What problem are you trying to solve?
Millions of children worldwide miss out on education. Affected by conflict, multiple barriers prevent them from unlocking their potential. Although funding for education is less than 2% of all humanitarian aid, parents and children affected by crisis consistently name it as one of their top priorities. Educational systems designed to function during relative peace are ill-equipped to handle crises. The most vulnerable children, particularly girls, are disproportionately excluded from schooling. Children living in conflict cannot access traditional education; classrooms are inaccessible or dangerous. Where schooling is accessible it often lacks quality; teachers are under-qualified or absent and government education budgets are insufficient. The current standard humanitarian response often defaults to traditional measures like building schools and training teachers; this requires time, which children living in conflict cannot afford, and stability, which cannot be guaranteed.
What is your solution to this problem?
Through Can’t Wait to Learn, children learn by playing educational games on tablet computers. The game artwork, characters and storyline are designed together with the children themselves. The custom-made games include instruction, practice, and a learning management system. This means that Can’t Wait to Learn can provide quality education to all children, no matter where they are. It can be delivered in places where there are no (or not enough) classrooms or teachers. And to both refugee and host community children, whether in formal Ministry of Education schools or through catch-up learning programmes within community centres. Strong Ministry of Education partnerships ensure that children can follow education pathways towards government certificates they desperately hope for. Being technology-driven, Can’t Wait to Learngenerates significant data for evaluative purposes. Results to date show positive indications that the model is empowering, flexible, innovative, and cost-effective.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
Can’t Wait to Learn began as a trial project called e-Learning Sudan, in which Sudanese children learned basic numeracy skills in a fun and effective way playing customized games, based on Sudan’s primary out of school math curriculum. In 2017, Can’t Wait to Learn expanded to respond to the education needs of refugees and host communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Uganda, while also expanding our reach in Sudan. Already, we have strong learning and well-being results. Research studies in Lebanon and Sudan have shown significant learning results, offering promise for impact at scale. We are now trialling our Arabic reading games in Sudan and Jordan. In addition, we are currently developing new games, including English reading for South Sudanese refugees and a scaled user-centred, end to end data management system tracking learner entry and exit level and learningprogress. The system is in compliance with Dutch and EU regulatory and common humanitarian standards.