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Mobile School Game Library for (Non-) formal Education in Emergency Situations

We aim to implement an online learning platform with educational games to facilitate non-formal education in emergency situations.

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What problem does your innovation solve?

The Mobile School Game Library will be an answer to educational & psycho-social needs of kids in emergency situations to bridge the gap between communities in distress & formal educational systems . The main goals are: experience based learning through play, stress relief, coping with traumatic experiences, self-esteem development & empowerment, creating positive learning environments. By creating this platform, we will deliver easy accessible, user friendly and qualitative educational content.

Explain your innovation.

The Mobile School Game Library is an online database with educational content for non-formal education. This content is based on the Mobile School methodology, with the goal to raise the self-esteem of kids. Our work with street-connected children, has given the evidence that our educational tools have a positive impact on the child’s development. The main reasons are: - a positive & empowering relationship between educator & child - the creation of easy accessible & positive learning spots without any psychological/social/physical boundaries - building bridges between communities in slums, streets, refugee camps & formal structures As our current scope is limited due to high logistical demands, we want to open up our methodology to all kind of emergencies where non-formal education can have its effect. Therefore, all materials will be available on the platform. Each activity will have an explainer video and a short visual manual. We will also include the option to do case management. This could be useful to track progress with kids. Every educator will be able to add activities to enrichen the content. Every educator will be able to filter results. This way you can look for specific activities, based on topic, methodology, skills and so on. We'll make it sustainable by using a license model. We’ll use a freemium model, through which some features will be free for everyone, but for others you will have to pay. This money will be used to maintain the platform.

Who benefits?

We facilitate the work of 300 educators, reaching out to 3000 kids per year. Our target groups are kids living/working on the street, kids on the move and kids living in slums between 7 & 12 years old. We also have partners using our games with smaller kids, adolescents & adults. The scaling possibility of our actual model is limited, because of shipping. With the platform, we’d reach around 10000 users & 100000 children in 1 year. A typical user would be a local educator (parent, teacher,…) who wants to set up an easy accessible learning environment in an emergency context, especially on moments when more formal initiatives are not ready to be implemented. Now we have 300 different educational games ready on health, prevention, sexuality, entrepreneurship, math, language, sports, creativity, music with the main goal to empower kids and boost their self-esteem. Our aim is to create new educational games specifically addressing the needs of girls (and boys) in emergency context.

How is your innovation unique?

20 years of experience in creating educational games for vulnerable target groups, show us what educational games need: - A clear explanation for the educator using visuals & videos - A clear explanation for the child using visuals & a clear message from the educator - The experience that non-formal learning in the environment where kids are living is a complementary but necessary factor for self-development & future success in formal systems Different platforms & educational games are created to address the needs of kids in emergency contexts, but fail or have other purposes: the educational content is not attractive and a lot of online games are being developed to address literacy & mathematical learning goals. We believe in the personal interaction between educator & child, which has an important value in restoring the self-image of a kid. The platform will be successful, because of its user-friendliness & because of the different educational goals it contains.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Mobile School has experience in the development and implementation of educational games in non-formal education, but the field of online learning platforms is relatively new for us. The last two years, we have been researching and have got a lot of advice and guidance by digital experts. We know if we want to build this platform and expand our scale, we have to hire additional expertise in our organisation. Making the step to a digital implementation strategy, will have an impact on our current organisation. Current staff working on the implementation of educational tools with partners in-countries will have to be reoriented towards digital implementation strategies.

Tell us more about you.

Mobile School is a non-profit organisation, that partners up with local autonomous organisations using outreach work to have an impact on street-connected children. By providing mobile schools, educational materials and training to youth workers, we help empower these children and boost their self-esteem. Mobile School has a network of 45 partners in 24 countries worldwide. We have two partners in Mexico: Yolia AC (Mexico City) and Alimentos de la Vida (Querétaro).

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

  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Prolonged displacement is our first implementation setting as we have already built some expertise in the field of non-formal education for refugees and have developed different educational games which can be used in this setting (human trafficking, entrepreneurship, world maps, prevention, sexuality, talents).

Where will your innovation be implemented?

The first target group will be refugees as we have partners in Greece, Colombia, Kenya & Germany who are already working with the mobile school. Therefore, we would partner up first with our partners to put the Mobile School Game Library into practice. Than we will open it up to other organisations. The educational games can be used in other emergency contexts, but then we’ll have to develop specific educational activities targeting the needs of other emergencies (natural disasters, conflict).

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

ARSIS NGO (Greece) uses the mobile school in Athens & Thessaloniki and in refugee camps. Our partner Kenya Good Neighbours works in Kakuma Refugee Camp & would like to use our methodology for non-formal learning. In Haiti, we have a prospect who wants to work with the mobile school with kids affected by the earthquake in 2010. We are in contact with UNHCR Belgium & the educational team of UNHCR for W-Europe. We are member of the Consortium of Street Children & partner of Dynamo International.

Sector Expertise

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

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

Mobile School trains educators in using non-formal educational content & empower kids, develops educational tools to address needs of vulnerable kids, creates userfriendly manuals and sets up & maintains partnerships in Latin America, Africa, Asia & Europe. We’ve been researching about the needs for digital learning tools in non-formal educational settings for 2 years and developed 2 prototypes: Mobile School Game Library & Case Management app for educators working in non-formal education.

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

Our office is based in the Brabançonnestraat 25, in Leuven, Belgium.


• • •

How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

The online platform will be free to use with personal registration, signing a child protection statement. For the case management tool, we have found some funding now to start development, but with a freemium model. All games will be checked on quality, harmlessness and culture approvedness. Internet access is only needed during the preparation of the activities, not during the activities. We are open to exploring the option to cooperate with other organisations.

Who will implement this Idea?

On this moment, we have one Digital Project Officer exploring our digital expansion. She is supported by the Mobile School staff which are 4 persons. But additional resources are needed to digitize content, make videos and build the platform. We partner with external partners, currently in 25 countries. To test the idea, we will be supported by Mobile School partners in Greece, Kenya and Haiti. These partner NGO’s implement on a daily basis non-formal educational activities on the streets, and benefit directly of testing and implementing the activities which will be shared on the platform.

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) Educators face high demands of their environment. Donors want immediate impact, the people suffering immediate help. With non-formal education, the right to education and play can be made accessible quickly, but building self-esteem is a long process and difficult to measure and requires motivation and persistence of educators. 2) Non-formal education has a small place in emergencies and effective activities are lacking. Other priorities (food, health, shelter,…) are perceived as more important. Nevertheless, it can empower people to improve their own situation. Through play and educational games, people can reflect on their situation and find small solutions that can improve their lives. General awareness about the importance of non-formal education in emergencies should be improved.

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

We are a hybrid social enterprise existing of 2 ventures: Mobile School and StreetwiZe. Mobile School is a non-profit organisation offering non-formal education to street youth. StreetwiZe is a collective of trainers that design unique learning experiences through which companies are offered tools to cope with increasing complexity and change. StreetwiZe invests 100% of its profits in Mobile School & helps increasing its social impact. To complete our budget, we rely on small donations. This way we are self-sustainable. Though, for investments and new developments, we still look for grants.

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: By 2022, we aim to create 600 different educational games reaching at least 10,000 users and 100,000 children per year directly through our model. QUESTION: How do we adjust our existing model to maintain quality and sustainability, while we want to scale up to a much larger community, more specifically in emergency situations?

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

The outcomes we expect, are new games and see what kind of activities the user likes and uses. We will measure our outcomes by looking at the analytics of the platform. How many people are using the platform, on what they are clicking, how much time they are spending on the platform… We plan to measure the learning progress of children through the case management tool, integrated with the platform. This way educators can keep track of the acquired skills and competencies of the children.

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

The platform will be built in short feedback loops in the first 2 years, with content available to some users for testing. In year 3, we will implement the full version for everyone and expand our reach. A lot of educational content is there, but we should digitize it. And more content needs to be created. To make qualitative videos, we’ll need to take time for testing, developing and feedback. Then we should build the platform. After the implementation, there is the maintenance of the platform.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD

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 a registered entity, but not in the country in which we plan to implement our Idea.

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

  • More than 2 years

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

  • Product Design


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