Butterfly Effect

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Butterfly Effect: Personalising education

Accra, GhanaAccra, Ghana
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Butterfly Effect is a curriculum design start-up which provides tailored educational experiences that encourage students to explore the world around them, discover their interests passions and personal visions, and use these to launch change initiatives in their community.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if there was a cohort of think-out-the-box trend setters who had the sense of self, skills and spark to shape their life outcomes and Gha
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In between Ghana today and Ghana tomorrow is a lot of untapped potential not just in the country but in its children. The challenge is to create a generation of students empowered to create the realities they want for themselves and their country. Millions of Ghanaian kids, many of whom are underprivileged are enrolled in an education system that is not actively equipping them with sense of self and skills to move from poverty to prosperity.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We seek to tailor the individual’s educational experience to suit their interests and passions. First, we expose students to a variety of ideas, people, crafts. We use this as a platform for them to think about what things they are interested in or passionate about. Secondly,we take them through a process of invention where they use their interests and passions as a tool to invent opportunities or address needs in their school and surrounding neighborhood. Thirdly we guide them as they implement these initiatives over the course of the academic year helping along the way with various skills sessions to help them implement more successfully.The whole experience compensates for the inadequacy of the traditional education system.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Meet 14 year old Gideon. "I don't think I have any abilities or skills to solve this problem." His words at the start of Butterfly Effect. He then went through our 3 stage summer launchpad. In the first stage, he was exposed to a variety of interests and decided for himself that he had artistic and inventive abilities. In the second stage, he identified the problem of poor waste management in his school and resolved to try and solve it. He brainstormed ideas with his teammates and together they decided to construct dustbins that look like basketball hoops to engage the students to be responsible. Meet Gideon now, he has come to realize he is a creative butterfly, who has the ability to create ripple effects in his life and his community.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2 years 60 youth aged 13-16 from an underfunded public school have been reached. 100% of all who have been reached have implemented ideas that are benefiting others. They have self-designed a library for their school who hitherto, lacked such a facility. Currently, the recent participants are working to promote students love for reading and writing by launching a magazine club for students and by students as well as a reading clinic. Others are encouraging cleanliness amongst students by offering workshops that teach how to be neat and running a competitive system where points would be awarded to competing groups according to how neat and clean they were. A few others have formed an educational song and dance group to promote good hygiene practices amongst school children. The rest have established a cultural club that will promote Ghanaian culture through musical theatre.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Let us imagine communities being transformed from the inside out. Ones in which youth come out of their cocoons of doubting their abilities and find their wings to realize they do have the power to change their world. In Ghana we plan to take one community after another and work with local public and private schools,implementing the Butterfly Effect curriculum as a supplement to the existing educational curriculum. Until Butterfly Effect is recognized as an official supplemental educational curriculum for all schools in Ghana, to serve as the bridge between rote learning and the real world.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Currently we are reliant on donor funds and fellowships. However, in the near future we aim to start generating our own wealth by creating community wealth. To do this, we plan to sell the curricula to private schools in communities. For each financially endowed private school that pays, they will be creating the opportunity for public schools in that same area who cannot afford it to also implement the curriculum

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Emerge Leadership Ghana is also trying to instill entrepreneurial skills in Ghanaian youth but as opposed to directing their project to schools they are directing it to individuals. We at Butterfly Effect uphold what we call Shared Strengths. We believe that for a problem as significant as lack of quality education, it is more important to collaborate. Hence we have taken first steps to do this by providing scholarships for 2 of our participants to attend the Emerge Leadership program to be instilled with valuable skills and life long lessons that increase their ability to make a difference

Founding Story

My partner and I both went to schools with a heavy focus on leadership and self development. We were passionate about Ghana, educated in Ghana and the UK and thus had wide exposure and we decided that we were interested in education and thus wanted to do something in that field. So we got talking to some kids in the local neighbourhood and through that we realised they seemed bound mentally and physically by their circumstance. That kind of mentality was in direct contrast to what we had and we didn’t think that the opportunities we sought out and invented for ourselves should only be open to the most fortunate in society. We decided if most children in Ghana felt empowered we would be in a much better place.
About You
About You
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About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

Ghana, Accra

Country where this project is creating social impact

Ghana, Accra

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Foundations.

Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?

Clark University LEEP Fellowship
St. Andrews University Idea Competition

Tell us about your partnerships

Ga Central Education Office of Ghana Education Service- This Office serves the Ga central district, a suburb of Accra, Ghana and is responsible for the , supervision and monitoring of public schools in that district. We chose to partner with them because:
1. They provide a gateway for us to begin implementing the curriculum in schools in that community in a proper and law abiding way. We obtained the permission needed to work with all the schools in that district.
2. Since they are in charge of the education for that particular district we are provided with an insiders perspective that sheds light on the real educational issues. This allows us to further understand the educational scene from a grass root approach as opposed to an outsider's perspective.
3. We are able to ensure our curriculum is really a supplement to their current educational curriculum, filling in the gaps and adding extra benefits to what already exists.

We have created and are continuing to create a Butterfly Effect network. These are people or organizations whose values resonate with those of our organization. And thus volunteer to give talks, offer mentorship to our students or teach a workshop. Some of our partners in this network are Accra theatre workshop and Adesua y3

We also partner with Emerge leadership in Ghana who sponsor some of our students for their frequent leadership camps.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

A major challenge is the careful supervision of students as they implement their initiatives. My partner and I both study abroad and go to Ghana as frequently as we can to make sure thing s are running as they should. However lack of supervision may mean that students initiatives are not implemented as best as possible. To overcome this, we have employed a field coordinator who ensures that students are adhering to the accountability measures that we have also set in place. She also carries out an evaluation at the end of the semester of each initiative. We have also sought to use the teachers of each school as coaches or supervisors of individual groups of students but they are limited in their commitment. So we are currently in the process if recruiting one team for now who will go round each of our user schools weekly when the students are working on their initiatives to make sure that they are maximising the opportunity.

Based on our research, the government are unlikely to pay for this extra curriculum regardless of how beneficial it is. However it costs money to carry it out in each school and with plans to recruit a team, these costs are going to increase. Currently we are donor funded but this is not necessarily a sustainable source of income. Once we are more confident with our curriculum, we intend to sell it to private schools who can afford it. We are adopting a one for one pricing strategy whereby buying it for your school will enable it to be carried out in a private school near you.

How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?

This idea gives students the opportunity to explore talents and interests which could lead to a fulfilling career in non-conventional fields which are usually discouraged in our culture.eg.Art

Our hands on approach in addition to the skills and experiences we provide our students allows them not just to compete in the job market with those who are more well off and better connected, but also allows them to stand out.

The whole structure of the curriculum allows for intense self discovery and self development. This in addition to the success they will have in transforming their communities will give them the confidence, mindset and drive they will need to create their own realities.

Target Age Group(s): What age group(s) do(es) your solution target through it's programming?


Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution

Education - Extracurricular, Entrepreneurship, Training/Skill Development, Community.

Do you have separate programs or initiatives that target the following types of populations?

Impact - Reach: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

0 to 500

Number of People Directly Employed by Your Organization

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers

Fewer than 10

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Put Young People in Charge: provide the experiences and skills needed to be resilient, creative, and take action

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Education isn't preparing young people for the evolving job market