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Contributed by
Children on the Edge

Overview

Children on the Edge supports more than 15,000 of the world's most marginalised children. Their work focuses on children who are pushed to the edge of their societies and overlooked by governments, larger agencies, and international media.

This recipe focuses on the charity’s work delivering education to the Rohingya children in the refugee camps of Bangladesh.

Whilst authorities in Bangladesh permit education for Rohingya refugees, there are strict rules around teaching the children only in the Burmese and English languages – not in a Bangladeshi dialect which children and teachers could understand.

The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the need for digital learning, because charity staff members could not be brought in and teachers within the camps could not leave to undergo training.

Alongside face to face teaching, learning is now delivered digitally with around 1.5 hours of video lessons a day. Classrooms have been closed due to the pandemic but are set to re-open on March 30th. Throughout lockdown, children have been participating in smaller, socially distanced groups at teachers’ houses in three sessions of between one and two hours each day, where teachers have lessons delivered to their phones.

75 teachers were given smartphones and sent lessons over WhatsApp, which they then projected onto a screen via battery-powered projectors. Because of the language barrier, visual learning enables genuine learning. Children on the Edge created videos which were dubbed and translated, making it easy for children to understand.

Through Moja Kids, Children on the Edge’s online platform, students create video updates to share back and forth with children outside the camps. This gives them a voice and a place to express their talents and creativity and enables them to interact with peers and tackle their sense of isolation.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since January 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Children on the Edge’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need to access meaningful education in a language I can understand. I also need connection in a situation where I’m isolated and to interact with my peers across the world
  • As a teacher, I need to support my lessons with materials to overcome language barriers
  • As a staff member or volunteer, I need to be able to deliver services remotely
  • As Communications Manager, I need to be able to give children a platform for their voices

Software and tools used

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a popular digital messaging platform for smartphones that provides text, voice, and video calls, as well as simple file-sharing capabilities.

Cost

WhatsApp is free to use.

Considerations

The advantage of WhatsApp is that it can run on mobile data, which helps to overcome the issue of patchy WiFi or bans on internet within the camp. People also may not have access to computers, but smartphones are more easily obtainable.

LG Cinebeam battery-powered projectors

Small battery-powered projectors that teachers use to show the lessons from their smartphones to the students.

Cost

Children on the Edge purchased LG Cinebeam projectors at a cost of $720.00 (£516.59 approx) per unit.

Considerations

Solar-powered projectors were found to be too heavy and there were issues with theft. Batteries can be charged at home, which makes these projectors a more viable alternative.

Green screen

Green screen technology is used to create effects for videos. It can help to create a more professional product and gives users more options for post-production personalisation.

Cost

Green screens can be homemade or professionally-constructed. A large piece of bright green cloth as a backdrop, in a material that isn't too reflective and doesn't crease easily, is an inexpensive solution.

Considerations

A green screen is easy to set up and requires minimal technical skills. However, transporting green screen materials can be difficult, as they need to be physically moved to the location.

Smartphones

Teachers need smartphones to access the lessons, project them onto screens, and shoot videos with students.

Cost

Smartphones are available at a wide range of prices that vary depending on the model or market. For this recipe, inexpensive models were sufficient, provided they could support WhatsApp and featured an adequate camera.

Considerations

Smartphones need to be accompanied with data pack SIMs that allow internet access when WiFi is limited.

Salesforce

Salesforce is a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system with cloud-based storage that can be used for data sharing, assessment, and feedback. The Nonprofit Success Pack is specifically designed to help charities get started with the Salesforce CRM and features a number of bespoke NPO options for relationship management, fundraising, and reporting.

Cost

The first 10 subscriptions to Salesforce are free for nonprofit organisations under the Power of Us programme, as well as discounts on additional subscriptions. Beyond this, tiered subscriptions are available at the following price points:

  • Sales Cloud Enterprise Edition - $36 (£26 approx) per user per month
  • Sales & Service Cloud Enterprise Edition - $48 (£35 approx) per user per month
  • Sales Cloud Unlimited Edition - $72 (£52 approx) per user per month
  • Sales & Service Cloud Unlimited Edition - $96 (£70 approx) per user per month

Salesforce for Nonprofits is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

Considerations

Cloud-based data storage and transfer are essential capabilities for remote work across multiple regions. The nonprofit packages can make an otherwise prohibitively expensive service accessible for smaller charities.

Weebly

Weebly is an online content management platform for creating and managing digital content on a website without any need for coding. It is similar to WordPress or Wix.

Cost

Weebly's plans start at £4 a month to create and launch your own website with a custom domain. The next plan up is £9 a month and is free of Weebly advertising. It also includes in-built site search. With this plan, you get access to advanced site analytics and phone chat support.

Considerations

Weebly is easy to use, with a simple drag and drop functionality to create pages and content. It is quicker to get started with than many of its competitors, with no technical knowledge needed.

YouTube

YouTube is an online video hosting platform.

Cost

YouTube is free to use. A paid subscription model (YouTube Red) is primarily marketed at viewers, allowing ad-free viewing and access to paywalled content.

Considerations

YouTube provides an easy way to upload and share videos with people around the world. Privacy functionality is available, meaning that videos can be set to be publicly searchable, private, or viewable only by people with a specific link.

Recipe steps

1. Carry out a pilot programme to test reactions to the service

● It is important to run early testing to gain valuable insights into how your organisation should operate this process

● This will help you to identify and address obstacles before rolling out the recipe on a larger scale

● Test for how you will roll out content

● Decide on how content will be created and presented

2. Hire a digitally skilled team

● Identify what skills will be needed for this project

● Assess whether these skills are already present in your team

● If any necessary skills are not present within your team, decide whether you will train an existing team member or bring in a new hire or outside consultant

3. Supply materials to teachers

● Ensure teachers have smartphones, data packages, and other digital materials to train teachers

● Set up a green screen studio for filming videos

4. Deliver lessons

● Begin delivery of educational content

● Gather as much information as possible for later processes of assessment and optimisation

5. Offer ongoing support

● Make sure that staff members are supported

● In this recipe, Project Officers offer ongoing support to teachers. The teacher themselves receive regular refresher training

6. Assess and give feedback

● Conduct regular interviews and focus groups with children, parents, and teachers

● These should look at the whole programme, with a specific section focusing on the digital aspect

● These learnings should be used to optimise and improve the service

Guidance

It is important to be community-led. The process must be owned by the community and planned and designed with them to meet their specific needs.

It is vital that your work is sensitive to cultural issues and differences. Needs will be wildly different across different regions, so the services must themselves be different to reflect this.

Risks

Make sure that service users understand and offer consent when they agree to have their likeness and image shared on video content.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Esther Smitheram

Thanks

Many thanks to Children on the Edge for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Children on the Edge and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on March 2nd, 2021. Last updated April 1st, 2021