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Solutions to address learning poverty are continuously being developed and there is an increasing interest from social entrepreneurs, start-ups, and education ventures seeking to support governments in addressing systemic gaps and barriers for education in public schools. However, examples of successful collaboration between governments and innovators are few. We developed the Elimu Soko initiative in 2021 with the ambition of creating a marketplace (Soko) where innovators in education (Elimu) can collaborate with funders and governments.

  • Where
    Kigali, Rwanda
  • Focus area
  • Duration
  • Economy
    DKK 3,25 million
Prime partners: Government of Rwanda, Dalberg Global Development Advisors


The education sector in Rwanda has improved over the last decade, most notably with increased enrolment rates. Despite this commendable progress, there are still challenges to overcome as the country pivots to enhancing the quality of education to improve learning outcomes. Some of the challenges identified are lack of adequate foundational skills and limited teacher capacity

The initiative

To demonstrate good practice in bridging the divide between governments and  innovators, an official agreement was made in the beginning of 2022 between the Government of Rwanda, the Hempel Foundation and Dalberg Advisors to carry out a project that would support the government in testing solutions fit for supporting teacher training at scale. During 2022 the implementation plan was developed to test the solution across 40 schools during 9 months of 2023.

The Elimu-Soko initiative, funded by the Hempel Foundation, connects and support innovators and governments to improve quality schools. Elimu-Soko has a systematic approach that helps solve the key bottlenecks hindering innovators from accessing public schools by

  • Understanding the top priorities and needs of Education Ministries and identify innovators to address those challenges cost-effectively.
  • Act as a broker to help assess the solutions with highest impact.
  • Finance pilot programs and then scale up the proven innovations
  • Share learning with other countries

By the end of the partnership we will have…

  • Undertaken a deep-dive analysis to understand the challenges impeding foundational learning in Rwanda 
  • Identified active and successful innovators that work on foundational learning in the public education system 
  • Provided guidance and recommendations in the selection of innovators to collaborate with the Ministry of Education 
  • Provided guidance and follow up on the implementation of the pilot and designed a program for scaling,  
  • Engaged relevant organizations to support throughout the process, from the implementing partners that will help with the delivery, to the funding partners that will support with resource mobilization for the scaling 
  • Improved access to quality education for up to 200.000 children (target group for pilot) 

In the longer term this partnership will contribute towards…

  • Supported government in Rwanda in removing obstacles to the use of innovations in public education systems.  
  • Provided innovators with a better understanding of government demands, key constraints, and opportunities.  
  • Improved access to quality education for millions of children by scaling innovative solutions