An innovative financial tool aimed at increasing the number of girls in school in India and improving education has exceeded its targets, triggering a large payout, UBS Optimus Foundation said yesterday.
The world’s first-ever Development Impact Bond (DIB) in education saw the foundation, which was established in 1999 by the Swiss investment bank UBS, provide US$270,000 to fund an initiative by the Indian charity Educate Girls.
The results mean that the foundation is to recoup its funding and make a 52 percent profit from the outcome payer, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, a charity created by former hedge fund manager Chris Hohn and his wife, Jamie Cooper.
Foundation chief executive officer Phyllis Costanza said she hopes the pilot project’s success would encourage more investments using the new financial mechanism, which she said has advantages over traditional forms of aid.
“We have no idea what percentage of aid funding is actually impactful. We saw an opportunity to increase transparency about that and we think that is critical,” she said.
Payments depended on meeting pre-agreed targets for enrolling girls in schools and mentoring students over three years.
Educate Girls enrolled 768 girls between ages seven and 14 in 141 villages in the northern state of Rajasthan, and offered supplementary learning to 7,318 children at 166 schools.
After three years, learning levels in literacy and math were 60 percent better than children who did not have support from Educate Girls.
Educate Girls founder Safeena Husain said that the payment-by-results model, as well as the bond’s time frame, gave her organization the freedom to innovate, which included developing a specialized curriculum.
“We get a lot of funding which is one year or two year, which is not necessarily conducive to pushing the impact that we have been able to do in the bond,” Husain said. “The bond gives us a level of credibility with our results to attract newer forms of funding.”
Nearly 1 million girls in India do not attend school, according to the World Bank.
Educate Girls finds them through door-to-door surveys and organizes community meetings in villages, often using elders to convince people of the merits of educating their daughters.
Globally, about 132 million girls aged six to 17 do not attend school, while fewer than two-thirds of those in low-income nations finish the primary level, and only one-third complete lower secondary school, the World Bank said.
The foundation said the DIB pilot was intended to be a “proof of concept,” using a relatively small selection of beneficiaries to test its feasibility.
It said it would use part of the return on its investment to fund some of its other programs, while the rest would go to Educate Girls as a bonus payment.
Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported higher neutralizing antibody levels in people who were given its COVID-19 vaccine as a booster after two AstraZeneca doses, the company said. In a trial of 200 participants who received Medigen’s COVID-19 vaccine, neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 grew by 5.7 times one month after being administered, Taoyuan General Hospital said. Medigen said that the results have been submitted to medRxiv, an online platform for researchers to share complete but unpublished papers. Another trial conducted by National Taiwan University Hospital showed that among 45 participants who received three doses of the Medigen vaccine,
BEATING EXPECTATIONS: With electric vehicles and the metaverse on the horizon, the company predicts a solid first quarter as customers stockpile inventories Key iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) could achieve an “unprecedented” performance in the first quarter, chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said. “Our performance in the first quarter might surpass how we fared in the past few years, and it is likely that some staff at key sites might only get two days off during the Lunar New Year holiday,” Liu said in prepared remarks for the company’s annual workers’ party yesterday. Manufacturers around the world are racing to build up inventory out of fear that outbreaks of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 and other uncertainties could further disrupt their supply
The US Department of Commerce on Tuesday said that a global survey of semiconductor chip producers and users shows a shortage will persist, sparked primarily by wafer production capacity constraints. The voluntary survey of 150 companies last fall in the supply chain confirmed “there is a significant, persistent mismatch in supply and demand for chips, and respondents did not see the problem going away in the next six months.” US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo told reporters that the department “in a few instances didn’t really get what we needed and we’re going to go company by company and do personal engagement
EV ‘ECOSYSTEM’: The firms have agreed to work with the Indonesian government and others in creating infrastructure for the country’s growing EV market Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) yesterday made a major step toward a foothold in the world’s electric vehicle (EV) market by signing partnership agreements with the Indonesian government and local energy and battery companies, in which local EV supplier Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) would also take part. Hon Hai, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing company, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian Ministry of Investment, battery maker PT Industri Baterai Indonesia, PT Indika Energy and Gogoro to build a sustainable energy ecosystem in Indonesia, a joint statement said. The government-level deal came after Hon Hai last year unveiled its first EV