Updated Mar 29, 2019

Little Ripples

A refugee- and community-led early childhood development program for children affected by conflict and humanitarian crises.


Gabriel Stauring

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Stage 5: Scaling

Little Ripples has grown from reaching Darfuri refugees across four camps in Chad to also supporting Burundian refugees in Tanzania as well as Central African refugees in Cameroon. iACT seeks to expand Little Ripples to Greece, Uganda, and CAR.

Registered as a Non-Profit in United States.

Focus Areas:

Refugees, Emotional Development, Child Protection and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Refugees, Emotional Development, Child Protection, Pre-primary/Pre-school/ECD Education, Leadership Development, Peace and Resilience and AgencySEE LESS

Implemented In:

Chad, Tanzania and Cameroon

Chad, Tanzania and CameroonSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Key Partners
Countries Implemented In


Globally, over 11 million children have been forced to flee their homes. The disruption of family and community structure, as well as the acute shortage of resources, profoundly affects the physical and psychological well-being of all refugees; but especially of young children. Ninety percent of brain development occurs before the age of five; these years are the foundation from which children grow and their future will be determined by their experience in displacement.



Little Ripples is an early childhood development program that empowers refugees and communities affected by humanitarian crises to implement child-centered, quality, and comprehensive early childhood edcuation that supports the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children ages 3 to 5.

Target Beneficiaries

Refugees and communities affected by humanitarian crises living in displacement: children ages 3 to 5, parents and caregivers, men and women trained and employed to adapt and lead the Little Ripples program in their community.

Mission and Vision

Little Ripples is designed to build long-term capacity and address the unique needs of children and communities affected by trauma, violence, and displacement. Little Ripples seeks to develop a strong foundation of learning, interpersonal skills, empathy, and peace for refugee children and teachers to recover from severe trauma, grow into happy, healthy, and contributing members of society and reach their full potential amidst the uncertainty of their present and future.

Innovation Description

Refugee-led: Little Ripples demonstrates a new model of humanitarian action (not merely aid) that empowers rather than disenfranchises. Refugee men and women, with any level of education and experience, are trained and employed to adapt, implement and scale the Little Ripples program in their community. Prospective Education Directors and teachers complete an in-depth, participatory Little Ripples teacher training and adapt the curriculum and program activities to their culture and context. Little Ripples is adapted and completely led by members of the refugee community. Pedagogy: The Little Ripples curriculum was co-created with refugee communities and developed in collaboration with experts in early childhood development, trauma recovery, pre-primary education, and mindfulness; ensuring that the program includes best-practices for refugee children and those who have experienced trauma and hardship. While the curriculum focuses on teaching literacy and numeracy and can be used alongside any academic pre-primary curriculum, it is grounded in play-based education, trauma-recovery approaches, restorative practices, and incorporates social-emotional learning, empathy development, positive behavior management, peacebuilding, and mindfulness. Adaptability: The program can be adapted to take place in schools, child-friendly spaces, community centers, and home compounds, ensuring the program best meets the daily needs and life of the community, families, and children.

Competitive Advantage

Little Ripples fills a huge gap in early childhood care and education solutions for children living in displacement. 1) No other organizations or programs focus solely and comprehensively on the well-being of refugee children ages three to five or 2) build the capacity of refugee communities to adapt, implement, lead and scale early childhood education in their community. iACT serves as the facilitator of the Little Ripples program but increasingly, from scouting to learning, the refugee community takes over the tasks associated with implementation, monitoring and scaling. This model allows for the program to be adapted by each community in which the program is implemented, and creates the space for quality, culturally-inspired early childhood development. By ensuring refugee ownership, voice, and agency from the beginning and by seeing the community as assets, sustainability is built into this model from the outset.

Planned Goals and Milestones

While sustaining Little Ripples in Chad, Tanzania, and Cameroon, in 2019 and 2020, with key partners, iACT seeks to scale Little Ripples to Greece, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. Scaling will entail working directly with refugee communities to adapt and implement the Little Ripples structure and curriculum to meet the unique needs, context, and aspirations of each community, then working with the community to identify opportunities for sustaining the program in their community.
Funding Goal500,000
New Implemented CountriesGreece, Central African Republic, Uganda
RecruitOne Project Manager, one board member
New FeatureWork directly with partners and refugee communities in new countries to adapt and implement Little Ripples to best meet the unique needs of their community and children


Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Feb 2019
Lives Impacted
Jan 2019
New Country Implemented In
May 2013
Date Unknown
Funds RaisedPENDING
Unknown Amount
Date Unknown
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Profiled on CEI

Supporting Materials