches. 


Children wearing masks sitting at a table writting


Results of the Good Practice 

  • Providing out-of-school vulnerable refugee children with inclusive non-formal education to promote their academic and social preparedness allowed them to undergo a smooth transition to formal education by the beginning of the scholastic year 2020-2021. 
  • Children enrolled into the program were regularly receiving structured psychosocial support activities, protection services for those at risk of abuse, and regular specialized services for children with specific needs.

How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries

By providing refugee and other vulnerable children from local communities with informal education opportunities, the project activities have ensured that the pressure on the host country (Lebanon) of providing such opportunities was eased. In addition, following their participation in the project, the children are better prepared to enter the formal education system, further relieving pressure from the host country and its education sector. 

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

The project aims to encourage enrolment in school and promote easier access to education for refugee and other vulnerable children from local communities. This is done by supporting existing formal and non-formal activities and child protection activities for pre-school and school-aged children. By providing access to informal education opportunities, the project aims to enhance the self-reliance of refugee children in the present as well as the future.

Next steps 

EUTF Madad will fund a third phase (6 months) aligning implementation with school year 2021/2022


Submitted by: 

Guido Calvi, Regional Emergency Coordinator Middle East.

[email protected]