Organization & Team Lead Details

Organization Name

Amal Alliance

What is your organization’s classification?


In what city, town, or region is your organization headquartered?

New York, NY, USA

Who is the Team Lead for your project application?

Danielle De La Fuente

Project Details

Describe the product or program that is the focus of your proposed LEAP project.

Colors of Kindness is an innovative EdTech solution for children ages 6-12 that aims to: 

  1. Improve children’s social and emotional skills and wellbeing.

  2. Bridge learning losses presented by the disruption to children’s education and preparing them to be ready to learn. 

  3. Strengthen the evidence base of social and emotional learning in education in emergencies with practical monitoring and evaluation tools that measure children’s development of skills in relation to their academic performance.

  4. Increase access to and engagement with distance learning.

  5. Support teacher wellbeing and ease of instruction through guided podcast instruction.  

In light of the ongoing pandemic, the program aims to ease participants’ transition back to school as traditional learning environments reopen by providing digital resources for the social emotional development that is often missing from traditional structures. Colors of Kindness helps children develop the skills necessary to cope with the new and difficult emotions that accompany emergency situations and trauma. 

With great emphasis placed on bridging learning gaps, Colors of Kindness seeks to provide primary aged children in low-resource settings access to social and emotional learning (SEL) content through a learning management system. Colors of Kindness utilizes Learning Equality’s award-winning Kolibri, designed for offline-first teaching and learning and centered around a learning platform with Learning Management System (LMS) functionalities,  providing access to children who would otherwise be left behind given barriers to connectivity and other resources.

Select the key characteristics of your target population. Select all that apply.

  • Primary school children (ages 5-12)
  • Rural
  • Urban
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Other

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Greece
  • Uganda

In which countries do you plan to be operating within the next year?

  • Greece
  • Uganda

How have you worked with affected communities to design your solution?

Amal strongly believes that community beneficiaries and educational stakeholders, including teachers, principals, parents, schools, local leaders, NGOs, and the MoE, must be included at each stage of the design and  implementation process. When designing the Colors of Kindness pilots for Bangladesh, Uganda, and Greece, our team engaged in multiple conversations with various organizations, communities, and government officials throughout the  process to gain a better understanding of the various local contexts. Local NGOs, education stakeholders, and UN agencies were also consulted to ensure inter-agency cooperation.

As Amal looks to scale, it will continue to engage the local communities throughout the program life cycle to ensure each program is localized and tailored to fit the needs of that community. We do so through WhatsApp groups, monthly virtual meetings, and fomenting our community of practice through meetings such as a teacher midline convening to share best practices and challenges.  With respect and dignity as the core element of how we engage with the communities we work with, our relationships reflect this element and build on inclusive and equitable participation. 

Amal works with primary aged children who are both in refugee settings/displaced populations and also children from the host communities who have had their education interrupted due to the ongoing pandemic. Amal works increasingly with children with disabilities, in particular invisible disabilities such as psychosocial aspects. It has been Amal’s intent from the start to ensure that the communities we work with  are self-sustainable through the training and resources we provide them with. By training members of the population including stakeholders at every level, we have ensured the maximum use of feedback as a resource. In order to fully tailor to feedback, we have worked with focus groups of teachers and principals to better understand what tactics work and which do not. From there, the feedback then filters into the next interaction of design for a rapid iteration feedback loop. The training modules are co-designed with locals to not only serve as professional development, but provide teachers with knowledge of SEL that can be used across other programs or as personal tools. While originally intended to serve children, Amal’s wellbeing support has indirectly benefited teachers and school dynamics as well.

What is your theory of change?

The intended social change of Colors of Kindness (Colors) is to improve the social and emotional well-being, academic performance, and resilience of primary age children ages 6-12 by making MHPSS an integral part of educational systems, drawing on a wealth of evidence that demonstrates the value of SEL. To achieve this, the project’s intended long term outcome is to change the behavior of governments and communities to use SEL for quality holistic learning. 

Foreseen outcomes in the short-intermediate term include outreach, and demonstrating results of how Colors can be woven into existing curriculum. The underlying evidence of the initial 10-week pilot in Bangladesh indicated a 16.5% increase in children’s overall SEL competency during the intervention, with 99% of caregivers reporting their child’s mood improved throughout the program. These preliminary results, and the enthusiasm shown by the Greek MoE in supplementing their Skills Lab with Colors, exemplifies how high-level results linked with evidence and advocacy can lead to quality holistic learning. 

Outputs include scaling Colors to 14,000 schools beginning Sept/Oct 2022, the creation of new modules including environmental awareness, an ECD adaptation that teaches play-based social and emotional skills, stronger academic performance through increased resilience and well-being.

The project will also build evidence collection and adaptation into its model, developing studies from program evidence to build the evidence base for the importance of SEL for child development and well-being. This will set the foundation for other governments to replicate impactful solutions. Complemented with advocacy efforts like conferences, panels, and raising awareness, the intended social change will be magnified.

How are you currently using evidence within your theory of change?

Referring to Nesta Standards of Evidence, we fall between Level 2 and 3. Pilots in Greece, Uganda, and Bangladesh captured data that showed a positive change consistent with level 2. This data was  confirmed through pre and post assessments of teachers, students, parents, weekly implementation logs, and weekly emotion thermometers. The pilot in Greece was more rigorous, adding SDQs to align our assessment tools with evidence based practices and with assessment tools co-designed and validated by the EASEL Lab of Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

As part of a Quasi-Experiment, 400 children ages 6-12 participated in the Greek pilot. Through partnership with the Greek MoE and 6 local NGOs, we implemented in 3 public schools, as well as with displaced populations in refugee camps,  urban settings, shelters,  and community centers across Greece (including islands and mainland). The Greek pilot implementation ends June 2022 and analysis will take place from June-August 2022. Since mid-line indicators are positive, we hope the report launch will show a strong causality between the children participating in the program and increased SEL competencies and improved overall wellbeing. We are however missing a RCT or longitudinal study including a control group to understand the increase in social and emotional competencies in the children more deeply to reach Level 3 of the Nesta Standards of Evidence. This however would require extensive funding and approval from the Greek MoE. 

Additionally, it would be nice to do a comparative analysis of findings from pilots across varying contexts. With 100 children participating in the Ugandan pilot in Nakivale Settlement, and 137 in Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazaar and the Char Islands, the diversity of contexts would prove interesting to understand the similarities and differences.

How are you currently tracking and measuring your solution’s impact?

Assessment tools specific to Colors were initially developed with UNHCR and NYU Global Ties as part of UNHCR’s Humanitarian Education Accelerator (HEA). Data from the initial test in Bangladesh showed a 16.5% increase in SEL competency amongst the children, and 99% of caregivers reported that their child’s mood had improved only after 10 weeks. For the subsequent iteration in Greece, Amal Alliance partnered with the EASEL Lab of Harvard Graduate School of Education to enhance and validate the M&E tools, and establish a scalable, evidence-based model.

The SEL Assessment tools include:

  1. Pre- and post-program Teacher Background Questionnaire

  2. Pre- and post-program Teacher Student Questionnaire

  3. Pre- and post-program Student Questionnaire

  4. Weekly Student Emotions Thermometer

  5. Weekly Teacher Implementation Log

One-line project summary:

Colors of Kindness is an edtech solution that helps children develop social and emotional skills to bridge learning losses.

What is your solution’s stage of development?

LEAP Project Pitch

Pitch your LEAP project: How and where would integrating evidence (or stronger evidence) into your theory of change increase your organization’s impact?

While the need for strong, evidence-based practices is critical to the success of an intervention and effectively scaling education solutions, the costs associated with research are often exuberant and require specific expertise that is out of reach for our lean NGO. Colors of Kindness was originally piloted in Bangladesh through UNHCR’s HEA program, but given the lack of time and resources was not empirically validated. Fortunately, a donor provided support to re-do the pilot in Greece, but this time aligning to evidence based practices.

A few weeks ago, the Ministry of Education of Greece informed us that they wish to scale Colors of Kindness to 14,000 schools as of September/October this year. Not only is this an incredibly ambitious timeframe, but as a volunteer-based organization we are quickly mobilizing to find funding to grow a core team and lay the foundation for scale in all aspects, including M&E.  We have requested from the MoE to conduct a longitudinal study via our M&E partners that include Harvard’s EASEL Lab and the MHPSS Collaborative. 

Where we need support is in delivering a research-based roadmap for country-wide scale and international expansion of Colors of Kindness, an SEL Ed-tech intervention that helps bridge learning losses and gaps. While our focus is predominantly on marginalized communities, the scale to 14,000 schools and 28 refugee camps would engulf all children in Greece (refugee, low-resource, disabled, etc).  Connecting the formal education system with the informal one through an evidence based articulation would pose Greece as an excellent precedent to further our social change goal outlined in the ToC. Ideally, presenting the roadmap of how to build institutional capacity, but also the capacity of all educational stakeholders involved in the process, would create a blueprint for motivated governments to use Greece as a case study for how to effectively integrate SEL and MHPSS solutions as an integral part to education systems and ensure children have the skills needed to thrive!  

Pitch Video

Solution Team

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