BEYOND SCHOOL WALLS: INSPIRATION FROM DISRUPTION
Little Ripples profiled by Education Above All (EAA) as an innovative organization with education programs grounded in community and designed for their unique contexts.
In our effort to identify organizations that have designed effective solutions to these challenges, we discovered that the COVID-19 pandemic-related school closure was just one incident in a long series of unfortunate events that disrupt the education of many learners. We became more acutely aware of the need for a variety of learning ecosystems that are custom-built for the different circumstances and contexts. With this in mind, we began profiling innovative organizations and alternative learning systems – all of which were already deeply ingrained into the communities of the learners, designed for their unique contexts and developed to be sustained. This report features 11 case studies of such organizations and initiatives where learning happens in the most marginalized communities regardless of their technological readiness. The report aims to spark inspiration and share the operational details of these initiatives for the benefit of other organizations struggling to understand this area or attempting to develop similar programs targeting learners in challenging contexts. Acknowledging the many spectrums of digital, parental and teacher readiness, stages of learning, content availability, and costs – we have designed a categorization model that is intended to guide the reader to the program most applicable in their context.
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Toward the end of January, iACT’s program associate Julia and I traveled to Chad to connect with our teammates living in the Darfuri refugee camps located in the eastern part of the country. We were there for a couple weeks, and the camps we stopped in were Am Nabak, Touloum, Iridimi, Djabal, and Goz Amer. We refer to this trip as “iACT33” because members of the iACT family, starting with our founder Gabriel Stauring, have now gone to Chad 33 times. Gabriel’s first trip was in 2005, and Katie-Jay later joined him for several visits.
By the afternoon, the consensus was encapsulated by what one humanitarian worker in Bangui told us, “This is CAR. It is always high risk.”
Teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining the quality of education.