Bridge International Academies Wins US Government Award for Development Impact

TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2015 – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, today awarded Bridge International Academies its 2015 Impact Award for Development Impact. Presented by Matt Bannick, the Managing Partner of the Omidyar Network, the award recognized Bridge International Academies’ innovative approach to bringing accessible quality education to the world’s poor.

Bridge International Academies (Bridge) works to realize the dreams of every child. Academies are purpose built around pupils’ developmental needs with 40 hours of engaging lessons, physical activities, and co-curriculars taught each week by local teachers, which Bridge recruits and trains from each community. Independent testing has found that Bridge pupils learn the equivalent of two years of material in one year, as compared to peers in neighbouring schools.

The key to the Bridge model is its rapid scalability. Bridge owns the full delivery system, including everything from sourcing the land, building schools, providing books and learning tools, to developing daily lesson plans. This has allowed Bridge to keep school fees accessible for those living below the international $2-a-day poverty line.

The speed of growth is dizzying. With over 400 academies, 100,000 pupils, and operations in four countries, Bridge is already the world’s largest provider of nursery and primary schools. Bridge currently serves families in Kenya, Uganda, and soon Nigeria and India, aiming to reach 10,000,000 pupils in the next decade.

In presenting the award, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said: “Bridge applied keen business sense in a high-impact sector, and the results speak for themselves. Bridge’s innovative business model, coupled with financial support from OPIC and other supporters, means that tens of thousands of Kenyan students now enjoy affordable, high-quality education. I’m proud to honor them with this award.”

Accepting the award on behalf of Bridge International Academies, Co-Founder Shannon May said: “This award is recognition of the incredible opportunities that can be created when the American Government has confidence in innovative approaches to international development. Bridge International Academies relies on the support of organizations like OPIC to continue with its mission to democratize the right to succeed for all children.”
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