Underresourced, Undervalued, and Underutilized: Making the Case for Teachers in Refugee and Emergency Contexts


  • Amy R West American Institutes for Research (AIR)
  • Hannah Reeves Ring American Institutes for Research (AIR)


teacher retention, refugee education, Algeria, Ethiopia


Teachers are a critical resource for children in refugee and emergency settings. Yet few studies have examined what motivates or demotivates teachers, especially in refugee and emergency contexts. In this article we explore the key findings from field research conducted in Algeria and Ethiopia by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) as part of a study for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  The findings are organized according to seven critical factors: teacher recruitment, selection, and deployment; the teaching environment; certification; professional development; incentives; management structures; and, status and social recognition.

Author Biography

Amy R West, American Institutes for Research (AIR)

Amy West is a senior program manager with the International Development, Evaluation and Research program at AIR. She has eighteen years of experience in the fields of international development and human rights. Ms. West has been a project director on UNHCR, USAID, and US DOS funded initiatives focused on education reform, legal reform, workforce development and livelihoods security.






General Refereed Papers