Sprout graduated

Working alongside communities to prevent the risks associated with severe acute malnutrition in children

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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Sprout graduated following this stage

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Decision-Making During COVID-19

The Decision-making During COVID-19 project is a collaboration between the Centre for Disaster Protection the International Rescue Committee (IRC), to test and operationalize crisis risk financing tools in the context...

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education

EdTech Global Landscape Analysis

The research identified six EdTech innovation trends that represent patterns of approach we observed across many individual global projects. Accompanying each innovation trend are 2-3 case studies that illustrate how...

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economic-wellbeing

Local Manufacturing of Medical Supplies in Northwest Syria

Northwest Syria

Open source designs, local manufacturing, and business support can enable a localized supply chain of critical medical equipment while also supporting the market and providing income to families in economic...

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empowerment

Service Delivery for Mobile Populations

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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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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This project became inactive following the Design Research phase

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other

Defining and driving innovative finance

Global humanitarian budgets are not keeping pace with our clients’ needs and aspirations. Airbel is designing and testing new approaches to raising finance, and impactful new ways to use funds...

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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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This project graduated following the Generate Solutions phase

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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This project graduated following the Generate Solutions phase

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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This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

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

education

Audio-Class System

Colombia

The Colombian education system is struggling to support an unprecedented influx of students in the midst of a global pandemic. To respond to the crisis, the IRC created an innovative...

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health

Dela

Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dela aims to be an open-source mobile application that connects community health workers and their supervisors with a consistent channel of communication, to improve the quality of services delivered through...

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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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health

InforMH

Jordan

Leveraging people’s existing practices to bridge the information and stigma gaps that prevent people from seeking mental health and psychosocial support.

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education

Pop-Up Learning Tanzania

Tanzania

With more students out of school around the world due to COVID-19 than ever before, we need solutions that ensure the hardest-to-reach children receive quality education. The IRC is delivering...

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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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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

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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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

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

health

Micronutrient Condiment

Kenya

Two billion people are affected by micronutrient deficiencies worldwide. One third of them are children. We aim to introduce an affordable product inspired by existing porridge preparation practices for sale...

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education

Pop-Up Class Tanzania

Tanzania

Pop-Up Class Tanzania is an after-school digital learning program where children learn on personalized game-based learning software called onecourse and Kitkit School.

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education

Pop-Up Learning Bangladesh

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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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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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

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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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

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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...

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This project graduated following the Rigorous Evaluation phase

safety

Real Man Challenge

Liberia, Uganda, Peru

The Real Man Challenge is a mobile messaging campaign that engages men with an aspirational and positive masculine identity to prevent intimate partner violence. It sends WhatsApp messages to men...

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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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health

ComPAS: Combined Protocol for Acute Malnutrition Study

South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Mali, Chad

The current malnutrition treatment is inaccessible for 4 out of 5 acutely malnourished children globally. A new combined approach is simpler, less expensive, & offers more comprehensive treatment, with the...

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other

Dioptra

Dioptra 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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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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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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Current malnutrition prevention efforts range from breastfeeding exclusively to multi-pronged approaches that include a dizzying number of interventions like home gardens, cash transfers, and feeding practices all together. But none have proven to be effective and scalable prevention methods.

To pinpoint the most impactful methods, Sprout is experimenting with 3 distinct approaches:

  1. Positive Practices: Identifying and promoting existing practices in communities, like hand washing and diversifying the foods children eat, that are associated with SAM prevention, and then introducing choices for additional, relevant practices that women can decide to adopt. Supporting women in changing their ability, motivation, and opportunity to adopt or intensify positive practices.
  2. Post-Harvest Loss: Offering an alternative service to current storage practices that better protects against losses of crops from rodents, insects, and fungus; and may offset the cost of operations.
  3. Cash: Providing modest quantities of unconditional cash to pregnant women and caregivers of children under 3 years to prompt the uptake of new behaviors, like eating (rather than selling) eggs or buying soap.

May 2019 | Prototype concludes

Sprout finds a number of takeaways including:

  • Choice, trust, and problem-solving support were most appreciated by caregivers

  • Cash nudges helped caregivers support familiar behaviors, such as handwashing with soap, as well as try new behaviors, such as feeding a child from their own bowl and introducing meat and fruit into a child’s diet.

  • While the warehouse was an attractive service, it did not generate enough fees to substantially offset the cash nudges to caregivers.

  • When working with subsistence farmers, post-harvest loss reduction isn’t enough - efforts are needed across the entire value chain.

Resource

February 2019 | Tillaberi, Niger. Over 300 farmers have become warehouse customers.

  • Mobilizers have good relationships with their households and are seen by caregivers as partners in problem-solving around adoption of positive practices.
  • Some positive practices, such as purchasing fruit (all of which is imported in Niger) and buying soap remains difficult due to the communal nature of resource consumption in the villages.
  • Sprout doubles the amount of cash distributed to $10.43 USD every 2 weeks to see how that affects food diversification and hand hygiene practices.
  • Mobilizers recommend further improvements to the activities.
Resource

November 2018 | Tillaberi, Niger. Farmers begin to store goods in the renovated warehouse.

  • In some cases, farmers are paying the warehouse fee in advance of storing their goods.
  • Cash distribution and household visits by mobilizers begin in Community C.

October 2018 | Tillaberi, Niger. Community warehouse completes renovations to prevent post-harvest loss

  • In Community C, the community warehouse was renovated to better protect against rodents, insects, and leaks. A community warehouse management committee was convened and trained on warehouse management protocols. The community suggested an appropriate fee for warehouse storage. The fee goes into a fund that is then paid out to caregivers of children until 36 months and pregnant women.
  • Cash distribution and household visits by mobilizers begin in Communities A and B.

September 2018 | Tillaberi, Niger. Caregivers selected for participation in prototype

  • Twenty caregivers of children under 36 months in each participating village were selected by the community to participate in the Sprout prototype based on the communities definition of “most vulnerable.”
  • Bi-weekly unconditional cash distribution of the equivalent of $5.22 USD was decided upon based on the average cost of adopting 2-3 new positive practices per week and the typical cash spending practices in the communities. The cash is intended to trigger adoption or intensification of positive practices.
  • Airbel designers and community mobilizers worked to design and refine activities that mobilizers will use during bi-weekly household visits to promote positive practices, document their frequency over time, track food consumption of children and families, and track cash use.

August 2018 | Tillaberi, Niger. 3 villages selected for participation in prototype

  • Three villages were selected for participation in the Tillaberi region of Niger. One of those villages has an existing community warehouse used for storing food aid from the government and NGOs.
  • Two community mobilizers per village worked to get to know their community members and build trust with community leaders and caregivers. The mobilizers observed which practices caregivers use for promoting healthy child growth and with the help of IRC nutrition specialists, identified 19 positive practices for Sprout to promote.

July 2018 | Tillaberi, Niger. Kicked off prototype

Kicked off community consultation with village leaders, district health officials, local nutrition and agriculture specialists, and women to fine-tune the design of the prototype.

Resource

June 2018 | Sprout 2.0 Begins

Developed a prototype to understand how post-harvest loss reduction, small cash transfers, and promotion of locally-relevant positive practices meets user preferences and can support adoption of SAM risk-reduction actions.

Resource

August 2017 | How might reducing post-harvest loss contribute to SAM risk-reduction among smallholder farming families?

  • Spent time with caregivers in remote villages in western Tanzania to understand:
    • How they are affected by post-harvest loss?
    • What advice do they have for raising healthy children?
    • What actions would they like to be able to take and what would they need to do it?
  • Consulted providers in SAM-affected areas to understand the local drivers of SAM
Resource

June 2017 | What new ideas can design thinking generate for preventing SAM?

  • Met with regional and national nutrition experts in Senegal to understand current best practices, constraints, and which new directions for SAM prevention they are most excited by
  • Spent time with families along the Liberia-Guinea border to understand their priorities, interests, and current investments in caring for their children
  • Conducted observations in clinics to observe interactions between providers and caregivers to understand current practices and opportunities for prevention
Resource

May 2017 | How likely we will meet our goal of treating 6M children for SAM per year?

  • Conducted expert interviews and desk reviews to understand the potential for impact on SAM treatment and cost at scale of innovations in SAM prevention being spearheaded by members of the No Wasted Lives Coalition
  • Developed a model to analyze interactions between innovations under various scenarios with input from nutrition experts (users can manipulate the model to change assumptions as they like)
Resource

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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.