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Early Years Education Through Community Building - An IEI Project in Chipursan Valley

place Pakistan

Empowering Communities Through Education Rooted In Indigenous Knowledge

In Chipursan valley, the last on the Karakoram highway to China, lack of trained teachers limits access to quality education. Limited digital infrastructure, along with low income opportunities, means these communities are further disconnected. This programme, and the dedicated ECD school prioritise indigenous practices, provide Whatsapp based teacher support and create long term ECD access.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
Students early
May 2024
We hope that educators understand the importance of prioritising early years education within rural remote communities that otherwise seem cut off from progress, which ends up limiting the access these children have. We also want these communities to understand the importance of their own indigenous knowledge and to integrate more indigenous practices within education across the country.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Working in Gilgit-Baltistan since 2016, we realised that these low-income and climate vulnerable valleys were only challenged further by lack of quality education access especially from an early age. The remote nature of the valleys cuts them off from digital learning as well. There was a need to connect parents and community practices to children's education to build long-term sustainable change.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

IEI has a three-way approach. Firstly IEI started sponsoring teachers salaries, which helped keep them in jobs. Secondly, we created a Whatsapp based Teacher support model that includes lesson plans, resources, feedback, tips and ideas. This made a huge difference because lack of stable internet meant they weren’t able to previously stay updated on new progress within ECD learning. By creating support over Whatsapp networks and funding their salaries, our innovation is creating consistency in providing ECD to children in these communities. We’ve also created a regionalised Early Years curriculum embedded with indigenous teaching and learning practices - such as building a vegetable garden and story times with elder women in the community. The stability created by teachers staying and parents’ involved in their child’s education helps create better access to ECD learning. So far we’ve seen a decrease in school drop out rates and increased parent and community involvement.

How has it been spreading?

We started with training 1 teacher in 2021, along with providing enhanced learning, which then increased to 7 teachers, 3 ECD classrooms and the launch of IEI’s SEED Video Training Module and WhatsApp Support Group in 2022. In 2023, we launched our first dedicated ECD school, in a community partnership model with support from Polish Aid. We’ve served 5 mountain villages. Over the next 2-3 years we want to reach out to more communities, make our trainings accessible to more teachers in similar contexts and engage in localised solutions for challenges such as climate change. We want to foster a generation of changemakers with pride in indigenous identity. As more teachers are equipped to provide quality early learning through IEI’s programmes, we hope to create a community of practice.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

IEI’s model is replicable and anyone can reach out to the organisation to gain access to the Whatsapp Teacher Support Model guide and curriculum resources. Since IEI promotes indigenous values, anyone looking to replicate this can use our resources to further see how early education can be made relevant within their context. They can reach out to the team at

Implementation steps

Identify communities in need
Find out exactly why Early Years Education is missing within your community. Is it a lack of resources, awareness, accessibility or something else entirely? Identifying a need also means looking at the communities unique context. What is it that is hindering access to Early Years Education, and what is it from within that communities lifestyle that can be used to build the programme
Regulate Funding
Figure out who will be responsible for teacher's salaries, paying for internet connectivity and keeping classrooms updated. This can be individual donor funded or in partnership with an organisation.
Onboarding to Whatsapp Training and Support
Teachers go through an in-person on boarding process, where they are on boarded onto the Whatsapp support group along with receiving initial training that familiarises them with the curriculum. They now have access to resources and regular follow ups. Initial knowledge building of early childhood development so teachers are able to build that foundational understanding, and know that they have help through the Whatsapp channel
Building the curriculum and Regular Check-Ins
Keeping in touch with teachers everyday during working hours to provide real-time help, insights and feedback on how their lessons are going and what can be improved. Parent testimonials for activities such gardening help us develop this further. Regular check-ins and monitoring to see what challenges are coming up and how the community is responding. This helps us accomodate for certain challenges in advance when going to another community.
In person training on Development Milestones for Children Aged 2-5
Providing in person training to teachers on brain development in Early Years, along with Indigenous Teaching and Learning and Jolly Phonics for English Teaching. Using your curriculum, involve both teachers and parents in being aware of the development milestones students need to be reaching at regular intervals. Get teachers to stay in touch and share updates over the Whatsapp support model to be regularly updated of these milestones.
Continuing Training for teachers
As the needs of your community continue to change and your capacity to provide more resources grows, keep continuing training and refresher courses through Whatsapp based training, such as this especially designed video based module in Urdu called SEED

Spread of the innovation

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