Giving Compass' Take:

• Alison Bukhari and Maharshi Vaishnav explain how the Development Impact Bond helped their organization make impressive progress toward their goals. 

• What other issues can benefit from the Development Impact Bond model?

• Learn about the global impact bond market

Educate Girls, an Indian NGO working to enroll out-of-school girls and increase learning for girls and boys, recently reached a major milestone: completion of the world’s first Development Impact Bond (DIB) in education. At the end of three years, Educate Girls’ results in Rajasthan exceeded the DIB’s goals, highlighting the effectiveness of their approach to both increased enrollment and learning outcomes.

Zach Slobig: We checked in last year for the first year results of the three-year bond. At that point Educate Girls had reached nearly 88 percent of the enrollment target and 50 percent of the 3-year learning target in three remote, rural blocks in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, India. These results are impressive! Help us understand the tremendous progress in learning in this final year.

Alison Bukhari and Maharshi Vaishnav: It’s rewarding and unexpected that in the final year of the DIB, children’s learning moved 79 percent more than the children in comparable schools, not on our program. That is almost the equivalent of an additional year in education. We moved from an average of about 1,400 learning gains in years one and two, to nearly 6,000 in the final year.

We are convinced that the results are a combination of three factors:

  • Education outcomes take time to be realized.
  • We took very tailored approaches to all our interventions in the final year.
  • Our staff had a clear motivation and passion to achieve the targets and demonstrate that every child counts.

We are normally subjected to quite short-term funding and must renew grant agreements on an annual basis. It is hard to deliver meaningful outcomes in this short time frame. Often, we are left reporting against our activities and some basic outputs over a year. With the DIB we were able to secure three years-worth of funding, but even this is not enough in a program that includes innovation and adaptive management, particularly in the education sector.

Read the full interview with Alison Bukhari and Maharshi Vaishnav about Educate Girls by Zachary Slobig at Skoll Foundation.