The LEGO Foundation: driving education in Ethiopia and Uganda
Through the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) ‘PlayMatters’ initiative the LEGO Foundation grants US$100mn to deliver play based learning to Africa.
Who is the International Rescue Committee (IRC)?
The IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises by helping people affected survive, recover and gain back control of their futures. The grant awarded by the LEGO Foundation will promote play based, early learning solutions for pre-primary and primary school children impacted by humanitarian crises in Ethiopia and Uganda.
According to the IRC, over 62mn children remain out of school in countries affected by war and displacement with many others who do, receive poor-quality education. In the last three years education has received less than 3% of all humanitarian aid in recent years, IRC is striving to change this.
Research shows, that play based learning experiences can build the skills needed for holistic development, mitigate the impact of adversity and support the resilience children need to thrive. The ‘PlayMatters’ initiative strives to achieve this by strengthening the resilience of children and build their social, emotional, cognitive, physical and creative skills.
The ‘PlayMatters’ initiative in numbers:
Improved education outcomes for: approximately 800,000 children, 10,000 pre-primary and primary school teachers/education personnel and 170,000 primary caregivers.
Grant total: US$100mn
Those in partnership include: War Child, Plan International, Ubongo, Behavioural Insights Team and Innovations for Poverty Action.
“Children in these humanitarian crises did not choose to be refugees and it is unacceptable that an entire generation is deprived of quality childhood education. We know that investing in play-based learning interventions is key to addressing toxic stress and trauma for young children in refugee settings as learning through play helps to develop social and emotional skills, builds resilience, and strengthens brain connections essential for future development,” said John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation.
Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Chairman of the LEGO Foundation, also added that “play provides comfort. It helps children to overcome traumatic experiences, and to return to the routine and normalcy of being a child. With this new grant, the LEGO Foundation continues to address a pressing challenge of our time and change the way the world thinks about learning through play and its importance for children in crisis settings.”
Other play based learning grants award by the LEGO foundation include:
US$100mn to Sesame Workshop (December 2018)
US$12.5mn to Education Cannot Wait (September 2019)
US$100 million grant to Sesame Workshop and its partners BRAC, IRC and New York University (2018)
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.
Image source: LEGO
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.