Updated Jun 28, 2018

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Donkey Ripples: Income-generating solution enabling refugee families to support the impact and sustainability of early childhood education


The innovation has no owner


Stage 3: Proof of Concept

Focus Areas:

Education and Technology

Education and TechnologySEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In


More than 14 years after arriving to Chad, over 360,000 refugees from Darfur, Sudan live in 12 camps along the border of eastern Chad and still struggle to gain access to livelihood opportunities and quality education. Most refugees rely on farming to generate income and feed their family. However, few refugee families can afford donkeys and plows, both of which are essential tools for increasing their yield. While 31% of the population are children under-five, preschool is heavily under-funded



iACT aims to bolster agricultural activities for families to address sustainability of early childhood education in refugee camp Goz Amer.

Target Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of DR will be refugees living in camp Goz Amer, eastern Chad, and include: - 670 children ages 3-5 attending Little Ripples, 12 refugee families per LR School and Pond, and 16 female LR cooks. Typical beneficiary: Kadija is the mother of four boys, all under the age of eight. Two of her boys will be attending an LR Pond near their home. The two younger boys have not attended any preschool before. Kadija has been in camp a refugee camp in eastern Chad since 2004. She does not work; she mostly stays home. The family eats two meals a day of porridge and sorghum. During the rainy season, she goes to her field to tend to her crops.After implementing DR for one year, iACT aims to scale the program to refugee camps Djabal, Mile, and Kounougou, eastern Chad. iACT will measure: - use and impact of the donkey and plow, the amount of crop grown, how the families are using the increased yield, and the resulting contributions to the cost of sustaining LR.

Mission and Vision

iACT provides humanitarian action to aid, empower, and extend hope to those affected by mass atrocities.

Innovation Description

Our innovation is called Donkey Ripples (DR). Donkey Ripples is a refugee-initiated idea and managed solution that empowers families to contribute to the cost of the daily nutritional meals and foster sustainability of Little Ripples (LR), a refugee-led early childhood education program reaching children ages 3-5 in their camp. DR provides a donkey and plows to families who live in the homes and the block immediately surrounding LR School and Ponds in camp Goz Amer. Each family take the donkey and plow to their plot of land, uses the set for tilling, planting, and harvesting for the duration of the summer agricultural season, and brings them back to camp afterward, utilizing the donkey to carry the familys yield. Families then give back a portion of their yield to support LR. Little Ripples refugee cooks then use the crops for the meals prepared and provided daily to students at LR, or trade or sell the crop for other ingredients. Further, Goz Amer has a peanut oil-producing economy. DR will purchase an oil-producing machine as an income-generating tool for families and LR. Donkey Ripples addresses both the ongoing food insecurity in the region and the sustainability of an early childhood education program. The upfront investment of donkeys and plows for families attending LR increases crop yield and food for the entire family, contributes to the essential daily meal at LR, and builds refugee self-reliance in a region with little economic opportunity

Competitive Advantage

The humanitarian system so far lacks a good model of facilitating and nurturing innovation by refugees and other crisis-affected communities, particularly in hard-to-reach and under-resourced environments. Donkey Ripples will be successful because it was a sustainable solution to addressing food insecurity designed by refugees from the community, who are the experts on their environment and economy. Furthermore, we piloted the idea with four families in 2016 and as a result, families increased their yield and gave back 25% of the crop to Little Ripples. iACT has been working alongside refugees in eastern Chad since 2005, successfully facilitating refugee-led education, sports, and human rights programs. In 2014, iACT??s Little Ripples program was selected by OpenIDEO as one of seven most innovative refugee education solutions and we completed a one-year design-thinking process in collaboration with IDEO experts to improve specific refugee-led components of Little Ripples.


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