Learning Minds

2022 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes – VVOB

VVOB’s suustainable education improvement programs across Africa recognized among top 10 finalists for CHF 600,000 ($614,000) Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022

  • Brussels-headquartered VVOB, which partners with education actors in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Cambodia, Ecuador, Vietnam, and Belgium, recognized for improving the quality of learning
  • Three Best Practice Prize recipients will be awarded CHF 200,000 each and announced on 30 September at a ceremony taking place in Zurich
  • All 10 finalists will convene for a co-creation event on 1 October, and are also eligible for follow-on funding of up to CHF 150,000

VVOB – education for development has been named a top 10 finalist for the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022, a set of three awards each worth CHF 200,000 ($208,000) that honor outstanding achievement and practice in advancing quality education.

The non-profit operates in Cambodia, Ecuador, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia and Belgium, with its headquarters in Brussels, working on sustainably improving the quality of education.

The three recipients of this year’s Best Practice Prizes will be announced at a ceremony in Zurich on 30 September 2022. For the first time, the 10 finalists will convene for a co-creation event, taking place on 1 October 2022. They will exchange knowledge and ideas on advancing learning, and will have the opportunity to partner with other shortlisted applicants to develop proposals for new projects. Two concepts will receive follow-on funding of up to CHF 150,000 ($156,000) each.
Awarded every other year, the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes recognize non-profits, businesses, and social ventures that are bringing forth innovative solutions to some of education’s biggest challenges.

Fabio Segura and Simon Sommer, co-CEOs of the Jacobs Foundation, said:

“We want to warmly congratulate VVOB on becoming a top 10 finalist for the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022. These prizes were created to showcase the groundbreaking work that businesses, social ventures, and non-profits all around the world are doing to ensure children have access to quality education. There is not a moment to lose. By bringing to light the evidence of what works we can use it to implement solutions that can be tailored to learners’ diverse individual needs.

“In the age of COVID, it is also important to share ideas and evidence of what works on the ground to help shift policy, particularly as education systems adapt to a new and unfamiliar terrain. That is why we are launching this new follow-on collaboration funding of up to CHF 150,000. We look forward to bringing together all 10 Best Practice Prize finalists for our co-creation event, and we can’t wait to see what inspiring concepts they come up with together.”

Katelin Raw, Global Communications Lead at VVOB, said:

“We are so thrilled to be recognized as a top 10 finalist for this prestigious award, particularly as it is based on such rigorous criteria. We would like to thank the Jacobs Foundation for shining a light on the important work that organizations around the world are doing to advance education, and we look forward to exchanging ideas with all the amazing 2022 Best Practice Prize finalists.

“We hope to use this incredible platform to share our learnings, and support even more teachers and school leaders across Africa and around the world, ensuring children everywhere can access the quality education that is their birthright.”


VVOB engages in long-term partnerships with national governments, working closely with structures in charge of supporting the professional development of teachers and school leaders. Country agreements allow VVOB to closely support the ministries of education with technical assistance to achieve their objectives and sustain them over time. Strategic partnerships also strengthen VVOB’s evidence base as it refines program interventions. Additionally, VVOB identifies the most promising innovations for teachers’ professional development and school leadership development and brings those to scale. Multidisciplinary VVOB teams support the professionalization of teachers and school leaders by strengthening institutions responsible for their professional development and guidance. VVOB’s work centers on education policies in the respective partner countries, existing good practices, lessons learned, and evidence. To systematize scaling, VVOB collaborated with other education organizations to create a publicly accessible knowledge product, the ‘Education Scalability Checklist’ – which is used across VVOB programs to inform the scaling process, program design and adaptations.

VVOB has been a pioneer in promoting effective school leadership in education systems, for example, supporting the establishment of a School Leadership and Management Unit at the Rwanda Basic Education Board, and elaborating national standards for effective school leadership, and the professional development of more than 3,000 school leaders. Building on this work and to bring the successes to regional scale, VVOB is now closely collaborating with the Government of Rwanda to establish an African Center for School Leadership to promote effective school leadership in the African region. School-based teacher and school leader professional development is one of the strategies that has proved highly effective, with VVOB successfully using this model in South Africa (reaching 58,288 teachers and school leaders) Uganda (reaching 900 teachers) and Vietnam (reaching 3,981 teachers and school leaders).

If VVOB is named a recipient of one of the Best Practice Prizes, it plans to invest the winning funds in in the African Center for School Leadership, one of the three ‘flagships’ in its Learning Unlimited strategy to support governments and their partners across the continent in school leadership initiatives, starting with Ghana and Kenya.

Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes

Applications for the Best Practice Prizes 2022 opened on 6 January and closed on 10 February 2022. Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievement in advancing learning and education, and embrace variability in learning. Their projects should draw on scientific evidence, use a clear results framework, and must be sustainable, scalable, and financially viable. Finally, they must build on strong leadership and partner networks.

In memory of its founder, the entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs, who passed away in 2008, the Jacobs Foundation presents two awards every other year for exceptional achievements in research and practice in the field of child and youth development and learning. The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize rewards scientific work that is highly relevant to society, and the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes honor exceptional commitment and innovative solutions of institutions.