Educating the Poorest Children
Every day, it seems, we hear about children denied an education. The reasons vary widely and include war and conflict, early marriage, gender and the grinding effects of poverty. The scale of the problem can seem daunting, with 124 million children and adolescents out of school. On top of that, the poor quality of education available to many of those who are in school means that many children are barely getting the basic literacy and numeracy skills they need to get ahead. There’s a lot to do to ensure every child has the chance to go to school and to learn. We are working towards finding new ways to effectively reach some of the world’s most vulnerable children by supporting innovative projects for maximum impact.
To achieve our goals, we devote a huge amount of time and energy into choosing projects and liaising with international partners to find effective learning materials and the means to distribute them.
The need is massive yet our resources limited. We want the biggest bang for our buck, the largest impact possible, and one that will be sustainable well into the future. This gives our investment a “multiplier effect.” A dollar now yields larger future rewards. This sustainability is crucial to making sure that future generations benefit from our investments now.
As you can see in the graph below, the number of out-of-school children fell drastically from 2000-2007, then stabilized at a high level. The most recent data showed a small increase. If we continue on the same path we are on, with marginal improvements that can barely keep up with population growth, it will take 70 years to ensure that all children can finish lower secondary school. That is simply not good enough. A new approach is needed. The question is HOW to reach them.
Out-of-School Children & Adolescents
Thankfully, open source educational materials and new, mobile technologies are opening up a myriad of possibilities. Our research team has analyzed best practices and the most effective ways to integrate technology into the learning process.
Our project in Sierra Leone this year will give girls and boys in a remote community access to offline learning materials KA Lite and Fantastic Phonics in an after-school setting. We want the program to be fun and to ignite and sustain in the children a passion for learning. Moreover, through a partnership with McGill University, we will be measuring the results so that we can better understand the impact of our investment and it’s applicability to different groups of out-of-school children.