War Child Holland and Partners make MacArthur Foundation award shortlist for ‘Can’t Wait to Learn’

CWTL Banner with logos for &ranj, War Child, Sheffield Hallam University, Butterfly Works and Save the Children

Image by Michael Jessurun

High-scoring 100&Change applicants featured in Bold Solutions Network

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 19 2020

The MacArthur Foundation today revealed that War Child Holland and coalition partners – including Save the Children, Butterfly Works, &Ranj and Sheffield Hallam University – have been shortlisted for the final stage of the 100&Change competition.

The coalition has been recognised for its Can’t Wait to Learn e-learning programme – a unique education technology model designed BY and FOR conflict-affected children which delivers high quality, curriculum-based learning at an affordable cost.

The 100&Change competition is an initiative that promotes innovation to help solve the world’s most critical social challenges. Can’t Wait to Learn has been shortlisted in the final 100 submissions – representing the top 21 per cent of all competition entries.

All proposals were rigorously vetted, undergoing MacArthur’s initial administrative review; a Peer-to-Peer review; an evaluation by an external panel of judges; and a technical review by specialists whose expertise was matched to the project.

Each proposal was evaluated against four criteria: that the programme is impactful, evidence-based, feasible and durable. MacArthur’s Board of Directors will select up to 10 finalists from these high-scoring proposals this spring.

“War Child Holland, together with our partners, are proud that Can’t Wait to Learn has been short-listed as one of the highest-scoring proposals to help address one of the world’s critical problems. The initiative’s success to date is due to effective collaboration with implementing partners, Ministries of Education, UN agencies, technology experts, design specialists, researchers, humanitarians, teachers and, most importantly, children. Each group is committed to one aim: bringing meaningful learning to conflict-affected children. We’re excited to continue
on this journey with recognition from the MacArthur Foundation,” said Tjipke Bergsma, Managing Director of War Child Holland.

“I have been contributing my design research expertise to War Child Holland’s Can’t Wait to Learn programme since 2015. It’s wonderful news that The MacArthur Foundation has recognised this innovative interdisciplinary project and the effectiveness of our partnership in bringing quality learning to conflict–affected children,’’ said Dr David Swann, Professor in Design and Research Lead for the Department of Art & Design in the College of Social Sciences & Arts.

“MacArthur seeks to generate increased recognition, exposure and support for the high-impact ideas designated as the Top 100,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change and MacArthur Managing Director, 100&Change. “Based on our experience in the first round of 100&Change, we know the competition will produce multiple compelling and fundable ideas. We are committed to matching philanthropists with powerful solutions and problem solvers to accelerate social change.”


Image by Michael Jessurun

Bold Solutions Network launches with Top 100 competition applicants

The Bold Solutions Network launched today, featuring War Child Holland and partners Save the Children, Butterfly Works, &Ranj and Sheffield Hallam University as one of the Top 100 submissions for the 100&Change competition. The searchable online collection of submissions contains a project overview, 90-second video and two-page factsheet for each proposal.

Visitors can sort by subject, location, Sustainable Development Goal, or beneficiary population to view proposals based on area of interest.

The Bold Solutions Network will showcase the highest-rated proposals that emerge from the competitions Lever for Change manages. Proposals in the Bold Solutions Network undergo extensive evaluation and due diligence to ensure each solution promises real and measurable progress to accelerate social change.

The Bold Solutions Network is designed to provide an innovative approach to identifying the most effective, enduring solutions aligned with donors’ philanthropic goals and to help top applicants gain visibility and funding from a wide array of funders. Organisations that are part of the network will have continued access to a variety of technical support and learning opportunities focused on strengthening their proposals and increasing the impact of their work.

2020-02-20 CWTL Can’t Wait to Learn Uganda - Michael Jessurun

Image by Michael Jessurun

More about 100&Change

100&Change is a distinctive competition that is open to organisations and collaborations working in any field, anywhere in the world. Proposals must identify a problem and offer a solution that promises significant and durable change.

The second round of the competition had a promising start: 3,690 competition registrants submitted 755 proposals. Of those, 475 passed an initial administrative review. 100&Change was designed to be fair, open, and transparent. The identity of the judges and the methodology used to assess initial proposals are public. Applicants received comments and feedback from the peers, judges, and technical reviewers. Key issues in the competition are discussed in a blog on MacArthur’s website.

In the inaugural round of 100&Change, Sesame Workshop and International Rescue
Committee were awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Syrian response region and to challenge the global system of humanitarian aid to focus more on building a foundation for future success for millions of young children.

More about War Child and Can’t Wait to Learn

War Child

War Child works exclusively to improve the wellbeing of children living with violence and armed conflict. We empower children in everything we do. We work to unleash their inner strength through our creative and engaging approach.

We deliver vital child protection, education and psychosocial support. We are present in countries where violence and armed conflict are a fact of life. We work together with caregivers and communities – as well as other NGOs – to strengthen the resilience and psychosocial wellbeing of children worldwide.

We conduct research and development to demonstrate the effectiveness of all our interventions. We work to develop new intervention models that meet the changing needs of children and their communities. We inspire our partners – on a global and local level – to adopt our programmes so we can reach as many children as possible.

Everything we do has a lasting impact and helps children build a better future – both for themselves and their communities. Because no child should be part of war. Ever.

2020-02-20 CWTL Digital tablet desk credited to Dr David Swann III

Digital tablet desk by Dr David Swann

Can’t Wait to Learn

More than 32 million children affected by armed conflict worldwide are denied their fundamental right to a quality education – and with it the knowledge and skills to participate in their societies and fulfil their potential.

Can’t Wait to Learn provides a highly effective and cost efficient solution to close this education gap for millions of children around the world affected by conflict. It is a digital tablet-based innovation programme providing children access to quality education, in both formal school settings or inside their communities.

The programme offers children the opportunity to (continue to) learn to read, write and count through a self-paced digital game, which is specifically created to reflect their world and context. We work together with Ministries of Education to ensure that learning objectives are based on the national curricula. Children’s progress is monitored and used for further improvements of the programme.

Sheffield Hallam University’s frugal innovation expertise is supporting the development of new hardware products that are optimised for local manufacture and designed with scalability in mind. One such novel product is a digital tablet desk which improves the ergonomic posture and comfort of floor-sitting tablet users.

2020-02-20 CWTL Digital tablet desk credited to Dr David Swann III

Digital tablet desk by Dr David Swann

Partnership driving effective learning

Partnership is at the heart of the Can’t Wait to Learn programme to ensure we can scale up and provide quality education to as many children affected by conflict as possible. The Can’t Wait to Learn partnership team brings together: War Child Holland’s technical leadership and expertise; Save the Children’s operational reach; the software design capacity of &ranj; Butterfly Works’ human-centred design skills, and Sheffield Hallam University’s frugal innovation expertise.

sdr 2020-02-20 CWTL Digital tablet desk credited to Dr David Swann III

Digital tablet desk by Dr David Swann

Find out more about the project on the Can’t Wait to Learn information fact sheet here.