Solution Overview

Solution name:

Seeds of Education

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One-line solution summary:

We are closing the library-density-gap by overcoming constraints of scale to enable equitable out-of-school education for children.

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Which Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Equitable Classrooms: How can all young learners have access to quality, safe, and equitable learning environments?
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Pitch your solution.

To consolidate schooling out-of-school education plays an important role: newly acquired reading and writing skills need to be continuously applied for lasting literacy. Public libraries, focused on children, can help to solve this problem, as research indicates. Through activities, digital resources and equal access to information libraries can meet the educational needs of the young populations in LDCs. 

Analyzing prominent cases of library interventions we found one common constraint: scalability. Therefore we create feedback-based processes that are designed to be scaled without raising costs, a feasible way to quickly close the library density gap between LDCs and other countries. Piloting is ready to start in 5 LDCs. Our concept is shaped by experts from different fields and cultural backgrounds. 

Combining a digital and local approach, an international network and local commitment we promote literacy and gender equality. A cost-efficient blueprint for youth libraries and a supportive network for communities and other agents in LDCs is our longterm goal. 

Four drivers of scale define our intervention:  1) all processes are designed to overcome constraints in scaling, 2) creating incentives for using the blueprint, 3) a longterm self-supporting network, 4) open access to our data, strategies and evidence.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Berlin, Deutschland
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Our solution's stage of development:

Concept
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Is this a new solution, an existing solution, or an adaptation of an existing solution?

New solution
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How does your solution incorporate research?

Starting with local assessment of the educational and library landscape for identifying partner communities we incorporate evidence-based decision making along all our processes. We measure the usage of libraries and activities quantitatively and collect qualitative feedback from beneficiaries in short time intervals. We partner with researchers from the field of international librarianship to evaluate impact short- and long term. For the curation and design of content and activities we work closely with pedagogical experts. Research indicates that libraries can be a possible factor in the consolidation of school education.

By providing access to out-of-school education we support SDG 4 and the education dimension of the GMPI. For assessing the overall need and later our impact we developed the Library Density Gap Indicator, which reaches a value of 1 at one library per 10,000 inhabitants within a specified area. 

Various approaches show that out-of-school access to reading materials positively influences a child’s individual education. Libraries, as collections of reading materials freely available to all levels of society, can use this insight to provide children and young people with a better education and to awaken interest in reading, writing and literature.

To assure research-based decisions, we cooperate with researchers from different fields, such as: Information and Librarianship Sciences, Literary Studies, Childhood Education, Educational Intervention in LDCs, Library Management and Publishing and countries like Bangladesh, Benin, Canada, Germany, Liberia, Uganda, Tuvalu.

Please visit our website to learn about the intervention and the research behind it:  

https://seedsofeducation.org

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Jonathan Zebhauser / Adnan Dzibric

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Deploying technology to create digital training, global networks & movement and practical frameworks we use state-of-the-art strategies to enhance the educational situation in the LDCs by designing an universal process for creating a public library connected to a global network in low-resource contexts. Backed by research, we chose library-like safe spaces for activities as key drivers for improving out-of-school education and supporting youth in LDCs without interfering with local school systems. Aiming at enabling equal access to literature and education, writing and reading skills, media literacy and creating a lifelong learning mindset, we will tackle poverty according to the global Multidimensional Poverty Index. We support local literature and facilitate cultural sensitive customization

Our solutions are feedback-based processes that are designed to be scaled without raising costs to close the library density gap between LDCs and other countries fast. To achieve global scalability, we focus all our processes on location-independent, cost-effective and customizable implementation from the very beginning. By focusing on scaling at all organizational levels and sharing our processes, data and insights publicly, e.g. an open source librarian training, we differentiate ourselves from traditional approaches that operate much more locally and slowly and justify their existence with not sharing their key insights.

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What is your theory of change?

Activities: 

  • Provision of a library blueprint, which is used by communities in LDCs to create library-like safe spaces for children and adolescents.

  • Communities are incited to interact with the blueprint and connect with like-minded people, to help each other solve problems on the way to realization.

Outputs: 

  • Communities implement their own low-resource libraries and offer a touchpoint for being creative, learn self-paced, read and write for leisure to consolidate literacy.

  • Children and adolescents have equal access to inclusive out-of-school education in the form of workshops, activities, media and books. The libraries work as enablers for self paced learning and creative environments (e.g. poetry workshops).

Short Term Outcomes:

  • Beneficiaries are enabled to read and learn what they are interested in, and have access to creative activities. They develop a culture of reading, writing and learning, creating the base for life-long learning. 

  • The organization learns about the needs and wishes of the library users and its stakeholders and tailors the open-source blueprint to the feedback. 

  • The self-organizing network grows, more problems get connected with possible ways of solution (e.g. how to cooperate with local publishers as a community library).

  • Enables access to information, e.g. media competence trainings.

Long Term Outcomes: 

  • The blueprint is a feasible option to create a touchpoint to education, literature and creativity in communities with low resources. 

  • Network effects, easy scalability and active distribution lead to fast growing implementations and help to overcome the library density gap.

  • Autonomous knowledge management within the interregional library network.

  • Better access to education & information through the libraries enables support of the SDGs 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13 & 18 (Good Health & Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, Partnerships for Goals).

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Children & Adolescents
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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In which countries do you plan to be operating within the next year?

  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Liberia
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Next Year:
Creating the seeds for a global movement that works on closing the library density gap and making impact on an individual level in the partnering regions through offering an additional range of extracurricular educational opportunities that will allow them to consolidate, catch up or support what they have learned in school in safe spaces.

Five Years:
Improving the values of the Library Density Gap Indicator in the LDCs not in conflict or under international restrictions to 1 in most regions. 

Through recreational activities in the libraries we promote literacy and writing skills, media literacy, tolerance and equality. Through partnering locally we have in mind all kinds of contexts, and design for different contexts, including low-resource contexts. Including parents in workshops we will work with multi-dimensional poverty measurements to help to decrease poverty.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Our main constraint is of financial nature:

Without having visually documented cases, fundraisers and social awareness, it is time consuming and difficult to raise money by individual donors - that is why we hope to achieve an efficient working environment and strong focus through external funding in the current phase, to later be able to create diversified income streams through individual donors/crowd funding.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

With solid funding the organizational core can continue to dedicate itself full time to the intervention and create linkages with experts in the corresponding fields, work with volunteers and use an additional budget for deploying freelancers for specific tasks. Working full time will give us the ability to develop measurement tools to evaluate our impact through qualitative data such as interviews with beneficiaries and librarians on a regular base, and through quantitative data such as usage (e.g. visitors per day, activity participation) and long term data about reading and writing ability within a control group setting. 

By growing in experience and supporters (second phase) we will use fundraising as an additional financial pillar. With going open-source in the long term and working towards processes which are financially lean, we are trying to overcome the financial barrier in all aspects of our intervention.

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Solution Team

 
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