WIU and UNHCR’s higher education scholarship program, best known by its acronym DAFI, plays an integral role in enabling refugees across Uganda and the world to access higher education. Since its inception in 1997, the DAFI program has grown considerably, enabling over 2,321 refugee students to study at universities and colleges from across Uganda and other parts of the world.
The DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund) which is funded by the German Government has been implemented by WIU in partnership with UNHCR for 25 years now. It started with only 08 students enrolled at Ndejje University, the program has since expanded to about 100 new scholarships available every year, depending on funding.
The DAFI program enables young refugees to continue post-secondary education and motivates refugee and conflict affected children to stay in school and succeed academically. For students and graduates, the DAFI program serves as a foundation for social and professional development, allowing them to build careers in competitive fields of employment. The social returns of the DAFI program exceed investment at the individual level. Highly educated refugees reduce economic and psychological dependence of the whole communities in asylum, improving their self-reliance and preparing them for durable solutions.
The strategic priorities of Windle International Uganda and UNHCR through DAFI program are to:
- Promote self-reliance and empowerment of the sponsored student and his/her family with the skills needed for gainful employment;
- Develop qualified human resources and build the capacity and leadership of talented refugees and war affected persons in order to contribute to the process of reintegration in the home country upon repatriation;
- Contribute to the refugee community pending a durable solution or repatriation (many graduates work in refugee camps, particularly as teachers and community workers);
- Facilitate integration, temporary or permanent, and contribute skills to the host country, if repatriation is not or not yet possible;
- Provide a role model for other refugee students, particularly for girls to advance their education and demonstrate benefits of education.