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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.

Photo of Dave Hughes

Hi Tarenah, this is a great idea! My name is David Hughes and I am the Project Director for the Bendigo Inventor Awards.

Now in our 7th year, the Bendigo Inventor awards have as our focus inventions that address needs in the Emergency Services and Disaster Management space, and we offer a AUD$10,000 prize for the winning entry. The Bendigo Inventor Awards has also created an environment for inventors to obtain support for their ideas by bringing together a coalition of partners with the knowledge, skills and networks to accelerate the progression of ideas from concept through to commercialisation. Major Program Partners include Engineers Australia who are providing technical feedback, KPMG who are offering advice on commercial viability and the path to commercialisation and Red Cross, who are providing their perspective on the relevance of many inventions to disaster relief efforts. Our judging panel also contains representatives from Emergency Management Victoria, who are able to provide similar feedback on the applicability of inventions to the emergency services.

I believe your idea would be a fantastic entry into the awards. Applying is easy and can be done through our website Simply select the category that your invention applies to – ‘Concept’ or ‘Product and Prototype’, and answer some questions about your invention. All judges are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so your idea is protected. Entries close 5pm Friday 29th September 2017 AEST.

I very much look forward to seeing your invention go on to great success, and hope we are able to assist you in enabling that to happen. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch on the phone number above, or via my email at

David Hughes
Project Director
Bendigo Inventor Awards

Photo of OpenIDEO

Expert Feedback Question 4: In your expert opinion, does this Idea pass the ‘do no harm’ principles? Do you believe that there may be any unseen or undocumented risks?

- Experts shared, “Curating contents may represent a challenge, especially if there is a wide range of languages. Providing access to high quality and verified contents can be difficult. Depending on the subjects taught using the platform, the selection of contents can be more or less a political matter and may in some cases represent a potential risk for the users. Defining criteria for the selection of contents and setting up a community of curators can help in solving this challenge.”

Expert Feedback Question 5: Based on your experience and expertise, is this an Idea that you’d like to see brought to life? Why or why not?

- One expert shared, “Yes, absolutely. E-Nexus is addressing crucial challenges, and is flexible enough to allow implementation in various settings. I would like to see how the different adoption scenarios of E-Nexus: by the Ministry of Education of a host country, by a humanitarian organization in a refugee camp, by a local organization working towards the integration of refugees within a country, etc.”

- Another shared, “Yes, I think that in theory, this idea could be extremely valuable. However, as this is a very early stage idea, more planning and testing is necessary. there are a few key questions that are yet to be answered. I think the capturing and storing of academic data is a really nice idea and provided it is safe and secure, I would love to see this part of the intervention brought to life.”

Looking ahead in the development of your Idea, the following are some questions that may be helpful to consider and integrate into your contribution!

- What about psychological support needs? What about if they lack understanding or basic knowledge?

- Will you make host countries pay for this service? How else will the development and ongoing running of this be funded?

- How would you see the interactions or interoperability with other existing solutions? For instance, with platforms providing contents (such as Khan Academy), or with hardware solutions for access to information (such as BRCK), or with other platforms (such as Kolibri)? I work for an organization called Libraries Without Borders, and we would be very interesting in thinking about possible collaboration with you.

- How will you ensure that it is secure? What support is offered for those who have questions or who do not understand the curriculum?

- What if the gaps in knowledge or education level are not known about the student? This will influence what materials you present.

Join us for Storytelling Office Hours Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 8:30AM - 9:30AM PST! RSVP at by Monday, July 24, 2017 Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an Idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - August 6 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your Idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Taraneh Missaghian

E-Nexus is a platform that will allow Education Providers to reach more children in a more efficient way. The content of the courses*, assessing the knowledge level of students and tailor the content to address their specific needs will be the responsibility of the EPs.
For children and youth that cannot keep up with the courses, E-Nexus will facilitate the communication between students and the EPs by enabling different solutions such as email, chat rooms, and forums.
Psychological and psychosocial needs can be addressed through blended learning methods. E-Nexus can only be used to a certain extent. Digital courses cannot replace the necessity of face-to-face interaction. There is extensive evidence on how breathing techniques, psychologic first aids, yoga and other practices are positive coping mechanisms. These supports cannot be done just using a digital platform.

In addition to measurement of safeguarding contents through verified EDs, E-Nexus will have a policy of duty of care and child safeguarding towards the end- users that will be mandatory for all organizations and institution engaged in its use. The platform will comply with all security standards in the sector in term of privacy, data storage, and users’ information. Furthermore, learners with access the platform will receive guidance about safety and security of their information. This will include information about sexual harassment, scams and any other potential risks using digital technology.

It is in our interest to have interactions and collaboration with other organizations that can leverage the impact of E-Nexus intervention. We will be looking forward to collaborating with BRCK to find solutions for Network infrastructure barriers, Khan Academy, Kolibri, and Libraries Without Border for development of courses and expansion of services and Translators Without Borders for widening language spectrum, to name the few.
*Is necessary to stress that all courses must be compliant with the vision and framework of INEE Minimum Standers- Convention of Rights of the Child and Humanitarian principles.

Photo of Emilie

Hi Taraneh,

This is a great idea! From my limited experience with this topic, I believe this would be a very valuable tool. The fact that it would be available on mobile phones, either on- or off-line, is so important, as this is often the most accessible technology. Have you thought about what kind of approval process one would have to go through in order to become an "Educational Provider"? Would anyone be able to create and publish a course, or will there be some way to check content before it is published? I ask this in part because I wonder if adults living in the emergency communities would have valuable lessons/courses to contribute, particularly to address the psycho-social support courses. Would E-Nexus be intuitive enough to navigate by these individuals, or would it be up to host governments and NGOs to collaborate with them?

Photo of Taraneh Missaghian

Hi Emilie ,

You ask very interesting questions and I would like to thank you for that. When it comes to content, we believe E-Nexus should stay neutral and not responsible for produced contents to be able to support and provide quality services to its community of learners and Education Providers. For that matter our approach is to work with legal entities rather than individuals. Organizations that are committed to Convention of the Rights of the Child ( CRC), Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and Humanitarian Principles will have our approval to become Education Providers.
We also have a solution for small NGOs or communities. They can register with us as Education Providers and ask for reference from approved Organizations. When they get endorsed and verified by them, they will have their courses published. This way even individuals can bring their valuable life lessons to our platform while we ensure their courses does not pose any harm to the learner community.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Taraneh Missaghian and Team!

We’re excited to share feedback and questions from our experts with you. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your Idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your Idea. Your Idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

Our expert reviewers were particularly impressed your Idea hones in on a specific, pressing need in the education and emergency space. Experts were especially excited that this was the first intervention to allow host countries to create and standardise their own curriculum.

Expert Feedback Question 1: Based on your knowledge and experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the Challenge question?

- Experts shared, “E-Nexus is addressing one of the tremendous challenges faced by organizations wishing to provide high quality educational resources in emergency situations. There are other platforms offering both access to contents for learners and diffusion of educational resources for contents creators. However E-Nexus offers an interesting and innovative way of connecting both communities: learners and content providers. With an interface designed to facilitate both the creation of contents and the use of these contents - offline and online - E-Nexus could significantly lower the barriers to the integration of e-learning in the humanitarian field.”

Expert Feedback Question 2: Human-centered design starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their real needs. We are seeking to support Ideas that consider desirability, feasibility, and viability. How does this Idea measure up? How does this Idea consider user needs?

- An expert shared, “E-Nexus combines the needs of the end-users of the platform (the learners) and the constraints faced by content providers. The innovators will have to solve interesting challenges in terms of ergonomy, management of different languages, e-literacy, as well as connectivity and asynchronous updates of both contents and analytics. I gathered that E-Nexus is still at an early stage of development. If so, focus groups with refugee learners, organisations working in education in the humanitarian sector and content providers would be precious in outlining the main constraints and needs of these actors. I would advise being careful though in trying to answer to many challenges with one tool.”

- Another expert shared, “I think that this program does target the needs of those who cannot attend school in emergency situations. It offers them flexibility and the ability to go at their own pace. However, this assumes that the only reason education is not being successful is due to a lack of access. What about psychological support needs? What about if they lack understanding or basic knowledge? Feasibility is not known as the funding model is not clear. The idea is viable, provided adequate support from host governments and NGOs is obtained.”

Expert Feedback Question 3: If this Idea is submitted from a larger organization, does it have a sustainable funding model? If this Idea is submitted from an early stage Idea, does it have the potential to develop a model for sustainability long-term?

- Experts shared, “The fact that E-Nexus answers the needs of the refugees, as well as contents providers and NGOs working in the education sector is a fantastic opportunity to develop a sustainable model. The costs of developing a platform can be huge, considering not only the needs for the IT development, but also the needs to fit implementation constraints, the maintenance and the training needs. Finding a model in which organizations lease the services provided by E-Nexus could provide a solution for sustainability and cover part of the development costs.”

[Feedback continued in next comment]

Photo of Rasal Lia

Hi, Taraneh
It's really a brilliant innovation. Thank you for your research to identify the needs in emergency and for your plan of addressing them point to point. I like to add from my findings in my community. I tried to know the reason of high absenteeism. They didn't say 'not interested in education' or 'in appropriate technology' or 'costly' or 'quality shortage'; they replied that they had to work or remain busy with some other professions, or they faced travelling problem. Do you have any suggestion to address the obstacles if the children and youth need to work to earn in emergency?

Photo of Taraneh Missaghian

Hi Rasal Lia ,
Thanks for your interest in the idea and sharing your field experience with us. As you pointed out one of the many reasons that children skip school is Forced Child Labour. That means even if schooling is accessible, these children have to work during school hours, and consequently they cannot attend the school. Organizing courses for these children to attend after work is not easy. However, this is one of the areas where E-Nexus will have a significant positive impact by providing around the clock access to courses which give the students all the flexibility they need to study at their own pace.

Photo of Rasal Lia

Thanks for your plan for better educational outcomes.

Photo of Mary

As you state the main challenge will be to develop the content. Are you thinking about this or your work is to sell the shell for others to fill. If not it may be good to work with curriculum bodies and subject panels in the development of content.

Photo of Taraneh Missaghian

Dear Mary 
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. In fact, I am very happy that you brought up this question. Education in emergency faces many challenges and requires different approaches for different emergencies. Generally, displaced children require more than just a normal curriculum. They are traumatized and at risk of child right violation and exploitation. More over they are difficult to reach and usually, there is a lack of trained teachers. It is crucial to provide quality psycho-social support along with regular math and science education to them. That being said, We believe that each course content has to be designed based on emergency context and by the local education experts. As much as any NGO, being small or large, depends on the filed workers to respond to the emergency, so do we. Therefore, we partner with curriculum bodies and implementing organizations. They know what content they need while we know how they can make a quality virtual course in the native language, and fit to available infrastructure. We cannot and we should not develop course content. However, we make content more interesting by our supports and trainings on "How to Make a Successful Course". Our expertise lies in providing and adapting the necessary technologies so Education specialists working Emergencies develop desired courses without compromising anything.

I have seen many ideas in this Open IDEO challenge that are trying to incorporate virtual courses to their education response. Having these many ideas from different emergencies tells me that there is a need for a robust platform where they can develop their content without stepping in the complex technical process of developing the platform itself. We can address their need so they could concentrate on their expertise and gives us feedback on how we can better help them meet their needs.

I hope I could have elaborate what is our approach to content development. Please don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions.

Photo of Mânâ Karkouti Azizi

This is such a great practical idea; capable of covering such basic educational needs of refugee families who are mostly unsettled in a certain place and through this program, they can carry education with themselves without worrying about their learning process being interrupted by displacement. It is also such a convenient program for NGOs to invest on, in comparison to more expensive and more challenging educational plans as it uses a globally accessible platform.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Taraneh Missaghian  thanks for jumping into the Challenge! It'd be helpful to learn a bit more about how this idea would work by adding more content to the Full Description part of your post. To update your post, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to your Full Description field. Then click Save after you're done updating! Let us know if you have any questions.

Excited to learn more about your idea!