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A digital platform dedicated to Education in Emergency offering ITC assistance to organizations and context-specific materials to learners

Photo of Taraneh Missaghian

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What problem does your innovation solve?

According to UNHCR more than 2 million youth don't have a chance to attend secondary school. Barriers to secondary education in emergencies are; 1. Being costly • for refugee families that struggling with daily life challenges  • for host communities and host government to find resources • for emergency funded organizations with priorities, namely; food, water, shelter and medical care.  2. Requires more specialized and qualified teachers and materials

Explain your innovation.

Education Nexus is a digital platform working online and offline, through application or web page that empowers organizations working on the provision of education to design and implement context-specific courses, and helps learners to experience an easy and fun way of learning in their native languages that are adapted to their context and completely free of charge. E-Nexus addressed significant gaps in Education in Emergency such as: 1. A gap between scarcity of online educational content in spoken languages of affected population versus overwhelming and confusing available sources in English or other commonly used languages of the digital world. 2. A gap between humanitarian world and IT world. The humanitarian machine is slow in utilizing new technologies in their response. Whereas, IT is an industry that has the fastest growth. Advancement in IT has not found its proper place in program development for Education in Emergency. - E-Nexus is a digital platform where Education Providers and Learners have two different portals and levels of access - Education Providers can create courses, exams, curriculums and credentials - Learners have free access to course materials - Course materials are context-oriented and support native languages of the affected population - E-Nexus Keeps student educational records safe and accessible from anywhere - E-Nexus assists government with digitalizing courses, exams, and credential

Who benefits?

E-Nexus has two different groups of beneficiaries: A) Education Providers ( EPs); such as NGOs and government will use E-Nexus to: - Easily create courses using templates, toolkits, and Modular Resources* - Receive technical support for developing courses - Have an easy to use application compatible with their device of choice and desired language - Have a database to monitor progress and evaluate results - Receive direct feedbacks from students on a real time. B) E-Nexus Learners: - Benefit from contents available in their native languages free of charge. - Learn to interact with the application and other student or teachers on the platform. - Have their educational records stored for them. Our innovation especially benefits girls who face greater restrictions than boys. *Modular Resource is a library of educational illustrations and short animated videos that are categorized by topics and languages to mix and match with teaching-learning content. This service is free.

How is your innovation unique?

Our in-depth experience in Education in Emergencies plus knowledge of ITC and startup ecosystem is what makes us different in our approach. Our innovation is unique because we think holistically. We are moving from short termed local actions to a global response that will be used locally. We are bridging a gap. We are creating a digital hub where education provider and learners meet, interact and develop prosperity. Our approach targets the most vulnerable students in the most remote areas and adapts MOOC technology to their context. We want to harness the global but scattered effort in providing Eduction in Emergency into one unique platform, that is locally customized.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

How to scale and maintain sustainable growth is our main concern. We have two principal challenges ahead of us: 1) Acceptance and extensive use of E-Nexus platform by Education Providers including government, NGOs, and UN. 2) A sustainable financial model that relies not only on funds, but also on the streams of revenues from additional services.

Tell us more about you.

We started as two individuals Taraneh with background in design, social impact entrepreneurship and refugee response and Ariel who works as Education Advisor for NRC with years of experience in EiE. . During feedback process our team has grown in number and expertise by incorporating program developers and social entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, Iran and US. We are still in the process of setting up the most adequate team and we have engaged in conversation with possible partner organizations.

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

  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Afghans are currently the second largest refugee group after Syrian refugees. According to UN 6 million Afghans living as refugees mostly in neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran. Today there are 1.3 million people of concern inside Afghanistan including internally displaced due to conflicts, and among which 60% are children and youth.Our pilot project will target Dari-speaking Afghan refugees and IDPs.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

Based on our feedback, E-Nexus will be developed to host courses in Dari and Pashto languages in the pilot project. The platform is suitable to be used in multiple locations inside and outside Afghanistan as long as the language is supported and ITC infrastructure is compatible. After successfully testing the application with our partner NGOs inside Afghanistan we will expand our language services and locations into other regions in Middle East.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

We have started the ground work to get engaging with the Afghanistan Education in Emergencies Working Group (EIE WG), the main coordination body of all EiE repose in the country. We are engaging with Afghan civil society that are very well positioned to be key-partners of E-Nexus. They have outreach to IDPs as well as field level education institutions such as schools and community-based classes. Furthermore, they are part of the growing ecosystem of ICT start-ups and social entrepreneurs.

Sector Expertise

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

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.

How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

We gathered very impressive feedback from our community that led us to revise our strategy in key areas of A)course creating services and B)sustainability model. In working with Educational Providers, we divided our services into two categories of free and fee-based. We added A)Modular Resources for faster course creation experience free of charge and B)Tailored Services for organizations that want E-Nexus to create courses base on their materials and requirements. This service will be charged

Who will implement this Idea?

A team of developers has to work full time on the platform. Our partner NGOs and civil society in Afghanistan will create the very first courses with the support of developers’ team. Taraneh will be working full time with developers and liaise with Local NGOs and civil society and seek development of strategic partnership.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

1) For end-users, the main challenge will be to have the means to get connected ( online or offline) to E-Nexus Platform. In other words, the necessary hardware to enter to the platform and join the courses, which in emergencies is a challenge. 2)While access to E-Nexus is completely free for end-users, the EiE providers need to dedicate their resources to design and deliver courses and support learners children and youth via the E-Nexus application or in the blended learning system. For E-Nexus, it is critical that NGOs, UN, and Governments adopt the platform as a suitable vehicle to increase the equity in access and quality in content.

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

E-Nexus will be completely free of charge to end-users. It is also free for EPs that are using the platform standard services for creating and uploading courses. We are still working on our financial model. Initially, it will be based on funds. Later on, we will incorporate revenue model by offering customized services to EPs and other modules. Following our strategy, We are considering to register a non-profit in California estate where we can work easier with our technology partners and have better access to funding opportunities.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

Impact: We aim at hosting more than 8,000 courses in more than 20 languages with 15 million+ learners by 2022. Question: How do we adjust to different emergency responses to provide accessible and free quality education to achieve our vision for 2022?

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

We want our community of learners and EPs to grow over the time. We measure that by: # of EiE using the platform Growth rate in course sign-ups Growth rate in developing new courses To measure Progress in learning: % of the users who completed a course % of the users who continued studying by taking the next level course % of the students who visit the platform on the regular basis

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Q4 2017: Registering E-Nexus non-profit and setting up the program development team. Establishing financial model and defining key milestones. Jan- Oct 2018: Developing E-Nexus platform, prototyping and testing. Developing courses with partners NGOs in Afghanistan. Growing partnership Fundraising Oct 2018: Releasing the E-Nexus Beta platform in Dari while continuing development of the second phase modules Fundraising March 2019: E-Nexus Global platform releases Jan 2020: Growth phase

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • We didn't have an operating budget

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • No paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are not a registered entity.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Business Development / Partnerships Support
  • Business Model Support
  • Program/Service Design
  • Communications / Marketing / Graphic Design
  • Organizational Design
  • Other Technical Expertise
  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rebecca Petras

Your initiative is a very interesting one and is crucial for providing quality education for numbers of children especially minority groups who are not receiving education in their native languages.

I am the Deputy Director in Translators without Borders (TWB); a U.S. non-profit organization that aims to close the language gaps that hinder critical humanitarian efforts worldwide. We recognize that the effectiveness of any aid program depends on delivering information in the language of the affected population. By maintaining a global network of professional translators, we help non-profit organizations overcome communication barriers, increasing access to critical information and services while fostering a climate of understanding, respect and dignity in times of great need. We invite you to learn more about our work through this link. Translators without Borders is a non-profit organization supported entirely through our volunteers, grant funders and generous donors and sponsors.

TWB’s current translation capabilities exceed more than 190 language pairs with over 20000 translators. So far we have translated over 45 million words as part of humanitarian crisis response, and health and education services. We have also provided basic translator training to over 250 trainees in our translator training centre.

Since 2010, Translators without Borders (TWB) has played a crucial role within the humanitarian and development sectors leading on localization and translation of complex and lifesaving information into more than 190 languages, especially for populations in crisis. TWB has contributed to building the capacity of local translators in different parts of the world including in Kenya, Guinea and Greece.

Translators without Borders is expanding its program to support Mother Tongue Education programs. We want to work in collaboration with education providers to overcome the language barriers to mother-tongue education. TWB has the expertise and to:

Translate and adapte educational materials in local language, including training translators in local languages
Support Ministries and education providers to develop materials to support teachers in teaching in mother-tongue languages

We believe that our expertise around language and localization when coupled with your expertise and efforts in Education will expand the outreach to marginalized populations unable to benefit from quality education opportunities. It would be our pleasure to connect with you and learn more from you on your ongoing projects and discuss possible ways of cooperation together.

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