Organization Details

What is your organization's name?


What is your organization's classification?


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

London, UK

Provide your organization’s mission and/or vision statement and list its core values.

We want to ensure that this generation of children are empowered by education to thrive, wherever in the world they grow up. To deliver on this purpose Kizazi works with local partners to develop, implement, and spread breakthrough school models in under-resourced communities around the world.

Core values include:
Boldness, Learning, Rootedness, Wholeness, Equanimity and Interdependence.

How many products or programs does your organization operate? Please use numeric values only.


What stage of development is your organization’s product or program that is the focus of your LEAP Project?

Growth: An organization with an established product or program that is rolled out in one or more communities.
Team Lead Details

Who (first and last name) is the Team Lead for your application and LEAP Project?

Romana Shaikh

Describe the role the Team Lead plays in your organization. [100-200 words recommended]

In our organization, the Team Lead plays a pivotal role in managing program execution and evaluating impact. They direct program design and delivery, aligning with the organization's mission and objectives. As the primary liaison, they facilitate effective communication and collaboration within the team, ensuring that projects meet time and budget constraints. Additionally, the Team Lead nurtures a supportive environment that fosters innovation and growth. They are key in supporting the professional development of team members, providing constructive feedback and guidance. Importantly, they are responsible for assessing program impact. They monitor performance, analyze data, and make necessary adjustments to enhance program effectiveness and efficiency. Their insights are crucial in strategic planning and decision-making processes. Generally, the Team Lead is instrumental in driving our organization's success, contributing significantly to our mission of developing, implementing and spreading breakthrough school models in under-resourced communities globally.

Explain how your Team Lead and supporting team members are well-positioned to effectively support the LEAP Project, given other priorities within your organization. [200-500 words - recommended]

At Kizazi, our current focus is on research and measurement, specifically in developing systems for applied research and evaluation on whole-child learning and wellbeing, along with whole-school transformation in our partnership regions. This priority aligns inherently with the objectives of the LEAP Project, as both initiatives underscore the importance of transformative education models.

Our Team Lead possesses a strong background in applied research and evaluation, and has shown exceptional proficiency in managing multiple priorities. Their expertise in whole-child learning and wellbeing, coupled with their experience in whole-school transformation, strategically positions them to spearhead the LEAP Project while concurrently contributing to our wider research goals. Their leadership will be instrumental in developing, implementing, and spreading innovative school models under the LEAP Project. Our supporting team members are equally equipped to handle this dual focus. Their collective experience in applied research and evaluation, along with their shared commitment to whole-child learning models, will be invaluable for the effective execution of the LEAP Project. Additionally, their work will contribute to our organization's goal of enhancing the global evidence base on whole-child models.

To further fortify our capacity to manage multiple priorities, we are expanding our team. This expansion not only demonstrates our commitment to the LEAP Project, but also ensures that our research and measurement goals are not compromised. The addition of new members will introduce a diversity of skills and perspectives, strengthening our collective ability to undertake research, develop transformative school models, and share our findings with practitioners worldwide.

Finally, our organizational culture, fostered by our Team Lead, encourages collaboration and mutual support, essential in managing multiple priorities effectively. The Team Lead ensures that all members are aligned with Kizazi's objectives and understand their individual roles in achieving these goals.

The combined expertise of our Team Lead and supporting team members, our commitment to growth through team expansion, and our culture of collaboration position us well to effectively support the LEAP Project while also advancing our other priorities within Kizazi. We look forward to leveraging our strengths to make a significant impact on whole-child learning and wellbeing through the LEAP Project and our wider research initiatives. We are confident in our team's ability to effectively support the LEAP Project in parallel with our organization's priorities.

Solution Details

One-line solution summary: In 20 words or less, summarize your organization's product or program that is the focus of your LEAP Project.

Kizazi's school redesign program empowers local education leaders to implement customized school models fostering holistic child development and transformative learning

Define the problem that your solution seeks to solve. [200-500 words recommended]

The problem that our solution, the school redesign program, seeks to address is the inadequacy of prevailing school designs in under-resourced contexts to effectively support learning and meet the broader needs of children.

In these contexts, the existing school systems face several challenges that hinder children's educational development and overall well-being. The curriculum and intended outcomes often fail to align with the demands of the 21st century and the specific needs of local communities. Outdated rote-based teaching approaches prevail, disregarding our evolving understanding of how children learn best. As a result, children's educational experiences are limited, lacking the engagement, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary for success in the modern world.

Moreover, schools are ill-equipped to respond to the profound impact of multi-generational poverty on children's development. The effects of poverty, both tangible and intangible, inhibit children from reaching essential developmental milestones, affecting their cognitive, social, emotional, and psychological growth. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds face numerous barriers that impede their participation and learning in school, perpetuating a cycle of low learning levels and limited opportunities.

Our solution aims to address these systemic issues by reimagining and redesigning schools in under-resourced contexts. We recognize that traditional models are inadequate in meeting the diverse needs of children and fail to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Our solution seeks to transform schools into vibrant centers of learning that cater to the holistic needs of children, promote active engagement, and provide the necessary support systems to overcome the challenges associated with poverty. By tackling these systemic issues, we aim to improve learning outcomes, nurture children's potential, and equip them with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the 21st century and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Describe your solution and how it works in simple terms. [200-500 words recommended]

In simple terms, our solution transforms schools by introducing better teaching materials, providing training and support for teachers and school leaders, and implementing effective strategies to address the impact of poverty and trauma on learning. By partnering with local organizations and governments, we ensure the solutions are tailored to the specific context and can be scaled up for the benefit of more children. Ultimately, our aim is to create nurturing, inclusive, and high-quality learning environments that empower children to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Our solution is a comprehensive school redesign program aimed at transforming government schools in under-resourced contexts. We introduce three key changes that work together to create a nurturing and effective learning environment for children.

1. Teaching, Learning & Assessment Materials: We develop and implement teaching, learning, and assessment materials that integrate rigorous, contextually-relevant academics and socio-emotional learning. This means that the curriculum is designed to align with the specific needs and realities of the local community. It goes beyond rote memorization and focuses on fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Socio-emotional learning components are embedded to nurture important skills such as self-awareness, empathy, collaboration, and resilience.

2. Teacher and School Leader Trainings: We provide comprehensive training and ongoing support to teachers and school leaders. Our aim is to foster a culture of care, collaboration, and deep learning within the school environment. Through these training, teachers gain new pedagogical skills and strategies that promote student engagement and active learning. School leaders are equipped with the tools and knowledge to create a supportive and inclusive school culture. The ongoing support ensures continuous professional development and sustains the implementation of best practices.

3. Effective Approaches to Address Poverty & Trauma: We develop effective approaches to address the impacts of poverty and trauma on learning. We understand that children affected by multi-generational poverty require additional support to overcome the challenges they face. Through targeted interventions, we aim to mitigate the negative effects of poverty and trauma, providing necessary resources and assistance. Additionally, we actively engage families in their children's learning, recognizing the crucial role they play in supporting educational progress and fostering a conducive learning environment at home.

To implement our solution, we collaborate closely with local NGOs and governments. We work together to contextualize and test our models in a pilot group of schools, ensuring that the solutions are culturally sensitive and relevant. This collaborative approach allows us to build strong partnerships with local stakeholders, leveraging their expertise and local knowledge. Furthermore, we focus on building the capacity of government systems to implement these proven models at an increasing scale, enabling sustainable and widespread impact.

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

  • Primary school children (ages 5-12)
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
  • Other

If you selected “other” please indicate which populations you serve.

Teachers and Headteachers.

In which country or countries does your solution currently operate?

Armenia, India, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

Upload your solution's Theory of Change or Logic Model.

Where would you place your solution on Nesta's Standards of Evidence?

Level 2: You capture data that shows positive change, but you cannot confirm you caused this.

To date, what research/studies has your organization conducted that have helped demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution? [200-500 words recommended]

Kizazi, partnering with Simple Education Foundation, conducted a comprehensive baseline study in India to assess the effectiveness of our solutions in improving student, parent, and teacher engagement, including overall school processes and infrastructure. The research, executed by the 4th Wheel over nine months across six schools in New Delhi with the goal of evaluating the feasibility, progress, and effectiveness of Kizazi’s "whole school transformation" model. This study involved a mixed methods approach, using SurveyCTO for data collection through semi-structured interviews. Sample sizes were determined for each state, including 6 schools, 40 teachers, 6 headmasters, and around 293 students, ensuring representativeness and statistical significance. Research tools were interview instruments for teachers, students, parents, and headmasters, alongside School Observation Sheets and Classroom Observation Sheets. The analysis plan focuses on identifying indicators for outcomes and assumptions to explore correlations. Limitations included biases from parental assistance and variations in student participation. Inaccessibility of some parents and teachers posed challenges, and certain teaching methods couldn't be adequately assessed online. Comparability between teacher knowledge and practice was limited without classroom observations. Data collection on school infrastructure was restricted due to non-operational facilities.

The study identified key metrics such as student communication, student-teacher relationships, parent involvement, and teacher teaching methods. For instance, it found that the average number of meetings attended by School Management Committee members was below target, indicating an area for enhanced parent engagement. It revealed that the use of textbooks and lectures was below the target, suggesting an area for improvement in our interventions.

Additionally, the study took place during the pandemic lockdown period, which offered unique insights into virtual and offline teaching modes, technology utilization, and parental engagement. The analysis revealed the impact of the lockdown on teaching strategies, student attendance, parental involvement, and curriculum integration. It also covered school processes and infrastructure, emphasizing our holistic approach to improving the school environment.

Insights and recommendations derived from the study proved vital in demonstrating the effectiveness of our solutions and guides our ongoing strategies. They helped identify areas of focus, such as improving school processes, stakeholder relationships, and curriculum implementation. So far, In India, despite 600 days of school closures re: pandemic, students showed mastery in over 80% of academic content and life skills in online assessments, a significant improvement from the initial level of less than 27%. External evaluation validated the evidence, highlighting the impact and need for teacher development.

In Armenia, despite the challenges of the pandemic, armed conflict, and political unrest, students in the first supported school achieved an average growth of 45% in Math, 23% in literacy, and 53% in life skills throughout the academic year. The positive impact continued to grow with the addition of two new schools in the following year, with growth rates in literacy and math ranging from 28% to 97%.

In Sierra Leone, in a state-commissioned third-party evaluation in 2021, students in the intervention schools outperformed the control group. This significant impact played a pivotal role in securing SLEIC (Sierra Leone Educational Innovation Challenge).

What has the research/studies you have conducted revealed about your solution and how did it inform your work moving forward? [200-500 words recommended]

The research (described above) revealed several areas where our solutions have made a significant impact and identified opportunities for further improvement. For example, the study showed that our solutions had positively influenced student communication and the student-teacher relationship, though there was room for further enhancement. The study also highlighted the need for greater parent engagement, as indicated by the number of meetings attended by School Management Committee (SMC) members, which was below the target.

The study's findings on teaching methods used by teachers were particularly revealing. While we found a high percentage of teachers utilizing technology-aided tools, the use of textbooks and lectures was notably lower than the target. This discrepancy suggested that our interventions could be more effective in promoting a balanced use of various teaching methods.

Additionally, the research provided a broad view of school processes and infrastructure. While the exact baseline scores for these metrics were not disclosed, their inclusion in the study underscored our commitment to a holistic approach to improving the school environment.

These findings have significantly informed our work moving forward. Recognizing the need for increased parent engagement, we have implemented strategies to facilitate more active participation by parents in school activities. To address the imbalance in teaching methods, we have introduced initiatives to support teachers in incorporating a wider range of strategies in their instruction The research demonstrated the value of a comprehensive approach to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). Our multi-dimensional analysis with partners provides a holistic view of our solutions' effectiveness, considering not just isolated metrics but also the interplay of factors within the educational landscape. This approach, examining student, parent, and teacher engagement, along with school processes and infrastructure, informs our strategies and guides our efforts towards a more integrated model of school development.

Further, we have developed assessment tools tailored for each stakeholder we work with, including learners, teachers, parents, and partners. These tools have provided stakeholder-specific data, enriching our understanding of our solutions' impact. For instance, structured interview tools for teachers, students, and parents have yielded detailed insights on teaching methods, relationships, and engagement. These tools have proven invaluable in providing a comprehensive picture of our impact and identifying areas for improvement. Insights from these stakeholder-specific tools continue to inform our work, enabling us to refine our solutions to meet the unique needs of each stakeholder group.

Finally, the study has reinforced our commitment to a comprehensive approach, encompassing not only individual student, teacher, and parent engagement but also overall school processes and infrastructure. We are continuously refining our solutions based on the insights gained from our research, ensuring that our work remains aligned with our mission of creating a conducive and enriching learning environment for all stakeholders.

LEAP Project Details

Describe your organization's need to strengthen the evidence base of your solution. [200-500 words recommended]

  1. Our organization, Kizazi, is currently experiencing significant growth and expansion. Working in collaboration with our local NGO partners, we have been actively engaged in wholeschool redesign projects within three government systems that collectively impact over 35,000+ children across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The innovative strategies we have developed are already yielding measurable improvements in learning outcomes for a rapidly growing number of children. Moreover, the influence of our partners' school models is beginning to extend beyond our core intervention schools, demonstrating their wider applicability and effectiveness. At this critical juncture in our development, as we plan to significantly scale our reach and impact over the next three years, the need to fortify the evidence base of our solution becomes paramount. A stronger evidence base would not only add credence to our interventions, but also provide valuable insights that can help us further refine our strategies, maximize their impact, and ensure their successful implementation at a larger scale. This strengthening of our evidence base is crucial for securing the support and cooperation of government bodies, funding agencies, community leaders, and other stakeholders that are essential for our expansion.

However, as a young non-profit organization, we have faced challenges in building the necessary skills and resources within our team to advance our work in this direction. While our team is deeply committed to our mission and highly skilled in many areas, we lack the specialized knowledge and experience required to conduct the rigorous research needed to substantiate and enhance the evidence base of our solution.

This is why we believe that now is the right time to engage in a LEAP project. With the expert support from LEAP research and social entrepreneur Fellows, we will be able to fill this gap in our capacities, gain valuable insights into our current interventions, and develop a robust, evidence-based approach that can drive our future growth and success. The LEAP project will not only provide us with the research outputs we need, but also help us build our internal capacities for conducting evidence-based research, thus making it a timely and valuable investment for our organization.

What are 2-3 research questions that you would like your LEAP Project to help you answer? [100 words recommended]

1. What are the holistic development competencies children need between ages 4 and 14 when growing up in contexts of poverty, discrimination, war & conflict, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? - and how do these competencies vary across these contexts?

2. How can the principles of real and perceived safety, relationships with teachers and family, regulation of emotions and behaviors, personal agency, and self-concept  be defined from a developmental trauma perspective?

What type of research/studies do you think will help answer your stated questions? Select all that apply.

  • Foundational research (literature reviews, desktop research)
  • Formative research (e.g. usability studies; feasibility studies; case studies; user interviews; implementation studies; pre-post or multi-measure research; correlational studies)

Please elaborate on your selection above by describing your desired outputs of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint. [200 - 500 words recommended]

1 - Detailed Contextual Analysis Report: We desire the LEAP Fellows to carry out a comprehensive study, which would involve partner interviews, a tools audit, focus groups, and secondary research in 2 distinct contexts. The objective would be to enhance our understanding of the contextual variables that influence the holistic development competencies of children in these areas, particularly those influenced by poverty, discrimination, war, conflict, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Through this study, we hope to identify potential commonalities and differences across these contexts, providing valuable insights to refine our tools and strategies for more effective interventions.

2 - Thorough Literature Review on Developmental Trauma Competencies: Our second anticipated output is a comprehensive literature review from the LEAP Fellows, focusing on competencies from a developmental trauma perspective. This review should encompass key factors such as real and perceived safety, relationships with teachers and family, the regulation of emotions and behaviors, personal agency, and self-concept. We look forward to understanding, through the literature review, how these concepts may vary or maintain consistency across different countries. Moreover, we hope to glean insights into how specific contextual factors like poverty-impacted living conditions, discrimination, war & conflict, and ACEs influence these competencies.

These expected outputs will equip us with critical data and insights, enabling us to better align our interventions with the needs of the children we serve, thereby bolstering the effectiveness and evidence base of our solutions

How will your organization put these outputs into action? [200-500 words recommended]

The outputs generated from the LEAP Project sprint will play a crucial role in enhancing the efficacy and impact of our educational interventions. Once we have a comprehensive understanding of the competencies from a developmental trauma perspective and their influencing contextual variables, we will integrate this knowledge into the design and implementation of our programs.

Firstly, the results from the comprehensive study and literature review will be used to refine our current educational programs. Based on the outcomes of the partner interviews, tool audits, focus groups, and secondary research, we will identify areas of our program that need improvement or adjustment. For instance, we may find that certain competencies are not being adequately addressed, or that some contextual variables have been overlooked in our current approach. Such findings will guide us in tailoring our interventions to better meet the unique needs and circumstances of the children we serve.

Secondly, we will use the findings from the literature review to enhance our understanding of the holistic development competencies, particularly in relation to developmental trauma. This understanding will inform the development of a comprehensive whole-child assessment tool, which will serve as an essential instrument for tracking and measuring the impact of our interventions. This tool will not only allow us to ensure that our programs are effectively addressing the key competencies, but also help us demonstrate the evidence base of our solution.

Finally, the knowledge and insights gained from the LEAP Project will be shared within our organization and with our local NGO partners. This will foster a culture of evidence-based practice, and promote ongoing learning and improvement. Moreover, these outputs will serve as a basis for future research, enabling us to continue advancing our understanding and strengthening the evidence base for our interventions.

We are committed to putting the outputs from the LEAP Project into action by integrating them into our program design and implementation, developing a comprehensive assessment tool, and fostering a culture of evidence-based practice within our organization and amongst our partners.

Describe your desired short-term and long-term outcomes of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint for both your organization and solution. [200-500 words recommended]

The desired short-term and long-term outcomes of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint for both our organization, Kizazi, and our solution, the school redesign program, are as follows: Short-Term Outcomes:

1. - Enhanced Research and Evidence Base: Through the LEAP Project sprint, we aim to produce research outputs that strengthen the evidence base of our solution. This includes a comprehensive contextual analysis report, informed by partner interviews, tools audit, focus groups, and secondary research. Additionally, we anticipate a literature review focused on developmental trauma competencies. These outputs will provide a solid foundation of research and evidence to inform our program design, interventions, and decision-making processes. 2. - Refined Strategies and Tools: The insights gained from the LEAP Project will allow us to refine our school redesign program. We anticipate the identification of key contextual variables influencing holistic development competencies, such as poverty, discrimination, war, conflict, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). By understanding the nuances of these factors, we can tailor our teaching, learning, and assessment materials to effectively address the specific needs of our target population. The LEAP Project will help us design and implement strategies that foster a culture of care, collaboration, and deep learning among teachers and school leaders. We will also develop effective approaches to address the impacts of poverty and trauma on learning and engage families in their children's education.

Long-Term Outcomes:

1. Improved Learning Outcomes: As a result of the LEAP Project sprint, we anticipate significant improvements in learning outcomes among children in our target population. By integrating rigorous, contextually-relevant academics and socio-emotional learning into our teaching materials, we aim to foster holistic child development and transformative learning. The refined strategies and tools developed through the LEAP Project will help us provide an enriched learning experience that meets the demands of the 21st century and the needs of local communities.

2. Increased Scalability and Sustainability: With a strengthened evidence base and refined program design, we envision greater scalability and sustainability of our school redesign program. The LEAP Project will enable us to demonstrate the effectiveness of our interventions and generate valuable insights into scaling up the program to reach more schools and children. Through partnerships with local NGOs and governments, we will continue to contextualize and test our models, building the capacity of government systems to implement the program at an increasing scale. This could include partnerships, training programs for local educators, or advocacy efforts to integrate the model into national education policies. Ultimately, our goal is to create sustainable, high-quality education models that can be replicated and adapted in diverse urban and rural settings. 

By achieving these short-term and long-term outcomes, the LEAP Project will position us to make a lasting impact on K-12 education, benefiting all genders and promoting inclusivity, while addressing the challenges of poverty, trauma, and limited resources that inhibit children from reaching their full potential.

Solution Team

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