Innovation in a time of radical global change

three key experiments will help us learn how to achieve greater impact

The La Mota Cambridge family in Ecuador, pictured above, is participating in Poverty Stoplight. The family is focusing their efforts on generating income, building savings, maintaining a budget and building a bathroom and bedroom in their home.

There is no single “magic bullet” in the movement to end poverty, one of the most complex and stubbornly persistent social issues of humanity. Eighty years of experience have shown us that sustainable results depend on addressing the root causes of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, the events of 2020 have taught us how important it is to stay nimble and willing to shift our approach to achieve maximum impact.

That’s why, during a global pandemic and economic crisis, we have prioritized three key experiments that will help us learn how to serve more children and achieve greater impact for all of our beneficiaries. The Aviv Foundation, which is committed to innovative work, has joined us as the lead investor through a multiyear grant.

These three experiments are currently testing new approaches to addressing the foundational causes of generational poverty and driving greater outcomes:

1. In collaboration with Child Aid, we launched the Educational Strengthening Initiative, a four-year experiment to train teachers and Children International tutors in Guatemala.

The pilot’s goals are to provide teachers and tutors with workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions. Objectives included increasing math and literacy scores of students, improving teachers’ and tutors’ quality of instruction, and learning how to partner with schools and improve school quality.

Child Aid Literacy Trainer Meliza Chacon leads an online teacher training workshop. Photo credit Child Aid

2. Through Poverty Stoplight, created by Fundación Paraguaya, 100 families self-assess (red, yellow or green) their poverty indicators.

Children International provides support as they identify solutions to the indicators they want to work on, monitoring their progress and learning from successful strategies.

3. In partnership with Root Change, our Community Independence Initiative gives 300 families across three countries the structure and platform to set and achieve their own goals.

They then monitor their progress, strengthen their social networks, share what they learn. They also decide how to use the small investments the initiative provides.

As a learning organization, these experiments help identify the best methods for children and youth to escape poverty.


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