The disruption of basic education services due to crisis and conflict situations has long-term consequences for students’ educational attainment and development. Technology offers an opportunity to reach and teach learners, who often cannot gather in traditional school settings in periods of such disruption, and prevent the stalling or reversal of educational and literacy gains in affected regions. Education could also provide psycho-social support and promote child and youth well-being in these settings. The Seeker is looking for technology-enabled approaches to provide basic education in one or more of the following crisis or conflict situations: Health Crisis, Natural Disaster, and Conflict Zones. Proposed Solutions should be usable within the first six months after the onset of the crisis or conflict and be usable within the context of a developing country.

Submit your idea in 1,000 words or less


  • Crisis or conflict situations, and their immediate aftermath, can severely disrupt the delivery and quality of basic education services.
  • Even once the crisis or conflict subsides, this interruption can have long-term consequences on student enrolment and retention in school as well as their cognitive, academic and socio- emotional development.
  • This means educational gains in affected regions can quickly be stalled or even reversed as a result of this disruption.
  • As a result of missed schooling due to conflict or crisis, a large number of students are over age per grade level. (i.e. older than the average age of those in the same grade level).
  • Girls’ educational attainment is particularly impacted by crises or conflicts since they are already disproportionately under-enrolled in school and subject to gender-based violence. The educational attainment of marginalised children, such as children with disabilities, is particularly impacted by crises and conflict.
  • Child welfare is also impacted by teaching and learning materials, provided in areas where children have been relocated to, which may contain discriminatory content and/or promote controversial and exclusionary messages.
  • Crisis and conflict often disrupts other resources, beyond access to formal education that could be used to provide alternative educational delivery mechanisms, including trained human resources (e.g. qualified teachers).

The Challenge

The Seeker is looking for technology--supported approaches for adapting, developing and delivering learner-centered educational materials for learners in crisis and conflict situations where formal schooling has been interrupted and infrastructure and trained, in-person human resources are extremely limited.

Students may have:

  • impaired educational cognition/retention due to trauma or injuries sustained as part of the crisis
  • socio-emotional needs and difficulties engaging in the learning process

Proposed Solutions should focus on a specific country, area or region in a developing country and be deployable within the first six months after the onset of one or more of the following crisis or conflict situations:

  • Health Crisis: (e.g. Ebola Crisis) As has been seen with the recent Ebola crisis, schools may be closed as a containment measure to prevent the spread of disease. Infrastructure, while perhaps weakened due to lack of manpower, may still be present.
  • Natural Disaster: (e.g. Philippines Typhoon Haiyan) In the aftermath of typhoons, earthquakes, floods, storms, or other natural disaster events, schools and homes may be destroyed or damaged along with power, transportation, utilities, and telecommunications infrastructure. Students and their families may relocate to temporary camps.
  • Conflict Zone: (e.g. Syrian Refugee Crisis) During conflict, violence by armed groups may force school closures or schools may remain open but serious safety concerns exist regarding student welfare at school. Additionally, conflict often disrupts existing infrastructure and limits the availability of human resources, such as teachers. Depending on the type of violence, students and their families remain at home or may flee to displacement or refugee camps with limited infrastructure and dismal living conditions. Curricular content, particularly as it relates to ethnic, social, and religious norms, may be a source of contention.

Proposed Solutions should specify the crisis and/or conflict situation(s) selected and include a description of the setting the approach is being implemented in, the telecommunication infrastructure and technology assets being utilized,  the form in which the educational content would be delivered and the target group.

Proposed Solutions should not include any personal identifying information the Solvers do not wish to make public, or any information the Solvers may consider as their Intellectual Property that they do not wish to share. While the settings should be realistic and Solvers may choose to highlight a specific crisis and/or conflict, there should be justification for the assumptions made, deep knowledge or research is not necessary and the setting can be theoretical.


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This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by a panel of expert judges, based on the Evaluation Criteria. The total payout will be up to $50,000, with at least one award in each of the three categories being no smaller than $5,000 and no other award being smaller than $1,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 30 March 2015.  Late submissions will not be considered. 

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete a review process and determine the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submitted a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.


The partners for this call are the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision, the Australian government, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). All partners have an interest in leveraging innovative approaches to improve access to quality education in crisis and/or conflict situations.

All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD), established in 2011 as a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Government, aims to catalyze the creation and expansion of scalable, low-cost solutions to improve literacy for early-grade students in developing countries, including those in crisis and/or conflict.  For the purposes of this call, ACR GCD is collaborating with additional organizations to incorporate a broader range of basic education services which can include, though not exclusively focus on, early grade reading.




What is an Ideation Challenge?

An Ideation Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas – a global brainstorm for producing breakthroughs. Ideation Challenges are often followed by one or more Challenges to further develop the ideas. Awards are offered in the form of ‘recognition’ prizes, as opposed to grants or funding for the implementation of the idea.

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