Learnings from Sattva’s participation at the EVPA Conference 2022

Sattva team at the EVPA Conference 2022
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Daniel Rostrup

Last week, Sattva participated in the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) Annual Conference, one of the most influential gatherings in Europe for those investing for impact.

I had the opportunity to attend the session, along with over 700 social sector funders gathered in Brussels, and our Sattva team, including Rathish Balakrishnan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner Sattva Consulting, and Prateek Jain, Europe Lead. 

This year we hosted an interactive workshop moderated by Rathish alongside a global panel on Scaling EdTech for All. Experts at the workshop panel included Donika Dimovska from Jacobs Foundation, Thierry de Vulpillières from EvidenceB and Koumba Diallo Anouma, EMBA from Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P).

Rathish also was in conversation with Roberta Bosurgi, CEO – EVPA, on the main stage, where they discussed how digital public goods could enable impact at scale.

Our workshop presented a unique opportunity for our experts to explore how the impact of EdTech can be scaled to bridge the education divide, both in the Global South and North. Through the session, we explored barriers and opportunities from diverse points of view. Key discussion points included:

  • The importance of evidence to truly drive educational outcomes in EdTech (Jacobs Foundation, Switzerland)
  • The role of last mile engagement when investing directly into African EdTech ventures (I&P, Ivory Coast)
  • Product innovation from an EdTech provider (EvidenceB, France)
  • How collaborative action can scale EdTech (Sattva, India)

Participants also worked in small groups to explore how EdTech might be enhanced to drive scale. Some pointers that could lead to this improvement that emerged were:  

  • Improving the EdTech product
  • Improving evidence and data
  • Improving the equipment (phones, tablets, etc.)
  • Improving last-mile engagement to ensure disadvantaged populations are not left behind

Here are our top takeaways from the session:

  1. An EdTech “curriculum agnostic” product makes it easier to scale across geographies.
  2. Blended learning models are fundamental to improving learning outcomes in underserved communities.
  3. Investing in equipment that enables EdTech (i.e. tablets, phones, electricity, etc.) is crucial to driving adoption in last-mile communities.
  4. Access to EdTech is not equally distributed, particularly in the Global South. Therefore, it is essential to consider aspects such as gender, cultural norms, and urban versus rural in the context of EdTech programs.
  5. Although the potential for EdTech is vast, we have seen mixed results from the pandemic. Solely focusing on learning outcomes during this time, many argue that it actually failed.
  6. The impact of EdTech can only be fully realised if we demand a scientific and evidence-based approach from both EdTech investors and providers.
  7. Research and evidence must be part of product design from the start.
  8. In rural India, girls who do not achieve a certain level of education are much more likely to get married instead of going on to secure a job. EdTech has been particularly effective in enabling out-of-school girls to attain that level of education without having to leave their homes.
  9. One size doesn’t fit all! Funding instruments need to adapt depending on the maturity of the market.
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