Global Migration Centre
29 March 2021

New Publication: Education as Humanitarian Response

The Global Migration Centre is pleased to present the Global Migration Centre Research Paper Nº27, Education as Humanitarian Response: Access to Compulsory Education for Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Children in Barranquilla by Silvan Oberholzer, ex-aequo winner of the 2020 Global Migration Award.


Education as Humanitarian Response: Access to Compulsory Education for Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Children in Barranquilla

By Silvan Oberholzer

Ex aequo winner of the Global Migration Award 2020


Building on three interpretive conceptual frameworks –Education in Emergencies (EiE), Education as a Humanitarian Response (EHR), and the human rights-based approach to education–, this paper analyses the experiences, challenges, and opportunities concerning access to compulsory education for Venezuelan migrant and refugee children in Barranquilla. By shedding light on the educational humanitarian response in Barranquilla, I draw lessons on access to education for humanitarian responses in large-scale migration settings. This exploratory research applies grounded theory to analyse 35 semi-structured interviews with 45 individuals and observation conducted in Barranquilla. I identify six challenges and four opportunities in Barranquilla, and four implications for humanitarian responses concerning access to education for migrant and refugee children. Thereby, this study contributes to a better understanding of factors that impact access to compulsory schooling with a special focus on the various coordination agencies (governmental institutions, humanitarian actors) and the institutional (public schools, incl. administration and teachers) as well as the individual level (migrants and refugees).

Silvan Oberholzer holds a Master in Development Studies (2020) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva with a specialisation in power, conflict, and development. He previously completed a Bachelor in International Affairs at the University of St. Gallen (2018). Silvan focused on the Colombian context throughout his studies and gained professional experience in the humanitarian and education sector. He currently researches at the intersection of business and society, following his passion in conducting interdisciplinary research while focusing on the role of different actors in taking responsibility to achieve sustainable development. His international experience and education help him see the big picture and especially take into account the most vulnerable persons in our society. Contact