Education investment strategies launched in partnership with the Global Impact Investing Network

By Gabriella Levy,

Education is a critical driver of economic growth and social development, but the challenge of providing effective, equitable and affordable education can be significant in some parts of the world. The emergence of new school models, adoption of new technologies and strengthening of ties with the labor market, however, have the potential to improve the quality of education in lower- and middle-income countries. Impact investors are taking note, with a 33 percent compound annual growth rate in investments in education from 2013 to 2017.

Recently, FHI Ventures led the development of six education-themed investment strategies as part of the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) Navigating Impact Project in collaboration with FHI 360. The strategies were launched in July 2019 and can be found here. The education theme was conducted over seven months and we are excited to announce that the new Education theme the GIIN’s Navigating Impact project is now live! We had a webinar launch on this new theme along with Sustainable Forestry on July 11th 2019 – please feel free to forward to anyone else who might be interested. GIIN champions improvements in the scale and effectiveness of impact investing globally. Through the Navigating Impact Project, GIIN partners with experts and industry leaders to develop and disseminate investment strategies based on different themes and sectors, such as education and affordable housing. Impact investing creates positive social and environmental change, as well as delivers financial returns. creates positive social and environmental change, as well as delivers financial returns.

The education-themed strategies offer an overview of specific education needs, such as improving the quality of teaching and potential investments to address that need. Investments could include technologies to improve teacher-learner interactions, tools and technologies to monitor and evaluate teaching effectiveness, innovative approaches to professional development, and coaching and mentoring for educators.

To develop the strategies, FHI Ventures and FHI 360 convened education specialists and impact investing professionals to examine the evidence base for major needs and to identify best practices, research and recommended metrics to measure potential impact. The team aligned the strategies with the education Sustainable Development Goals, using feedback from more than 40 investors and recent research from leading international education bodies, including the Inter-Agency Network on Education in Emergencies, Education in Crisis and Conflict Network, Global Partnership for Education, International Education Funders Group, World Bank and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Each strategy outlines potential risks and mitigation approaches and shows investors how to frame their objectives and track their progress. The strategies include evidence maps, metrics, selected resources and examples of investments that have shown promise to date. They also emphasize the need to understand local contexts to work within the varying needs and challenges across geographic areas and cultures.

In the few months since they launched, the strategies have been widely viewed. They are available on IRIS+, a system managed by GINN that is used by investors to guide decision-making and measure, manage and optimize impact. GIIN, FHI Ventures and FHI 360 expect new investments in education to emerge as a result of these strategies and associated consultations in the coming months.

New cohort launch

By Gabriella Levy,

FHI Ventures inducted its first cohort of five early-stage social enterprises into its accelerator program in May 2018. Thanks to the unique mix of capital support, customized training, and access to expertise and new markets that they received through program, members of the 2018 cohort have experienced measurable business growth, collectively raised an additional $2.2M in investment capital and forged ongoing partnerships with FHI 360 staff and projects.

Following on the heels of this success, we are pleased to share the four companies selected to make up the 2019 cohort. They are:

  • Access Afya: Provider of primary healthcare services delivering affordable, effective health access in Kenya
  • Folia Water: Creator of inexpensive, disposable filters with potential to provide safe drinking water to billions for less than a dollar a day
  • Little Sparrows Technologies: Inventor of the first high-intensity, portable, power-adaptable phototherapy device for treating infant jaundice
  • THINKMD: Developer of clinical intelligence software for mobile technology designed to expand global access to quality healthcare

The companies selected to be part of the 2019 cohort participated in a rigorous application process and were evaluated by the FHI Ventures Investment Committee, whose members include Deputy Chief Operating Officer Laura Kayser and Asia Pacific Regional Director Jackie McPherson, on a number of investment criteria. These include an emphasis on woman-and minority-run businesses, alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and a focus on geographies and sectors served by FHI 360.

You can learn more about FHI Ventures and the 2019 cohort by visiting and reading the external announcement (LINK).