A UBS Optimus Foundation backed development impact bond (DIB) in education achieved 116 percent of its enrolment target and 160 percent of its learning target in its final year.
This DIB allowed Indian non-governmental organisation (NGO) Educate Girls to exceed targets in the three year programme, with the results showing that 92 percent of all out-of-school girls identified in the programme’s area, Indian state, Rajasthan, were enrolled in school, the Swiss bank said.
It claimed that the difference in learning gains between Educate Girls students and others quadrupled compared to year one, despite students' progress on learning still lagging behind after the first two years.
The DIB’s aim was to test its feasibility and improve education for around 7,300 children, across 166 schools and 140 villages. It measured progress against agreed targets for the number of out-of-school girls enrolled into primary and upper primary schools, and the progress of pupils in English, Hindi and maths.
UBS Optimus Foundation provided $270,000 upfront working capital to the project. This was regained, with an extra 15 percent return from the outcome payer, Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). Educate Girls will receive part of the return as a bonus payment, while UBS Optimus Foundation will us the rest for other programmes.
Educate Girls tailored its approach using a performance-management system, while IDinsight, a non-profit evaluation firm, compared results to those of similar schools in the control group, enabling course corrections. Instiglio, a non-profit results-based financing advisory organisation, was also involved as the technical advisor in the design.
Phyllis Costanza, chief executive of UBS Optimus Foundation, said: "We must challenge, innovate and create if we are to truly reframe the future for thousands of girls across India. It [the DIB] is proving an increasingly attractive approach as people recognize the DIB's ability to secure new and much needed funding and deliver significant and sustainable social returns."
Safeena Husain, executive director of Educate Girls, added: "The funding enabled us to innovate and apply tailored solutions to enrol the hardest to reach girls in school and significantly improve the learning levels of a large number of marginalized first-generation learners. The final results are a testimony to our efforts and give us the confidence that Educate Girls can deliver quality at scale and value to every single child in the program."
Following the project’s success, UBS Optimus Foundation is working on a new education DIB, which will be announced later this year.
Established in 2007, Educate Girls’ focus is on mobilising communities and leveraging government's investment for improving girls’ education in India.
UBS Optimus Foundation is the charitable arm of UBS which aims to create positive social change.