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Imagine Worldwide

A Young Organization Driven by an Ambitious Vision

In 2016, blended learning advocate Joe Wolf wondered: “Has technology evolved to the point where we can teach children to read and do math on their own without a formal teacher or school? Could that innovation allow us to leapfrog school infrastructure and serve the millions of kids that do not have access to high quality education?” Joe and Susan Colby imagined what would be possible for children if that were true. The possibilities were limitless – and from that expansive vision, Imagine Worldwide was born.

January 2017

Imagine is founded with The Learning Accelerator (TLA) acting as a fiduciary organization.

February 2017

With seed money from angel investors, we get the work underway.

March 2017

The decision to work in Malawi, where the needs of children are profound, began with a meeting with onebillion in March 2017. Over the next several months, we built relationships with and formally established partnerships with onebillion, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), and the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. It helped that onebillion’s software was in Chichewa!

May 2017

After many months of working together, Imagine was honored to become an Impact Partner of the Global Learning XPRIZE.

September 2017

Imagine receives its 501(c)3 status.

May 2018

The Omidyar Network, Valhalla Charitable Foundation, and other generous funders join in as investors to build the organization and deliver the portfolio of work on the ground.

October 2018

Launch our first long-term randomized control trial in two schools in Lilongwe, Malawi in partnership with onebillion, the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, and Voluntary Services Overseas.

April 2019

Begin working with Enuma, developer of Kitkit School in preparation for pilots on the ground.

April 2019

Launch two studies in Dzaleka Refugee Settlement in partnership with Integrity Church, onebillion, takenoLAB, the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, Voluntary Services Overseas, Jesuit Worldwide Learning, Southern New Hampshire University, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

May 2019

Establish a partnership with the International Rescue Committee and Enuma (KitKit School) in preparation for a pilot launch in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh for Rohingya children in fall 2019.

May 2019

XPRIZE announces the co-winners of the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE: onebillion and Kitkit School (developed by Enuma).

June 2019

The Imagine Worldwide Board arrives in Lilongwe to visit sites and meet with our partners.

October 2019

Imagine launches a two-year RCT in Malawi with an expanded onebillion curriculum.

November 2019

Launch a short-term study in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh for Rohingya children in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, Enuma (KitKit School) and War Child (Can’t Wait to Learn).

January 2020

Publish encouraging findings from our first 8-month RCT in the Malawi public schools, link here.

Spring 2020

COVID-19 spreads globally and disrupts education for 1 billion children worldwide. The importance of tablet-based learning is more important than ever.

August 2020

September 2020

To help children whose education was disrupted by COVID-19, the Malawian Ministry of Education, onebillion, and VSO collaborate to offer 700 tablets to households in Lilongwe, Malawi, to make high-quality digital home-learning possible.

December 2020

As the disruptions from COVID-19 spread, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and onebillion, with assistance from Imagine, begin delivering an at-home learning solution to children in Tanzania.

March 2021

In partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), onebillion, and Enuma, Imagine begins serving children through a center-based supplemental learning program in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. Imagine also launches work in Sierra Leone, in partnership with Rising Academies.

April 2021

Imagine begins a study of a home-based pilot, the first use of onebillion’s onetab in the U.S. in response to school closures from COVID.

June 2021

Imagine launches a 5-month RCT of Enuma’s Kitkit School literacy curriculum in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi.

September 2021

Imagine Worldwide begins working in Ghana, in partnership with Afrikids, in preparation for our applications to serve children at scale through the Education Outcomes Fund. Imagine launches a mixed-methods study in Malawi focused on understanding non-progress in reading.

October 2021

Imagine is awarded two bids through the USDA / McGovern Dole Food for Education program to work in Burkina Faso (in partnership with Catholic Relief Services) and Senegal (in partnership with Counterpart International).

April 2022

Imagine begins serving children through two government-run primary schools in Burkino Faso, providing tablet-based instruction to children in grades 1-3 in Pissila and Tibtenga.

May 2022

Imagine publishes research revealing positive impacts from using onebillion’s onecourse software in Malawi despite repeated disruptions to schooling. The 2-year efficacy randomized controlled trial found statistically significant impacts in literacy and math.

June 2022

UBS selects Imagine Worldwide co-founders Susan Colby and Joe Wolf as Global Visionaries. The program highlights entrepreneurs who are finding innovative solutions to societal issues, across diverse realms such as health, education, equality, and the environment.

September 2022

At the UN Transforming Education Summit, the Government of Malawi announces a groundbreaking, national expansion of the digital learning program that Imagine and its partners have been piloting in Malawi. At full scale, the program will serve all 6,000 public primary schools in Malawi, utilizing existing government resources and aligned with the national curriculum.

March 2023

Imagine works with RTI International to release valid and reliable digital versions of the Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Assessments (EGRA and EGMA) in multiple languages. These e-assessments are open-source and free for others in the field to use.

September 2023

Year 1 of Malawi’s national expansion of the tablet program, called Building Education Foundations through Innovation and Technology (BEFIT), launches in 500 schools, serving 300,000 learners. The program will reach an additional 500 schools in Year 2 and will serve 3.8 million primary school students per year at scale.

February 2024

Imagine Worldwide signs a formal Service Level Agreement with the Ministry of Education in Sierra Leone to serve 60,000 students across 300 schools by the end of 2026.