OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Teach Another

An educational system to encourage learning by doing and spark a maker spirit by utilizing skills already available in the refugee community

Photo of Mansi Parikh

Written by

I propose we do this by developing a skill-based curriculum which can be taught by the qualified professionals in these communities. The professionals can be trained to teach skills they are already familiar with.

In turn the students will be able to learn courses that will help them acquire transferable skills which will help them in future jobs as well as their everyday lives. It also creates an element of play into the classroom which will help get the students more engaged.

The advantage of developing a skill based curriculum is that it is not limited to just children but adults as well. The skills taught can get progressively more complex as the the age of the students increases engaging the entire community.

I can see industry playing an important role in making the right tools available for these courses. Companies like LEGO, littleBits, IKEA, Intel, etc being invaluable in helping design these courses as well as providing the material for execution. 

Large universities across the world would also be extremely invaluable in helping design the curriculum and delivery as well providing training for the "educators" (in this case the professionals who will be teaching)

This curriculum can create value both in the short term as well as the long term since these learned skills can easily be transferred into practical applications. 


Imagine an engineer teaching physics, a doctor teaching biology or a journalist teaching a language course! Refugee communities often have a rich diversity of people, many of whom are educated professionals whose lives were disrupted by war or natural calamities. A common feeling among these communities is that of a loss of control. This is true both for the professionals who were forced to give up their livelihood and the children who were uprooted from their safe haven. What if we can give back some degree of control to both these sides?


Students Professionals(Teachers) Communities (Both the refugee community & the new communities they are moving into) Industry (Companies like Lego, little bits, Intel, IKEA, etc.) UN & other agencies that help fostering these communities


Start with building simple courses that are easy to follow: - Creating simple machinery from LEGO Blocks - Grammar courses taught by writers/Journalists - Basic Cooking/Home Ec courses


I would love to get feedback from people who have - been a part of such communities - worked with them - teachers/educators/anyone else who has worked on developing similar skill-based curriculums I would also love to hear ideas on how we can measure success. It will be important to decide the goals and create milestones and targets which can be used as indicators to gauge the efficacy and success of the plan.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

I can work on visualization, graphic design, user experience, partnership building, fundraising. I have also developed plans for analysing various stakeholders in both the non-profit and for profit sectors. I have experience in designing business models and strategy (marketing & digital) to engage stakeholders of the programs


I am currently an MBA student in the US and a citizen of India. I am not currently affiliated with any organization but have worked in the past with the non profit Operation Smile (India) to develop and execute a branding and communications strategy to engage different stakeholders.


  • Yes, and I am looking for a partner working with refugee communities to implement this idea.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Selassie. K. Amenorhu

This is a very brilliant. Creating an ecosystem where by Institutions or university develop curriculum tailored to refugee will ensure will enhance the chance of success. I buy this idea 100%.

Photo of ronald ssenfuka

Hello Mansi,
Thank you for the inspiration!. It is true that education which transforms end users into innovators is relevant in the globe today. Specifically when we look at refugees that have diverse challenges of life and because they are in a foreign country they have no immediate support from inhabitants. However despite them being refugees does not take away their rights as human beings, they also continue to live like any other people.

Education for social transformation is very needed because it contributes to individual and societal sustainable development. Skills based curriculum where learners have an opportunity to contribute their ideas that develop their cognitive thinking and control their learning( self-centred learning while doing).

One of the cause for unemployment in Uganda among youth is limited employment sources created, there is less innovation and this affects the performance indicators of the economy.

Teaching learners how to fish rather than giving them the fish is the best methodology that can build a strong economy. Lets support vocational training and entrepreneurship among refugees so that they can develop themselves other that being dependants on external support and Aid.

Photo of Mansi Parikh

Thanks Ronald! I agree that it's important to give people the tools to accomplish a task rather than spoon feeding them because there is no greater pride than accomplishing something yourself. There are also so many talented people who are part of these refugee communities I was reading some stories about how if their displacement is permanent then they never end up getting employment fit for their level of education especially if they move to a new country because their degrees aren't recognized and they don't have the resources to start all over again. I think that is terribly sad! These are talented people and they should be able to use their skills again.

Photo of ronald ssenfuka

Thank you for the complement. In Uganda, the National Education curriculum gives less attention on provision of practical skills for job creation. Today 70% of youth in Uganda are un employed due a miss-match between the skills demanded by employers and skills acquired from school. For those who dropped out and those that never got a chance to attend school their situation is worse. Refugees remain human beings even though in foreign country and some already have skills but cannot practice them due to the country policies. Others did not complete due to instability therefore l agree with you that imparting practical skills that can be transferred even when they go back to their countries is relevant.

Tools that provide lifelong education to refugees need to be promoted such that they can apply them in future.

Photo of Selassie. K. Amenorhu

Love the idea.
Can we get in touch through LinkedIn

Photo of Mansi Parikh

Hi Selassie,

Feel free to add me on LinkedIn.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Mansi, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Mansi Parikh

Oops. Didn't realize it didn't update. Updated!

Photo of Adi Heller

This is smart - engaging the experts already within the communities in generating lessons/activities. One question for the idea, which you point toward a bit with your question about measuring success, is also in how you recruit/train for such roles with the community experts you bring on. Could there be people/resources from their fields to help guide the creation of lessons?

Photo of Mansi Parikh

Thanks Adi! I know that the resources are limited and why not help both sides of the community. This way we have people who understand exactly what the students are going through because they're in the same situation.
I did mention this in the stakeholders and maybe it wasn't very clear but I was thinking of involving industry partners like Lego & Intel because they already have similar programs for some schools around the world.
Another way is to involve schools and universities that already run similar programs and help develop training modules. Even in the happy event that these people are able to go back home these are skills that can be useful for the educators as well.