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The mini-profession (I invite collaborators to join this idea)


Photo of Mitul Sarkar
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What problem does your innovation solve?

Kids who are displaced or in emergency situations often find themselves in a daily struggle to survive. So education takes the back seat. Many such kids, even in future years, must find the motivation to seek an education and to stay the course. My idea motivates kids to learn, because they choose education pathways that turn them into "junior" service providers with improved social standing in their families/communities. Pathways towards professions. Thus, reinforcing importance of education.

Explain your innovation.

Kids are encouraged to approach education "pathways" that qualify them to offer useful and often-necessary support services within their migrant/displaced/temporarily-housed communities. Such pathways include, for instance, Junior healthcare surveyor (utilizes math, writing, record keeping, teamwork, etc) Junior nurse aide (utilizes biology, first aid, record keeping, nutrition, etc) Junior engineer (STEM, public works projects in refugee camps, etc) Junior educator (teaching the less-literate kids) Junior art activist (art, social work, teamwork, etc), Junior agriculturalist (growing food, hydroponics, biology, etc) Junior journalist (writing, interviewing, photography, internet and social media, etc) Such educational pathways motivate kids and also help them play a bigger, better role in their families and communities. They learn to identify problems, propose solutions, and develop design thinking in the process (hat tip to Ivan!) While it may not be possible to find enough staff and teaching resources to "train" kids for their specific pathways, the curriculum may be designed to incorporate common elements as well as elements specific to each pathway. For example, math problems on fractions can be themed differently for the junior nurse aide pathway compared to the junior agriculturalist pathway. Mentorship for pathways can come from professionals who are already there working in emergency relief, or are retired and interested in volunteering as teach

Who benefits?

The children benefit, their families and their immediate communities also benefit.

How is your innovation unique?

This motivates children by showing them how their education and training will launch them into useful roles within their families/communities and prepare them for future professions.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

tbd. I invite collaborators to join this idea.

Tell us more about you.

Individual. I invite collaborators to join this idea.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Extreme drought

Emergency Setting - Elaborate


Where will your innovation be implemented?

Turkey. Indonesia. Mexico.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • No, not yet.

In-country Networks

Still seraching

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for less than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

Some teaching experience.

Innovation Maturity

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.

Organization Status

  • We are not registered but plan to in the future.

Organization Location





Join the conversation:

Photo of Ovonyoli Wanjiku

I believe that collaboration is the best way forward because all the proposals have something good to offer. I wish the final selection criteria would involve a merger of the best points in most of the ideas because while most are promising, none is perfect and can do with a different contribution complementing the process to obtain 200% success rate. For example, the idea of girls making reusable sanitary towels, can work well with the idea of educhips that contain information on the process alongside all the ideas that include peer education and community empowerment so that communities not only have information but also the means to share the information. In summary, your point of inviting collaboration make this the most open platform that will ensure success in the implementation of the challenge.

Photo of Ovonyoli Wanjiku

I would gladly collaborate with your innovation at any capacity. This challenge is coming off as a competition when it should be a platform for collecting ideas that will as a package, shape the education of the girl child. All the ideas are really good and I wonder the level of success that will come from implementing the innovative portion in each idea and incorporating them into a mega intervention. It would be amazing.

Photo of Mitul Sarkar

Thank you for those kind words, Ovonyoli. The ideas submission phase is over, and naturally people are waiting to see which submissions make it into the shortlist for the next phase.
Personally, I think of the challenge as a place for dialogue, more than a competition. It has been my good fortune to find people here who have a similar outlook.

Photo of Gina Cardazone

Hi! I'm really interested in this, though I realize it is in very early stages. For girls in particular, education definitely takes a backseat to other more immediate concerns in emergency situations. I'm particularly concerned about girls who are expected to take over their mother's role in maintaining a household and watching other children, etc., in times of hardship (e.g., drought). I think that education that is more clearly tied to future jobs will be more likely to be adopted, but I wonder about these obstacles:

(1) How this will conflict with other duties that children have to perform, which may be increased during stressful time periods?
(2) Training someone, especially a child, takes a lot of extra effort vs. doing things yourself. How can these programs be set up so that they are not burdensome to the person supervising and actually potentially decreases their workload?

Parents may be more likely to urge their children to go to school if their family will get some material benefit, if their school fees or additional costs are covered (in regions that have school fees), as these can be extremely prohibitive, particularly when parents have multiple children. Parents may also be particularly appreciative of skills that can help them directly - e.g., a girl may help a mother who does not know math with record keeping for a shop or small business. I feel like something akin to internships would be really helpful (and they have been used in some places), but may be more likely to be sustained if they offer a direct benefit to the family or community.

Photo of Mitul Sarkar

Gina, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I too have been thinking about the gender differences and about girls education in the emergency relief context, and so I am glad to see your thoughts.
Regarding the obstacles you mention:
(1) most education, unless self-paced (in which case it may just get pushed to the back burner) are likely to have some conflicts in time/resources, etc. People, when motivated, will find ways around those conflicts.
(2) the frequency of hands-on training (and thus the burden on the person supervising it) may vary across locations/situations, and the curriculum design will have to adjust for these uncertainties.

It is good that you mention the obstacles, since they are inevitable and must be planned for.

Here on OpenIDEO, much magic comes from intersections and collaborations. Please feel free to message me if you would like to help develop this idea. Thank you.