Challenge Fund Grants 2018
Investing in the future of education.
Here at The Varkey Foundation we believe in the power of new ideas to shape the future of education. But we know that taking a great idea off the drawing board and into the real world doesn’t just take hard work – it takes support. That’s why we created our Challenge Fund.
We believe every child deserves a good teacher. But we also know that the international community isn’t doing enough to make that happen. Global investment in education is falling and many schools around the world lack leaders and qualified teaching staff. Research by The Varkey Foundation has also found that the global status of teachers is very mixed – and few parents would actively encourage their children to join the teaching profession.
To help solve this problem, The Varkey Foundation will partner with other organizations to create a global change in the way teachers are trained, treated and perceived. Through our Challenge Fund, we will support partner organizations who are working on big new ideas for education – and to boost the status of teachers worldwide.
The Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund is aimed at supporting a small number of early-stage initiatives, with individual grants of up to US$50,000 available to help build the capacity of teachers and to strengthen the status of the teaching profession.
Apply for a grant
On the basis of our portfolio and areas of interest, The Varkey Foundation is particularly interested in receiving proposals which address the following:
- The recruitment and retention of teachers
- Influencing public policy and discourse about the teaching profession
- School leadership and management
- Support to teachers and school leaders in Fragile and Conflict States (FCAS) and emergency situations
- Teacher-related challenges
Applications are now closed.
Lead applicants must be registered as charitable, not-for-profit entities.
The Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund Frequently Asked Questions
The Challenge Fund Team is delighted that there has been so much interest in this year’s Challenge Fund. Here are some of the answers to the most common questions we have received so far:
1. Are entries from my country eligible?
Yes. The Challenge Fund has no restrictions on the countries applications must be from in order to be eligible. As long as you are a registered not-for-profit entity your application is welcome.
2. Can we submit an application in a different format to the one provided?
No. If you are unable to download the file, please contact the Grants Inbox (Grants@varkeyfoundation.org) and we will assist you. We are unable to process applications using different templates, such as project brochures or organisational weblinks.
3. Is the proposed project relevant?
Before you send an email asking us to review the relevance of the proposed project, please reflect on whether the project functions to directly support the status and capacity of teachers. If it does not, for instance it is for the design and construction of school wells or the funding of scholarships for Higher Education, then this is not the funding opportunity for you.
4. Does The Varkey Foundation offer top-up funding?
No. This is not something The Varkey Foundation does as part of the Challenge Fund.
5. How can I find out about The Varkey Foundation
Please look through our website, which contains a number of key resources and provides a comprehensive overview of the organisation’s strategic direction and operational aims.
6. Can I re-apply if I was unsuccessful last year?
If you have a question which is not covered above, please get in touch with us at: email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Teach for Uganda, Kampala, Uganda
TFU is a movement of solution-driven leaders working to expand educational opportunities to all children in Uganda. The organisation recruits promising university graduates from varied disciplines who are poised to be our future leaders, to teach in underserved communities and schools in a two-year fellowship. TFU fellows work hand in hand with the communities and schools they are placed to improve the overall communities’ perception of teachers, bring quality talent into the teaching profession, strengthen the capacity and training of existing teachers and act as the support system to the head teachers to strengthen school leadership to ensure children have a conducive environment to learn and thrive. During and after school hours fellows work as guidance coaches, mentors and role models to inspire students to stay and succeed in school. The Challenge Fund will be used to fund the six-week intensive residential training provided to the first class of 30 fellows who will be placed in pairs in 15 underserved schools in Kamira sub-county of Luwero District, central Uganda, impacting an estimated 4,500 students beginning in the 2018 academic year.
The Varkey Foundation are excited to be able to leverage the work of its Uganda Country programme to support TFU.
Zivica, Bratislava, Slovakia
Zivica is a non-profit education organization that inspires to change how leaders think and act. In 2016 Zivika started planning for the establishment of a teacher training space that encourages independent thought, creativity, and seeks to inspire a society which uses critical reflection. The Komensky Institute aims to create an inspirational space for pedagogical leaders of Slovakia. With 20 current participants, Zivika are scaling up the initiative and ensuring its training materials are of the highest, most relevant, quality in order to transform the education system. The Challenge Fund will be used to for both teacher pedagogical training and staff costs at this important time in the organisation’s life.
Zivika has also informally partnered with our 2016 grantee, Pro Svit from the Ukraine, to share ideas and experiences in establishing a teacher training initiative with similar aims and resources. The Varkey Foundation is keen to support strategic partnerships between like-minded organisations, and looks forward to productive and fruitful engagement in the long term.
Invincible Me, London, UK
Invincible Me is a children’s mental health charity, committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of the most vulnerable children by empowering teachers who work with them. Invincible Me’s principal aims are: i) To build capacity by providing every teacher in the UK with a strong grounding in understanding and identifying complex trauma, so they can help the most vulnerable children heal and grow up feeling safe, loved, and able to become productive members of society; ii) To support the teachers who work with the most vulnerable and at risk children, providing them with the skills and confidence to help improve the life chances of the children in their care, as well as to support them with their own psychological and emotional wellbeing. The Challenge Fund will support the design and implementation of continuum of personal and professional development resources that help teachers to work most effectively with the children in their care, including practical techniques and strategies that can be used to manage challenging or concerning behaviour in the classroom; increased skills and ability to support children with complex emotional needs and help build resilience in their pupils; and tools and techniques to manage their own wellbeing and stress levels.
The Varkey Foundation welcome this opportunity to partner with such a promising UK-based venture as it embarks on a new UK Strategy to lead its policy engagement and content development.
Arab Campaign for the Education of All (ACEA), led by Teacher Creativity Center (TCC)
TCC as a leading organization for ACEA is leading introduction of a pilot of a National Teacher’s Prize (NTP) in 15 Arab and East European Countries, with TCC committed to implement the prize in these countries over the coming three years. Building on the national pride and global interest generated by the 2016 Global Teacher Prize Winner Hanan-al-Hroub, the ACEA consortium has formed in order to establish NTPs in 15 states, with a view to establishing a regional prize in the future. The NTP will be used both as a gesture of appreciation and motivation to teachers in the target region as well as an advocacy tool targeting education policy makers on the importance of quality education and promoting status of teachers in the Arab world and East Europe,.
The Varkey Foundation is proud to support TCC in convening of national representatives and key policymakers to drive the establishment of the prize and building of a regional community working towards a common goal.
Center for Innovative Education “Pro.Svit”
Pro.Svit aims to strengthen the potential of educators and educational institutions for the development of human potential in society.
With the Challenge Fund grant, Pro.Svit worked with other Ukrainian organisations to establish the National Teacher Prize, trained over 150 teachers and engaged with the Ministry of Finance to lead teacher training in 24 rural schools as part of the national decentralisation process. Additional stakeholders were engaged to enhance the reach of the programme to reach into 4 additional cities, with alumni of the programme engaged in running workshops in their home communities. As a result of these interventions alternative approaches to teachers’ professional development were formed and Pro.Svit became the first non-state organisations to develop educational programmes based on international practices adapted to national / local needs.
Teach for Ghana
TFG places the most promising university graduates and young professionals from varied disciplines as teachers in underserved, high-need communities through a selective two-year fellowship. This teaching and leadership development program equips Fellows to eﬀect change in teaching practice, and educational outcomes in the communities served. TFG and Fellows work together with these communities for a mutually fulﬁlling experience.
The Challenge Fund grant supported the 2016 Teach for Ghana Training Institute – a contextualized, intensive and immersive 6-week training period. Fellows participated in subject-speciﬁc, classroom management, and leadership development sessions, inter-woven with a 4-week teaching practicum in 4 schools.
Discussions were also held with additional universities with regards to formalising selection processes for Fellows. The first cohort saw 300 applications of which 33 were selected as Fellows, the second year showed an increase of applications to 2,500 making Teach for Ghana one of the most competitive programmes in the country, raising the status of the teaching profession.
Bridging Education and Mobility (BEAM) China
BEAM works to revolutionise rural Chinese education by launching a teacher development network that focuses on problem-based learning practices. In 2017, they aim to grow the network to induct 1,000 teachers per month, improving the learning outcomes of 175 million rural Chinese children. They target motivated but under-resourced teachers, enhancing the capacity of teachers to identify student needs, gather appropriate resources, test new ideas, record feedback, and share with their communities their experiences.
The Challenge Fund Grant is being utilised to:
1. Increase the induction rate of teachers from a rate of 200 teachers per month to a rate of 500 teachers per month
2. Establish a 40% rate at which teachers move from “new inductees” to “co-creators” thus targeting the learning outcomes of rural Chinese children through their WeChat based app.
Jusoor aims to provide Syrian refugee students in Lebanon the best education by training teachers in learned practices and innovative teaching techniques that cater to refugee children’s unique situation.
The Challenge Fund Grant was used to refine Jusoor’s educational model and training materials and organise a regional conference ‘Generation Hope’ in January 2017 for Middle East based NGOs. This was an opportunity to engage around the topic of improving delivery of education to Syrian refugee children in the Middle East, share experiences of teaching within emergency situations, deliver a training programme for educators of Syrian refugee children and network on a global level.