Shweta Eidnani, Partnerships Lead CoLab
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What, why and how of CoLab
There are 1.9 billion children in the world and more than 50% of them are either out of school or living in conflict zones. To tackle this issue of ongoing inequity, there have been many change-makers working relentlessly in their own geographies in isolation. We aim to create a space where change-makers actually get together, identify problems that plague the current education system, and then go on to co-create solutions to counter these issues.
The current situation is where budding change-makers are reinventing solutions that have been created and implemented in another geography. Imagine the learning lost in this scenario only because of a lack of access to these solutions and resources. Individuals and organizations invest exorbitant amounts of time, energy, and money in reinventing the wheel.
CoLab aims to address these issues by;
Making abundant what is scarce - Making resources and research which is indigenous, accessible and available
Leveraging abundance - Using cumulative knowledge and resource sharing as the starting point to support holistic collaboration amongst educators, researchers, and CSO’s.
What makes us different?
Catering to a varied group of people such as system practitioners(government officials), school practitioners(teaches, school leaders, parents), early-stage organizations, established organizations, and academic institutions and practitioners.
We sit in a space between context intensive organizations who are deep into their context geography and think-tank like organizations that are more often context-unaware than not. We create and co-create solutions that are general enough to be borrowed, but also contextual enough to be practical.
Another thing that sets us apart is our design architecture. A design that is monolithic does not lend itself to reusability. We break programs and interventions down into micro solutions/resources which can be easily assembled by the implementation partners.
Phase A - Identifying potential partners
We have two categories of partners - Partners that contribute solutions to the ecosystem and Partners that use these resources
Solutions contributed by partners are evaluated using the “solution eligibility checklist”. This checklist helps us determine the scalability, impact, and sustainability of the solutions.
Partners/stakeholders who wish to use resources can simply do so by following our Facebook page that is regularly updated with new resources and solutions.
Phase B - Designing for scale
Our research and design team works closely with these partners to identify aspects of their solutions that are suitable for scale.
Alongside scaling partner programs and solutions, we focus on identifying problems and challenges in the ecosystem and design micro-solutions for the same even before there is a demand for it.
The next step is to create micro-solutions that are then published and shared digitally with the larger ecosystem
Phase C - Disseminating
Solutions contributed by partners are disseminated using the Shikshalokam platforms, our technology partner. We also use social media channels such as Facebook to share this content.
Focus group discussions and capacity building sessions conducted with stakeholders serve as a channel to share new solutions added to the platform
In certain cases, we connect two or more partners so that they directly collaborate with each other and improve their practices
What have we accomplished?
- Within a year of being launched, CoLab has 11 partners from India, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Australia. These partnerships are focused on curating solutions for scale. We also engage in need-based capacity building sessions. We have done over 30 such sessions in the last year.
- In collaboration with our partners, we have co-created and curated 16 need-based solutions that can be used by anyone anywhere in the world.
- We have partnered with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education under a collaborative research grant of 12500 AD, wherein we are co-designing professional development sessions for Indian school teachers for inclusive education.
- Mirco-solutions contributed by various partners are now being used by over 5000 system practitioners across 4 states in India (Karnataka, Punjab, Bihar and, Andhra Pradesh). These solutions are focused on improving the leadership and management skills of system practitioners.
- For community engagement, we partnered with HundrEd and hosted the first Glocal of 2020 in Bangalore, Karnataka. 70+ educators attended the event and we had presenters from Morocco, Mexico, and India.
- To honor and acknowledge indigenous voices and work, we hosted the Landscaping Narratives event hosted in partnership with Wells Fargo Foundation. We had early-stage organizations, teachers, and students share solutions for the challenges they had faced. The winning solutions were given grants as a token of appreciation for their innovations.
- In collaboration with Education Above All, we are supporting 10 organizations across rural India to design and implement solutions aimed at improving the education landscape in remote geographies