Updated Jul 25, 2019

RISE Removing Barriers to Education for Refugee Children through Enterprise Software

A software tool for humanitarian workers to log educational data, identify barriers to education and alert other workers for action.


Sergio Medina

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

This innovation has demonstrated small-scale success and they are developing the business model and attracting partners to help fill gaps in their capacity to scale.

Focus Areas:


EducationSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
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Globally, there are now 65.6 million forcibly displaced refugees and migrants and 33 million of them are school-aged children. Only 25% of refugee girls attend primary school, and as a whole, only 50% of all refugee children attend primary school. Educational participation drops considerably beyond the primary level. The problem: in refugee camps and settlements, there is no centralized or organized method to identify and remove barriers to education. Our software can solve this challenge.

Target Beneficiaries

The core set of beneficiaries are refugee children, aid workers, and aid agencies. Our goal is to address girl's education as a priority because their school participation is the lowest of any cohort, and they experience the most barriers as a group. Fully implemented, all refugee children will benefit from our education coordination software. Aid workers benefit from increased operational efficiency, and aid agencies benefit from having unprecedented access to data. Through ciel's web dashboard, an agency can produce analytics that illustrate the dynamics of their operation, as well as identify the resources needed to mount an exacting humanitarian intervention, in this case, education for children in emergencies. RISE believes that for refugee children to reach full educational access, agencies must simultaneously meet basic emergency needs such as food, shelter, and protection to promote attendance. As such, we treat education as one of the pillars of emergency aid.

Mission and Vision

Impact: By 2022, RISE aims to increase the educational participation of refugee children from 50% to 75% for both girls and boys; once achieved, 6,000,000 more refugee child will attend school on a regular basis.Question: Given the complexity of emergencies, how do we build a product that is effective in the maximum number of settings and how do we balance product adoption in the long-term, with the emergent needs and the competing demands inherent in an emergency setting in the short-term?

Innovation Description

Our enterprise software brings a digital workflow into the hands of humanitarian aid responders. What makes ciel innovative is that it is the first cloud-based enterprise software platform designed specifically to accelerate humanitarian aid for refugees, and it is the first enterprise solution that is mobile-first, offline-capable, device-agnostics, and fully-optimized to function in infrastructure-poor settings. Here's how it works: an aid agency is outfitted with a ciel-build specific to their needs, in this example, our education module for an agency working in a refugee camp with 100,000 school-aged children. The agency workers access ciel by downloading it onto their phones, and the managers access the Action-Center through ciel's web dashboard. When an aid worker meets with a child, they assess that child's educational needs and identify any barriers preventing regular school attendance. The worker logs the information electronically, pushes it to the cloud, and creates an "open ticket" to remove the barriers. Once the barrier is removed, the child can attend school, and the worker then continues to support the child to sustain their attendance. Ciel's legal module is operational in Lesvos, Greece and it was deployed in Berlin, Germany in our first pilot studies. Our early market validation is promising, and our data architecture is designed to scale. Ciel can support the education module, which we need to build into our current scalable data ecosystem.

Competitive Advantage

RISE does not deliver aid directly to refugees. Instead, our contribution comes from building context-specific tech tools for the agencies providing direct aid to refugees; helping them be more efficient and effective. As one of the few refugee+tech organizations, RISE is bridging social work, enterprise technology, human-centered design, and business. Because we speak these various sector languages, we are uniquely positioned to draw on the best they have to offer and drive radical collaboration. We are not aware of any other entities addressing this problem in the same way. However, our sector research has yielded many potential collaborators and partners who have aligned goals. Since we are addressing interagency coordination, partnership is at the core of our strategy. RISE is improving upon structures in-place in the field, tapping into existing networks in which we are embedded, and in doing so, we are driving innovation through systems intra and entrepreneurship.


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