On 8th February 2020, Mathieu Fourn, EduFinance Technical Assistance Facility (ETAF) Manager for Implementation, represented the organisation at the Oxford Forum for International Development (OxFID) ‘Beyond Pledges: Delivering Change in an Inclusive world’ Conference. The conference brought together a diverse range of stakeholders to engage in discussion and collaboration to pursue more impactful solutions to global problems. Mathieu presented as a panellist during ‘Fragile States: Public- private sector partnerships as a global solution’ alongside Aashti Zaidi Hai (Founding Director of Global Schools Forum), Emma Wagner (Senior advisor at Save the Children UK), Susannah Hares (Global Education Director at Center for Global Development) and Tony Baker (Associate Director for Global Education at RESULTS).
Mathieu engages with Opportunity EduFinance’s microfinance institution (MFI) partners from across Africa, Latin America and Asia to help develop, launch, and improve the impact and sustainability of education finance products and services. During the session he explained our approach to sustainably increase access to quality education in fragile states by driving innovative capital solutions rather than simply injecting capital into the education sector. We take a dual approach through our ETAF products and services and EduQuality program. Read more about EduQuality here.
Mathieu explained how can we introduce capital into the education sector in an innovative way through following two key aspects of the ETAF approach:
- We identify and partner with socially-focussed financial institutions to effectively target those at the lower-end of the market for affordable private schools. Additional to our Market Research, we carry out due diligence and detailed assessments of potential partners to ensure mission alignment. We then work alongside the financial institutions to help target the lower end of the market. Most clients are in fragile or low-income states, with average school fees at US$8 per month.
- We take an ecosystem-approach to support the affordable private school sector. Through our partnerships with socially focused financial institutions, we support affordable privateschools to grow and develop their activities through tailored School Improvement Loans for infrastructure improvements and working capital as well as supporting parents through School Fee Loans to ensure they can keep their children in school when income is often seasonal or lumpy. Besides schools and parents, since teachers are central to school success, teacher loans help ensure retention. Supporting each segment of the private education sector financially as well as substantively through our broader programme activities creates a virtuous circle.
Outside of their financial needs, our EduQuality program supports school professional development through leadership, management and pedagogy training as well as teaching tools provided by our Education Specialists, delivered through focal School Clusters.
Answering questions from the floor, Mathieu explained how we are now entering the tertiary and vocational education loan sector to support young people enter higher education and apprenticeships in order to facilitate entrance into job markets.
EduFinance is committed to sharing our own learnings as well as learning from others within the microfinance sector in order to advance our collective goal of increasing financial inclusion for social impact. When we collaborate with and learn from others, we create synergies that everyone involved can benefit from. We hope to build the effectiveness of our business model for greater impact.