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Little Ripples

place Chad + 4 more

A refugee- and community-led early childhood education program incorporating play-based learning, peacebuilding, and mindfulness.

Little Ripples is a replicable and sustainable early childhood education program that empowers refugees and communities affected by humanitarian crises to implement child-centered, quality, and comprehensive pre-primary education that supports the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages three to five.

HundrED 2022


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

Web presence






February 2019
I like being a teacher because I get to go to work in the morning and I feel I have a responsibility. I hear the children call me teacher, they sing songs with me and welcome me, and it makes me feel good.

About the innovation

What is Little Ripples?

Levels of displacement are the highest on record; in early 2019, 79.5 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, of whom nearly 26 million hold refugee status – over half of them under the age of 18. Additionally, an estimated 87 million children under age 7 have spent their entire lives in conflict zones. iACT co-created the Little Ripples program with refugees to address the needs of young children affected by humanitarian emergencies and forgotten crises.

The history of Little Ripples begins with iACT’s work in eastern Chad to support Darfuri refugees, documenting life in the refugee camps to help spur global action. The iACT team asked the Darfuri refugee population what services they needed and wanted most – the answer was support for young children. As a result, over the next three years, iACT worked with experts and practitioners in the areas of child development, early learning, trauma recovery, psychology, and mindfulness to develop the Little Ripples program.

Little Ripples is designed to be refugee and community-led in order to build long-term capacity and address the unique needs of children and communities affected by trauma, violence, displacement, and uncertainty. Refugees and community members learn about the Little Ripples curriculum and approach through an in-depth, participatory teacher training and adapt the curriculum and program activities to their culture and context. Program activities can be adapted to take place in schools, child-friendly spaces, community centers, and homes (often referred to as Ponds). Ideally, each learning space employs two teachers to care for and instruct up to 45 children.

The Little Ripples curriculum was co-created with refugees and developed in collaboration with experts; ensuring that the program includes best-practices for refugee children and those who have experienced trauma and hardship. The curriculum is grounded in play-based education and incorporates social-emotional learning, empathy development, positive behavior management, peacebuilding, and mindfulness. If children are in an emotionally and physically safe space and learning through play, then they will learn. Little Ripples can be used alongside any academic pre-primary curriculum as a methodology.

Over the last five years, Little Ripples has expanded into four refugee camps in eastern Chad, reaching 6,200 Darfuri refugee children and training 173 refugee teachers. Little Ripples has also been adapted and implemented with Central African refugees in Cameroon and the Central African Republic, Burundian refugees in Tanzania, and a diverse team from such countries as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Congo in Greece – training 220 teachers and reaching more than 8,000 children.

iACT seeks to expand the impact of Little Ripples through partnerships with refugee communities, community-based organizations, and international NGOs.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Little Ripples has created an early childhood model that is replicable and sustainable for refugee communities. By empowering the communities with tools and resources to effectively deliver quality education for their children, they are having a profound effect on the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages three to five.

HundrED Academy Reviews

Programs like Little Ripples are the need of the hour. With so much of socio economic unrest around the world, collapsing economies in third world countries , these programs can bring about life sustaining changes for a vast majority of the population.

I was touched by the humanism of this innovation,I had the privilege of seeing the amount of work and dedication in "Little Ripples".it's a consistent innovation, even more so it affects a considerable number of refugee children.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Support iACT
If you are interested in funding iACT, making a financial or in-kind contribution, or supporting the Little Ripples program and iACT's work in a different way, please get in touch with us (
Partner with iACT
If you are interested in partnering with iACT to implement the Little Ripples program, conduct research or measure impact on early learning in humanitarian crises, develop and inform tools and resources, or for any other reason, please get in touch with us (
Advocate for Displaced Communities
If you are interested in advocating on behalf of the communities we work with, there are a number of ways you can do so. For example, educate yourself about the issue, context, and communities you're passionate about. Reach out to your local leaders and policy makers and encourage them to take action and support policies that address and prevent mass atrocities globally. Host an event in your community to raise awareness and generate action. Reach out to your local newspaper and media outlets and encourage them to run stories on the issue and use your own social media channels to raise awareness in your network. For more ideas on how to become an advocate and to get involved in iACT's advocacy efforts, feel free to get in touch with us (

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