EmpaTeach education

Helping teachers to end physical violence in schools

EmpaTeach is a project that aims to reduce corporal punishment in low resource settings by helping teachers learn positive discipline methods, change destructive thought patterns, and plan ahead for positive reactions to students’ misbehavior.
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EmpaTeach is at the Rigorous Evaluation stage

health

Micronutrient Cubes

A third of the 2 billion people who are micronutrient deficient are children. Many have little access to diverse foods or supplements. By working through private sector supply chains, this...

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empowerment

Urban Housing

Jordan

Rapid urbanization in many parts of the world has led to a great deal of challenges ensuring the availability of adequate housing. In the Middle East, this is coupled by...

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empowerment

Voluntary and Spontaneous Returns

Jordan

As people displaced by the Syria crisis begin returning to their homes, new approaches will be needed to deal with the unprecedented scale of returns.

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other

Financing Refugee Crisis Response

Together with the Centre for Global Disaster Protection, Airbel is working to assess the potential to use risk-based financing approaches to respond to refugee influxes.

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empowerment

Information Flows

Jordan

Displaced people live in challenging circumstances where accurate information can become difficult to obtain. Strengthening information flows can aid in decision-making and make their circumstances easier to manage.

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health

Mental Health

Jordan

Supporting the mental health needs of displaced people will be crucial to helping them lay the groundwork for future success.

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empowerment

Placement Algorithm

United States

Airbel is piloting and scaling an innovative machine learning algorithm developed by the Stanford University Immigration Policy Lab that matches refugees in areas where they are likely to thrive when...

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other

Resettlement Revolving Fund

In this new model for refugee resettlement finance, a self-sustaining fund provides countries with finance for refugee resettlement, and is replenished as refugees fuel economic growth.

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economic-wellbeing

Trade Accelerator

Focused support for Jordanian businesses to foster rapid growth and help them tap into the European market and hire refugees to do so.

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This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

health

Virtual Baby

This portable game would let children earn points for raising a happy baby, teaching them about sexual health and nutrition.

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This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

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empowerment

Ask Laila

A hotline, SMS, and web-based service to help resettled refugees get quick answers from a trusted local source - in their own language.

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This project became inactive following the Prototype phase

empowerment

Games for Diversity and Inclusion

Airbel worked closely with colleagues in the Asia Region to prototype approaches to increasing diversity and inclusivity in our workplaces through mechanisms with wide appeal, that can be easily integrated...

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This project graduated following the Prototype phase

health

Medicine Bank

Jordan

People with low income in Jordan often struggle to access the medicine they need. This solution is aimed at making supply chains more efficient to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals....

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education

Pop Up Learning

Bangladesh

Pop-Up Learning is a computer-assisted learning program, aimed to mobilize quickly and efficiently on the onset of crisis.

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health

Sprout

Niger

Over 16 million children under the age of 3 are afflicted by severe acute malnutrition. To pinpoint the most impactful prevention methods, Sprout is experimenting with 3 distinct approaches.

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This project graduated following the Prototype phase

education

Spark

Tanzania

Spark creates alternative learning spaces outside of refugee camp schools to practice play-based learning and social-emotional skills with primary school children.

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This project became inactive following the Prototype phase

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empowerment

IRC Connect

United States

In partnership with Twilio.org, Airbel is developing an SMS-based system to streamline communication between caseworkers and newly-settled refugees as they adapt to their new lives in the United States.

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education

Coach Erevu

Tanzania

Coach Erevu is a virtual teacher coaching program designed to empower teachers to learn and practice social-emotional learning activities that they can use in their classrooms.

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health

Low-Literacy Malnutrition Tools

South Sudan

In hard-to-reach areas local community health workers are key to treating malnourished children. Commonly used tools for diagnosing and treating malnutrition have been adapted to meet the needs of workers...

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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

other

SCAN

The Systematic Cost Analysis (SCAN) tool simplifies the process of conducting cost analyses, helping humanitarian and development actors make use of limited resources in a transparent and effective way.

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education

Tunakujenga

Tanzania

Tunakujenga is a family learning program designed to empower caregivers to engage in nurturing and playful parenting to support their children’s social and emotional development.

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safety

Becoming One

Uganda

Becoming One is a counseling program designed to bring couples closer and prevent intimate partner violence. The program is delivered in partnership with local faith leaders, who guide couples through...

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education

EmpaTeach

Tanzania

EmpaTeach is a project that aims to reduce corporal punishment in low resource settings by helping teachers learn positive discipline methods, change destructive thought patterns, and plan ahead for positive...

Find out more

economic-wellbeing

Match

Jordan

Working to counter the high rates of unemployment that follow mass displacement, the Match project in Jordan is testing a set of new innovations for placing vulnerable populations and refugees...

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safety

Modern Man

Liberia

Modern Man is a mobile messaging campaign that engages men with an aspirational and positive masculine identity to prevent intimate partner violence. It sends SMS messages to men who have...

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education

Ahlan Simsim

In this historic effort, IRC and Sesame Workshop have partnered to help children whose lives have been uprooted by the war in Syria to build brighter futures.

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health

Transforming Treatment for Acute Malnutrition

IRC is proposing a suite of five approaches to simplify treatment for acute malnutrition and to make it more accessible. Alongside an ambitious advocacy campaign, they have the potential to...

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Violence erodes the foundation children need to live healthy and productive lives, and can have devastating, long-lasting effects on their development, school performance, and overall educational attainment. Schools are one of the most common settings where children experience violence. Sixty-eight countries still do not have laws protecting children against physical punishment in schools - leaving about 720 million school-age children vulnerable to violence. And even where laws do exist, additional efforts are needed to turn policy into practice. Little evidence exists about how best to end the practice of teachers using corporal punishment against students, particularly in crisis-affected contexts. What’s clear is that current approaches, including rulemaking and awareness-raising campaigns, are not enough.

EmpaTeach was co-designed with refugee teachers in partnership with the Behavioral Insights Team. It was tailored specifically to be a low-intensity, contextually adapted program for a resource-constrained humanitarian setting. The program is currently being implemented in Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, where a staggering 82% of students report having experienced physical violence from a school staff member in their lifetime. This project is expected to reduce incidents of violence in schools, affecting thousands of children.

Drawing on insights from the behavioral sciences and cognitive behavioral therapy, teachers take part in a 10-week intervention led by their own peers in which:

  1. Teachers are provided with tablets to watch locally-made videos demonstrating how to effectively implement classroom management techniques. 
  2. The program also guides teachers through exercises to identify their personal triggers in the classroom (such as a student disrupting a lecture) and explore how their thoughts and feelings lead to reactions. 
  3. This becomes the basis for a planning exercise, where teachers commit to acting in positive ways when triggered and rely on self-regulation techniques to avoid escalation of negative thoughts or feelings.

The program content focuses teachers on their values, empathy-building exercises, and emphasizes teachers’ and students’ potential to change and overcome challenges with effort – all things that evidence from other contexts suggests will amplify impact. Teachers are grouped with peers who serve as a support network, commitment device, and new social reference point.

Results so far are promising. A small-scale pilot study in two schools in Mtendeli Refugee Camp showed a lower incidence of physical and emotional violence in schools that received the program, compared to non-program schools. Students in schools that experienced EmpaTeach reported feeling more connected, less depressed, and more engaged in school than students in non-program schools.  Teachers in program schools show slightly less favorable attitudes towards the use of corporal punishment in a variety of classroom situations, but we did not observe a difference regarding teachers’ general opinions about physical punishment. 

These findings have been used to make further adjustments to the program, and EmpaTeach is currently being independently evaluated in a mixed-methods cluster randomized controlled trial by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Innovations for Poverty Action, the National Institute for Medical Research. Findings will be available in late 2019.

July 2020 | Randomized control trial to conclude

Resource

November 2018 | Randomized control trial begins

Randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the EmpaTeach program

Resource

June 2018 | Pilot concludes

 

The pilot shows the potential of this program to reduce violence against children in the classroom as well as to improve student wellbeing and their relationship with school

Resource

March 2018 | Pilot begins

Initiation of small-scale pilot in two schools to assess the feasibility and desirability of the EmpaTeach program.

February 2018 | Prototype and nimble impact evaluation concludes

Prototyping and nimble impact evaluation to uncover promising solutions and effective program components

Resource

March 2017 | Prototyping begins

November 2016 | Co-creation workshop

Co-creation workshop with teachers and community leaders to design program building blocks

October 2016 | Formative research

Formative research conducted to better understand the context

June 2016 | Evidence review

Evidence review of behavioral science literature to help understand effective strategies for shifting hard-to-change behavior

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.