The number of forcibly displaced people is at an all time high

According to the World Bank’s Global Delivery Initiative (2015), ‘A case study is not just another “story” but an important method of applied and empirical research.’ Case studies can provide a clearer understanding of the sequence of events and balance the perspectives of key actors, helping us untangle cause and effect.’ Documenting good practices creates a record of what actions took place, when, and how they led to a positive outcome and can contribute to the process of learning within a group, organisation, geographical area or sector. Case studies of good practice are used:

  • To provide an opportunity to systematically record and share the good practice concerned within and between countries and regions, especially practices which are ‘lesser known’ among practitioners;
  • To demonstrate the diverse ways that organisations/actors are addressing a particular problem;
  • To enhance understanding of what works, and encourage adaptation of good practices to other local contexts, and by other organisations, by influencing policy-makers and practitioners. By identifying promising practices in refugee education and producing and promoting case studies we want to make more people aware of good work in the field; demonstrate the diverse ways in which organisations and individuals are responding to the challenge of education for refugees; and enhance understanding of what works both in individual projects and across them; and use the individual experiences and insights gained from them to inform policy and financing. 
Share this image with:  Their world turned upside down, education helps refugees create new lives. Submit your #promisingpractices

Share this image with: Their world turned upside down, education helps refugees create new lives. Submit your #promisingpractices

Promoting innovation and change

To effectively leverage innovations, it is critical to identify those which hold potential, test them in a specific context and, depending on the results, adapt and scale them to other contexts. Ultimately, this scaling up process renders new evidence of an innovation’s ability to be mainstreamed. Innovations or as we call them promising practices exist at different stages of maturity. According to the Open Book of Social Innovation there are six stages in social innovation that take ideas from inception to impact. These are not necessarily linear, as innovations can jump straight into latter stages and feedback loops lead back to earlier stages. The six stages are:

  1. Prompts, inspirations and diagnoses – This includes all factors that highlight the problem and the need for innovation. The problem should be identified and analysed so that, where possible, root causes can be addressed by the innovation rather than addressing symptoms.
  2. Proposals and ideas – At this stage ideas are generated for tackling the problem.
  3. Prototyping and pilots – Here ideas are put into practice for the first time. This can range from simple testing of ideas to fullyfledged randomised control trials. Experimentation and trial and error can be a core method for refining the proposed solution. Measures of success should be established. This is also an opportunity to build social capital around the innovation through linking to social economy.
  4. Sustaining – This stage includes the streamlining of the idea and the identification of income streams to ensure future sustainability of the project or organisation.
  5. Scaling and diffusion – This involves various strategies ranging from organisational growth, franchising and open source spread of an idea through emulation and inspiration.
  6. Systemic change – This is the ultimate goal of social innovation and involves the interaction of many components, including but not limited to social movements, legal frameworks, infrastructure and data. Social innovations may often face barriers from the ‘old order’.

The Promising Practices initiative aims to source projects that are at stages 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this model.

In order to ensure that projects and practices in the prototyping and design stage are included in our compilation we will be assessing early stage projects on the strength of their idea or approach and not on the basis of proven effectiveness.

If you’re in doubt about where your project might be based, please contact us and we can talk it through, as we’d also like to know about proposals and ideas which are yet to be implemented, though they are unlikely to lend themselves to documentation as a case study.



3. Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J., and Mulgan, G. (2010) The Open Book of Social Innovation. Nesta and The Young Foundation.

Photo credits:

Somali refugee children walk home with their new text books from Bulsho Child Friendly Centre in Ethiopia. © Jonathan Hyams | Save the Children

Refugee children from Africa play on a jungle gym at the St. Andrew Refugee Services center in Cairo, Egypt. © UNHCR