Utilizing a community-based system dynamics method for understanding inclusion and wellbeing: a case research of particular wants schooling in an jap African refugee camp – Burundi

Kelsey Werner, Gregory St. Arnold & Thomas M. Crea



Children with disabilities face unique humanitarian challenges, and education can provide safeguards against abuse and exploitation. The call for inclusive education for children with disabilities in formal education is growing, but guidance on how to improve inclusion in complex and resource-constrained contexts of humanitarian institutions is scarce.

Case presentation

This study used a community-based systems dynamics approach to understand key stakeholder perspectives on the drivers and effects of inclusion and wellbeing for children with disabilities and to derive recommendations for improving school inclusion in a refugee camp in East Africa. Community-based system dynamics sessions, designed based on group model building scripts and moderated by a team of four, were held with staff from the organization, community leaders, and parents and caregivers of children with disabilities. The process created a causal loop diagram that presented stakeholders’ perspectives on how multiple components in a system interact to promote the inclusion and well-being of children with disabilities over time.


The results suggest that participants have a broad conceptualization of inclusion that highlights the value of community interaction and the importance of meeting basic needs, and also show that including children in regular educational settings in a complex humanitarian context Given the lack of available resources, requires a more nuanced approach in order to fully support Western models of educational inclusion.


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