There are 193 impact bonds across the world. Evidence is building that outcomes contracts deliver measurable impact.
New education outcomes initiatives are due to launch in 2020 that will address employment skills, computing skills, and math matriculation for school leavers, as well as improving provision and standards of early childhood education in South America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Educate Girls launched the first Development Impact Bond in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district in September 2015. Rajasthan has particularly acute educational challenges. 1 in 10 girls ages 11-14 in the state are not enrolled in school, and less than a quarter of rural children in Grade 3 can read a Grade 2-level paragraph or solve a subtraction problem.
The program was measured against two outcomes: learning gains of boys and girls in grades 3-5 and enrollment of out-of-school girls.
Results at the end of the three-year program showed impressive results:
116% of the final enrollment target achieved
160% of the final learning target achieved
In the final year, learning levels for students in program schools grew 79% more than their peers in other schools – almost the difference of an entire additional year of instruction.
The success of the program led to Educate Girls being named the first “Audacious Project” recipient in Asia. Using funding from the project – a massive philanthropic effort launched by TED – Educate Girls will expand to 35,000 villages across India, working to enroll the 1.6 million girls who are currently out of school.
Colombia Youth Employment Initiative
The unemployment rate in Colombia remains high at 9% and is even higher among vulnerable populations, such as young people and women, who are more likely to work in Colombia’s large informal sector. The armed conflict in Colombia has exacerbated labor market inequalities.
The first Colombian Social Impact Bond was launched in 2017 in Bogotá, Cali, and Pereira to provide sustained employment for vulnerable youth and in particular individuals internally displaced because of armed conflict. Results released after two years of implementation showed that:
899 people were placed in formal jobs (117% of 766 expected outcome beneficiaries)
677 people were retained in their jobs for three months (88% of 766 expected outcome beneficiaries)
309 people were retained in their jobs for six months (60% of 514 expected outcome beneficiaries)
Quality Education in India
The US $11 million Quality Education India Development Impact Bond has reported a 30% increase in the number of children achieving its benchmark learning outcomes in its first year of activity. The four-year program aims to improve numeracy and literacy outcomes for children aged 5-11 across 600 schools in Delhi and Gujarat.
It is funding the delivery of teaching enhancement programs to 600 schools, reaching more than 100,000 students aged 5–11. Based on an independent evaluation of more than 12,000 students, the program has resulted in almost a third more students achieving basic literacy and numeracy skills, and 40% of the target schools demonstrating significantly higher improvements in proficiency.
Uzbekistan Early Childhood Education Social Impact Bond
The World Bank recently launched the selection process for an Impact Bond to increase access to and improve the quality of early childhood education in preschools for children aged 3-7 across Uzbekistan.
The $4.85 million grant provided by the Global Partnership for Results-Based Approaches (GPRBA) is complemented by and is a component of the World Bank’s Promoting Early Childhood Development Project financed through a $59.5 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), with an additional grant of $9.5 million from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
The project aims to increase enrollment to at least 40% of children aged 3-7 in local preschools. Currently, only 29% of preschool-aged children are enrolled in school.