What

Dimensions of Impact: WHAT

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider the scale of the addressable problem, what positive outcomes might be, and how important the change would be to the people (or planet) experiencing it.

Key questions in this dimension include:

What problem does the investment aim to address? For the target stakeholders experiencing the problem, how important is this change?

Crisis is a major barrier to access to education. Natural disasters, pandemics and conflicts, and the resulting internal and cross-border displacement, can leave entire generations traumatized, uneducated and unprepared to contribute to social and economic recovery. Today, the number of people displaced by conflict is at an all-time high; migration from conflict, climate change, and economic strains is set to increase.

During crises, children are particularly at risk of missing out on their education. Children in fragile states are up to three times more likely to be out of school than those living in non-conflict contexts, and they are far more likely to drop out of primary school before completion (3, p 61). For girls, there are the additional dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, confinement to domestic labor, or sexual exploitation (5). Even when conflict does not directly disrupt access, it can affect learning. Teachers have to deal with multilingual classrooms and traumas affecting displaced students. Additionally, conflict tends to exacerbate exclusions based on ethnicity, religion, or gender (3).

Education serves as a buffer against future social and economic shocks and can be a driver of stability, reconciliation, and peacebuilding (4). The number of international migrants is estimated to grow to around 400 million people by 2050, many of whom have been denied the opportunity to acquire skills. With education critical to resilience and cohesion, this dearth of skills will increase vulnerability to shocks and the risks of instability across the world (1, 16). Education can give children the building blocks needed to rebuild their lives and, eventually, their country (4, pg 2).
Investments in this strategy can: 1 Offer alternative models of education to address the diverse needs of children affected by emergency and conflict. For example, investors could provide capital to scale a project that helps accelerate students’ education or catch up through bridging programs. They could also support technology-based solutions that enhance existing learning environments or create virtual learning environments for students. 2 Ensure access to safe and supportive learning environments

  • Solutions promoting safe and accessible learning sites and structures
  • Solutions addressing the psychological and social needs of young children and adolescents recovering from trauma
  • Solutions providing protection from school-related gender-based violence 3 Support teacher well-being and addressing their distinct needs from working in crisis/conflict affected contexts.
  • Solutions addressing psycho-social needs of teachers through training, monitoring, and support
  • Solutions that provide teachers with special training to develop strategies to deal with overcrowded, missed-age, or multilingual classrooms.

What is the scale of the problem?

One in four of the 462 million school-aged children around the world now live in countries affected by crisis. Of these children, 75 million are in the most desperate need of educational support (4, p2). Sixty-three million out-of-school girls and boys are living in conflict-affected areas. There are 17 million school-age refugees and internally displaced children in countries affected by conflict. Refugees are five times less likely to attend school than other children, with only 50% of refugee children enrolled in primary school and less than 25% of refugee youth enrolled in secondary. Girls are particularly disadvantaged, being 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in countries affected by conflict (10).

Who

Dimensions of Impact: WHO

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider whom they want to target, as almost every strategy has a host of potential beneficiaries. While some investors may target women of color living in a particular rural area, others may set targets more broadly, e.g., women. Investors interested in targeting particular populations should focus on strategies that have been shown to benefit those populations.

Key questions in this dimension include:

Who (people, planet, or both) is helped through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Refugees / Internally Displaced People (IDPs): Displaced children face significant obstacles to learning. Only one out of every two refugee children has access to primary education; a refugee child is 5 times more likely than the average child to be out of school (3, 61)

Girls: Refugee girls remain particularly disadvantaged with fewer than 8 refugee girls for every 10 boys in primary school and fewer than 7 girls for every 10 boys in secondary school. Investing in the strategy would help address the barriers preventing girls from accessing education.

Teachers: Teachers and education personnel provide the educational needs for children and youth in emergencies through to recovery. Investments in this strategy provide teachers with the information, learning, and support required to build towards a more positive future.

Out-of-school children: Conflict-affected countries are home to more than a third of out-of-school children (3, 60) and only 23% of refugee adolescents attend secondary school (6, p 10)

Schools: In 2013–2017, there were over 12,700 attacks on education, harming over 21,000 students and education personnel (3). Yet schools provide a safe space and a vital routine for children during times of major upheaval.

What are the geographic attributes of those who are affected?

Children in fragile, conflict-affected countries are more than twice as likely to be out of school compared with those in countries not affected by conflict; similarly, adolescents are more than two-thirds more likely to be out of school (GEM Report, Policy Paper 21, June 2015, p.2). Developing regions hosted 92% of the world’s school-age refugees in 2017. (UNHCR. Turn the tide: refugee education in crisis (2018), p.14) Displacement mainly affects low income countries. Fewer than half of refugee children hosted by low-income countries access primary education, and only 9% of refugee adolescents access secondary education in these countries (6, p 9).

More than half of the world’s out-of-school refugee children are located in just seven countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey (5, p 4). According to UNESCO, the sub-Saharan Africa region remains the region with the highest out-of-school rates for all age groups (4-18). In Africa, children affected by droughts are less likely to complete primary school; similar impacts have been found in Asia and Latin America.

Contribution

Dimensions of Impact: CONTRIBUTION

Investors considering investing in a company or portfolio aligned with this strategy should consider whether the effect they want to have compares to what is likely to happen anyway. Is the investment's contribution ‘likely better’ or ‘likely worse’ than what is likely to occur anyway across What, How much and Who?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How can investments in line with this Strategic Goal contribute to outcomes, and are these investments’ effects likely better, worse, or neutral than what would happen otherwise

Investments in education in emergencies are critical to ensure that children do not lose years of education. Moreover, maintaining access education during conflict has been shown to benefit children’s well-being and protection, in addition to contributing to post-conflict stability and peacebuilding (14). High levels of secondary school enrollment have been shown to increase a country’s level of stability and peace, and reduce crime and violence. It enables refugees to fulfil their potential improving their job prospects, as well as boosting their confidence and self-esteem (8).

Strengthens global peace, security, and governance: Education is key to promote peace, tolerance, mutual respect and social cohesion. Quality education builds positive social connections and gives tools for peaceful problem solving and equal access to education for girls and boys reduces the likelihood of violence and conflict by 37%.

Strengthens resilience to withstand crises: Education also gives children a place of safety, and can also reduce early marriage, child labor, and military recruitment by armed groups. Schools give children stability and structure with support of trained teachers and peers to help cope with the trauma they have experienced and can protect children from the physical dangers around them.

Reduces poverty and inequality: When children get an education, whole societies benefit. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five, twice as likely to attend school and 50% more likely to be immunized.

Promotes global prosperity: Education increases earnings and boosts growth. Each additional year of schooling leads to a 10% increase in income. There are even greater gains for women with $15-30 trillion lost in lifetime productivity and earnings by limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education. (4)

How Much

Dimensions of Impact: HOW MUCH

Investors deploying capital into investments aligned with this strategy should think about how significant the investment's effect might be. What is likely to be the change's breadth, depth, and duration?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How many target stakeholders can experience the outcome through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Investments in this strategy can benefit the 75 million children aged 3-18 years living in 35 crisis-affected countries in most desperate need of educational support (10, p 10).

How much change can target stakeholders experience through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Investing in education in emergency contexts has economic benefits for that country’s population and plays a role in social cohesion and national identity (1, p 36). Evidence suggests that each year of education reduces an adolescent boy’s risk of becoming involved in conflict by 20% and if the enrollment rate for secondary schooling is 10% higher than the average, the risk of war is reduced by about 3 percentage points (11). It is estimated that providing secondary education for all girls could reduce child marriage by almost two-thirds, while 59% fewer girls would become pregnant in sub-Saharan Africa and south and west Asia, which are among the top hosting regions for refugees (5, p 43).

Education also gives refugees the knowledge and skills to live productive, fulfilling and independent lives. In Uganda, for every extra year a refugee child spends in school, their income increases by 3 per cent (6, p 7). The longer refugees spend in quality education, the likelier they are to know their rights, be able to stand up for themselves, and rely on their own endeavors.

Risk

Dimensions of Impact: RISK

Key questions in this dimension include:

What impact risks do investments aligned with this Strategic Goal run? How can investments mitigate them?

Execution Risk:

  • Poor access to or lack of access to power and other resources can be challenging for some technological solutions to be successful. To mitigate this risk investors should make sure technological offer is the right fit for geography/demographic to be served.
  • Multilingual classrooms can pose adoption challenges depending on the solution. To mitigate this risk, investors should make sure solution utilizes user centric approaches, making sure to understand the context in which it will be implemented and how to guarantee larger adoption from users (students/teachers) in this specific situation.

Evidence Risk:

  • Limitations in monitoring impact may arise if a startup does not have the capacity to monitor and evaluate key outcome metrics. Especially when talking about “improving teacher well-being”, it can be challenging to capture the impact. An inability to adequately capture a solution’s impact or relying on a third party to monitor its own progress introduces the risk of error. To mitigate that risk, investor should carefully understand the type of data/indicators provided by investee and push for more metrics that tell a better outcome/impact story. Carefully and realistically social impact performance reporting should be designed.

External Risk:

  • Factors outside of providing “alternative models o education” and “supportive learning environments” can prevent students from learning and teachers from teaching (i.e.: trauma, language barriers, new shocks and crisis, health issues, etc.), thereby limiting the strategy’s expected impact on students and teachers. To mitigate this risk, investors should make sure investees understand the limits of the context in which the solution will be implemented, monitor performance and adapt as needed.

What are likely consequences of these impact risk factors?

Such risks could lead to difficulties in reaching the desired impact or even generate negative impacts.

Illustrative Investment

The Instant Network Schools Programme, a joint initiative of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Vodafone, reaches more than 40,000 students and 600 teachers in 20 primary and secondary schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania. The objective is to reach more than 60,000 students in 2018 (safaricom, 2017). It equips them with internet through a satellite or mobile network connection, electricity through solar-powered batteries and a backup generator, and dynamic digital content through preloaded and online resources, connecting remote and isolated communities with the rest of the world. Preliminary data from an evaluation in Kenya pointed at a 3% point increase in attendance rates and a 36% increase in the participation rate for primary school certificate examinations.
Ideas Box was developed by the NGO Libraries Without Borders, together with UNHCR. It has an education component that follows the usual approach of third-party content not aligned with curricula, but also includes additional information and cultural resources. These range from books and films to cameras and graphic design software. The aim is to create a community space that enriches the experience of isolated communities. A qualitative evaluation of its deployment in two Burundi camps hosting Congolese refugees showed a positive impact in measures of resilience. Since its inseption, 59 Ideas Box kits were implemented in emergency and reconstruction contexts, providing more than 850,000 refugees, displaced and vulnerable people with the means to reconnect with the world, gain self-reliance and strengthen children’s education.

Draw on Evidence

This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.

NESTA: 2
Essence of Learning: An approach to foster and sustain children’s ability to learn in times of crisis

Caritas Switzerland. 2017. “Essence of Learning: An approach to foster and sustain children’s ability to learn in times of crisis.” Promising Practices in Refugee Education Case Study

NESTA: 2
Standing in the gap for Rohingya refugee children: A Community approach to making education possible

Children on the Edge. 2017. “Standing in the gap for Rohingya refugee children: A Community approach to making education possible.” Promising Practices in Refugee Education Case Study

NESTA: 2
Little Ripples: Refugee-led early childhood eduction

Dallain, Sara-Christine and Katie-Jay Scott. Little Ripples: Refugee-led early childhood education. iACT, 2013.

NESTA: 3
An EiE Research-Practice Partnership: Learning to improve academic and social-emotional outcomes.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) & Global TIES for Children at New York University (TIES/NYU)

NESTA: 3
Ideas Box: An Innovating Psychosocial Tool for Emergency Situations

Lachal, C. 2015. Ideas Box: An Innovating Psychosocial Tool for Emergency Situations – Impact Study in the Kavumu and
Bwagirisa Camps, Burundi. Washington, DC, Libraries Without Borders

NESTA: 2
Learning and Empowerment for Adolescents in their Neighbourhoods (LEARN): Neighbourbood-based blended learning for adolescent Syrian refugees

Mercy Corps. LEARN: Neighbourhood-based blended learning for adolescent Syrian refugees. Portland, Oregon: Mercy Corps, 2016.

NESTA: 2
Norwegian Refugee Council’s Accelerated Education Responses: A Meta-Evaluation

Shah, R. 2015. Norwegian Refugee Council’s Accelerated Education Responses: A Meta-Evaluation. Oslo, Norwegian Refugee Council

NESTA: 2
Non-formal education programming: An approach to increasing enrollment into the formal system

Norwegian Refugee Council. Non-formal education programming: An approach to increasing enrollment into the formal system. Norwegian Refugee Council, 2013.

NESTA: 1
Non-formal education program: An innovation to build and nurture youth-centred creativity, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership in refugee contexts

Relief International. Non-formal education program. An innovation to build and nurture youth-centred creativity, problem-solving, teamwork and eladership in refugee contexts. Relief International, 2016

NESTA: 2
Learning & Well-being in Emergencies: A three-pronged approach to improving refugee education

McKinney, Rachel and Caroline Keenan. Learning & Well-being in Emergencies: A three-pronged approach to improving refugee education. Washington, D.C.: Save the Children, 2016.

NESTA: 1
Programme on the Move – development and implementation of innovative and flexible participatory programmes for children on the move.

Besedic, Jelena, Ljiljana Dosen, Tatjana Ristic, Ivan Tasic, Nina Stamenkovic. Save the Children International, Refugee Response in Serbia. Save the Children, 2016.

NESTA: 2
Strengthening Teacher Professional Development: Local and global communities of practice in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Mendenhall, Mary. Strengthening Teacher Professional Development: Local and global communities of practice in Kakuma Refugee Kamp. 2016.

NESTA: 2
Bringing hope in times of conflict: UNRWA Education in Emergencies programme

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Bringing hope in times of conflict: UNRWA Education in Emergencies programme. UNRWA, 2016.

NESTA:
Learning in the Face of Adversity: the UNRWA education program for Palestine refugees

Abdul-Hamid, H., Patrinos, H. A., Reyes, J., Kelcey, J. and Diaz Varela, A. 2016. Learning in the Face of Adversity: The UNRWA
Education Program for Palestinian Refugees. Washington, DC, World Bank

NESTA: 2
Instant Network Schools: A Connected Education programme

Vodafone Foundation. 2017. Instant Network Schools: a Connected Education Programme. Newbury, Vodafone Foundation

NESTA: 1
Time to be a Child: Play, Learning and Child-Centred Development for Children Affected by the Syrian Crisis

Oddy, Jessica. Time to be a Child: Play, Learning and Child-Centred Development for Children Affected by the Syrian Crisis. War Child, 2016.

NESTA: 1
Two Schools in One: Management of high enrolment in refugee secondary schools

Murwanjama, Josephine and Phyllis Mureu. Two Schools in One: Management of high enrollment in refugee secondary schools. Windle Trust Kenya, 2016.

NESTA: 2
Remedial Education Programme: An Innovation to Improve Girls’ Academic Performance in Refugee Contexts

Kinoti, Timothy and Lucy Philpott. Remedial Education Programme: An Innovation to Improve Girls’ Academic Performance in Refugee Contexts. WUSC/EUMC, 2011.

NESTA: 1
We Love Reading: Promoting Literacy and Education through Reading Aloud in Community Settings

Dajani, Rana. We Love Reading: Promoting literacy and education through reading aloud in community settings. We Love Reading, 2016.

NESTA: 2
Refugee education: Is technology the solution?

Wagner, Emma and Save the Children UK. Refugee Education: Is technology the solution? Save the Children UK, n.d.

NESTA: 3
RCT of village-based schools in Afghanistan

Burde, D., & Linden, L. (2013). Bringing education to Afghan girls: A randomized controlled trial of village-based schools. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(3), 27–40.

NESTA: 2
The Escuela Nueva (The New School) in Colombia; An Innovative Educational Program in Developing Countries

Aldawsari, Refah Ahmed and Samar Mari. The Escuela Nueva (The New School) in Colombia; An Innovative Educational Program in Developing Countries. Multi-Knowledge Electronic Comprehensive Journal For Education And Science Publications (MECSJ) ISSUE (15), Dec (2018).

Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.

Define Metrics

Core Metrics

This starter set of core metrics — chosen from the IRIS catalog with the input of impact investors who work in this area — indicate performance toward objectives within this strategy. They can help with setting targets, tracking performance, and managing toward success.

Additional Metrics

While the above core metrics provide a starter set of measurements that can show outcomes of a portfolio targeted toward this goal, the additional metrics below — or others from the IRIS catalog — can provide more nuance and depth to understanding your impact.