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Compassion Education Corps

Utilize an established network of cities, specialized partners and a community of a million people to respond to educational needs & crises.

Photo of Marilyn Turkovich
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What problem does your innovation solve?

The Charter for Compassion proposes the creation & implementation of a corps of global volunteers from our network: to react to continuing the education of students during times of crisis and disaster and to create an online learning program for girls who are being robbed of an education. We intend to team up with, a company known for applying technology that tackle difficult problems & promotes community and action in their platforms. Also, Xocial has a track record on measurement.

Explain your innovation.

We propose to create and execute a train-the-trainer program. The design and implementation would be for a corps of teachers, social workers and Charter members, in a selected pilot country, to be able to respond in an emergency to the educational needs of youth and especially of girls. As purported in the writings of Paulo Friere we would be working closely with local people to inform the content and process for the program. For example, the Charter has a number of partners in Amman, Jordan, who are working with refugee programs at the border and in Amman proper, who currently help with tutoring and providing supplemental learning experiences. Many of the latter are geared to what might be termed "survival education." While this is meaningful work it doesn't always get to the core need of education as seen by youth and their families. With the help of the Compassion Education Corps we will work to enhance existing curricula and work with to produce the curricula through smart phones, use of the cloud and/or by using flash drives. The simpler the technology the better. In a recent training session in Amman, working with almost 250 students, teachers, admin and parents, students from 11 different schools undertook creating compassion projects for their individual schools by using the OpenIDEO process. We can use this same process to design our curriculum. The beauty of working with local partners is that the material can be developed in the vernacular language.

Who benefits?

The world will benefit from the education of a child. With more than 123 million children between the ages of 15- 24, who can't read or write, 61% are girls. Children born to literate mothers are 50% more likely to send their children to school thus ending a cycle that plaques over 65 million girls. In Amman with the refugee crisis, there are many professionals in the camps and in resettlement who can become a part of the Compassion Ed Corps-becoming primary contributors and teachers in the program along with local Charter members. The program can be a K-12 venture, with the help of involving older students with younger children as well as with corps members. Curriculum will be developed to respond to the needs of girls. Number of children served will be based on how many people are in the corps. We propose to work where we have multiple partners. Our expectations are high. Measurement will be quantitative & qualitative-pointing to skills & content results & analysis for replication.

How is your innovation unique?

We are proposing a student directed curriculum. Just as Sugata Mitra was able to prove with his "Hole in the Wall" approach to education (he put a computer in a hut in India- allowed students to use it) students can learn on their own & more importantly teach others. Mitra has gone on to do amazing work world wide. We are adding help to students in the way of the Compassion Education Corps-directed by people from their own communities-in their own language. Integrate the work originating in Paulo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, starting with the notion of coming to consciousness of need and incorporate Mitra's learning experiences. Our approach will also include the principles of Robert Hanvey through introducing how education should be guided by understanding one's own perspectives and weighing them against others, awareness and caring for the earth, importance of cultural continuity, and an acute understanding of the inter-dependency of the world and responsibility to act.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Technological transfer of content is a concern. How best to work with locals to determine the educational content needs and address the differences in values: such as the importance of girls receiving equal education opportunities. Development of unique pragmatic experiences that become a focal points for continuing on a theme of learning. Arriving at several different models of measurement & evaluation, i.e., how can students measure their own learning and make decisions on next steps; what parts of what we do can be replicated in other geographic areas; can there be a template through which we can start a new process; how much of the training can be done through the internet; what are the best presentations for archiving materials.

Tell us more about you.

Charter for Compassion is a network of cities, made up of grassroot organizers who are working on sustainable action plans to address severe needs in their locale. They do this in conjunction with sector partners (arts, business, education, environment, healthcare, interfaith, peace, social justice, social services, science & research, women & girls). There are 400 cities & 1700 partners. In addition, we have geographic hubs in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, UK, USA.

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

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Extreme drought

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Prime places for the Compassion Education Corps' work would be in Jordan in two camps, Zaatari and Mrajeeb Al Fhood and resettlement programs hosted by the Collateral Repair Project, an organization responsible for providing for 5000 Syrian and Iraqi families. We also have strong local partnerships with schools, teachers and healthcare providers who would be trained, along with recruits from the camps to be a part of the Corps. There is a compassionate city program in Amman to lend support.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

In addition to Jordan we are poised with strong Charter teams in Mexico , Pakistan, Indonesia to work with emergency situations in those countries or in the case of Mexico, in other Spanish speaking countries. Our Australian team, which is closely linked to education and healthcare can be trained to help in expanding our work in the Asia and the Pacific. The Charter also has a healthcare hub located in Canberra at the National University with access to a strong core of educators and students.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

As stated above, the Charter has initiatives in 52 countries with multiple partners. Depending on the country(ies) selected for this project we would first enlist the efforts of the organizing team from the city and then partners. Using Jordan as an example, we would solicit help from the Amman city team, local schools, Charter partners: Collateral Repair Project, Help4Refugees, Reclaim Childhood and UNICEF. The Amman team continues to build partnerships and defining its work.

Sector Expertise

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

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

The Charter director, instructional designer & facilitator,has been involved in intercultural education programs for over 30 years heading National Security in Education programs in Brazil at the Paulo Friere Institute, Guatemala working with Women for Guatemala, and directing three Fulbright Hayes Fellowship programs in India. In addition, the Charter's Global Compassion Council has a number of members who are working on localized issues in Cuba, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Pakistan & Palestine.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

Charter for Compassion International is registered through the State of WA, US. We have 400 city organizing teams in 52 countries & 8 country hubs.


Main Ed section on site includes registration for our Compassion Schools Charter, a section on thinking about education and revolutionary ideas: is one of 4 pages we have-including women and girls: Maintain accounts on,, Instragram, &
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Attachments (2)


The Charter for Compassion is a document that urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion. In May 2013, the Dalai Lama said the Compassionate Cities campaign is one of the most important activities on the planet. Charter Partners have created a Compassionate School Network in Pakistan, a Dutch Compassion Award and Stanford researchers are showing businesses why compassion is good for the bottom line.


Since its inception the Charter for Compassion (CCI) has been committed to cultivating compassion in educational settings, and creating the kind of culture where it is a norm of student and staff behavior. We have created a Charter for Compassionate Schools, a Compassion Reader which includes sections on revolutionary and transformative ideas on education, conducted workshops that address dealing with critical issues based on the pedagogy of Paulo Friere and published a number of online guides.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Pattie

As I read your proposal as well as all of the comments, I feel proud, moved, and inspired. Working closely with the youth, their families, and local to shape the content and process lays groundwork for curriculum that address the identified wishes, needs, and challenges as well as enhance the existing curricula. Drawing on professionals who are in the camps and in resettlement, involving older students as well as each city's partners, capitalizes on local resources. Utilizing the Charter for Compassion Network local partners and global volunteers magnetizes the offering. Once the technology is worked out and the curriculum, the train-the-trainer approach using the corps of teachers, social workers, and Charter members makes implementation so much more doable.
I am aware that Michelle Obama and Meryl Streep (along with others) developed a global educational initiative for girls. I would suggest that the Compassion Education Corps connect with that initiative during the planning phase. to see what might be learned from this initiative. I would be willing to research this if that would be helpful.
As I looked up the link, I discovered that Trump talked in May of ending aspects of the Let Girls Learn programming. It is not clear if that has happened. Michelle says she plans to continue. The possible ending of the program makes Compassion Education Corps all the more timely!
I, like Michael, wondered about including boys. After reading that 61% of those 15-24 are girls, I support starting with them and as the pilot projects are assessed and found to be a doable model, then consider providing the program to boys. And I am reminded that Archbishop Desmond Tutu says: "IF WE ARE GOING TO SEE REAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE WORLD THEN OUR BEST INVESTMENT IS WOMEN."
I too support interactive experiences, dialogue, and opportunities for connecting beyond the internet as long as that is identified as a need by the students and those locals involved in the shaping of the curriculum.
I am also gratified by the number of people that have added comments after reading the proposal. We already have a corps of people who are shaping the proposal that has been so carefully crafted by Marilyn.

Photo of Marilyn Turkovich

Pattie, your reference to the Let Girls Learn is wonderful, and yes, I think we should contact them immediately and I would suggest that you coordinate that effort with Sande Hart (Charter's Women and Girls sector coordinator).

You are correct as comments come in they present a wonderful opportunity to begin to define the project in more detail and to respond to the possibilities of new approaches. I am very anxious that we begin forming the team for this program. I think we can do this shortly. Prior to the Feedback function of OpenIDEO I think we can explore who from our various Charter Compassion Hubs and Partner sectors what to be involved. We have received positive responses from the Compassionate Mexico and Australia hubs and a number of individuals from the Charter and have picked up some new interest from people responding to the Comment section here.

I think there is a general curriculum to this program for all students, a special one for girls and very possibly other programs (see Marco's question below). Much of this to be revisited very soon.

Photo of Sande Hart

Hi Patty, I am aware of the Let Girls Learn initiative and would like to bring this to the Women and Girls sector and invite this conversation with your help. Let's connect!!

Photo of Pattie Williams

Marilyn, Sande and I have connected. I agreed with Sande that I would do the research about the Let Girls Learn. And my goodness, what a comprehensive global strategy this is! Peace Corps, State Department, Agriculture Department, Labor Department, Millennium Challenge Corporation, US Agency for International Development are all involved. I have sent to you both a PDF overview of the research with links to each of the aspects of the global strategy. I learned a lot. So step 1 of what I offered is complete. Next steps could be that we link with this effort in someway to be determined. I also attempted to include the PDF in this comment section and was unsuccessful. Perhaps there is a way to include it once the two of you review it so that others can see what is being offered.

Photo of Pattie Williams

Sande, I did the research on Let Girls Learn. And my goodness, what a comprehensive global strategy this is! Peace Corps, State Department, Agriculture Department, Labor Department, Millennium Challenge Corporation, US Agency for International Development are all involved. I have sent to you both a PDF overview of the research with links to each of the aspects of the global strategy. I learned a lot. So step 1 of what I offered is complete. Next steps could be that we link with this effort in someway to be determined. I also attempted to include the PDF in this comment section and was unsuccessful. Perhaps there is a way to include it once the two of you review it so that others can see what is being offered.

Photo of Sande Hart

Hi Pattie- this is exciting stuff. We must get our Women and Girls Partners and Directors of Women and Girls and our Ambassadors, as well as City organizers to understand this and the impact this will have on not only these girls lives but their work as well. It's a natural relationship. Thank you for your research and excellent work. Let's keep this conversation moving forward and bring it to our layers of leadership.

Photo of Pattie Williams

By all means!

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