A São Paulo, Brazil, based corporation operating primarily in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, Movva is a global edtech that sends weekly reminders and encouragement messages (also known as ‘nudges’) directly to caregivers’ cell phones to engage them in their children’s school life. All content is non-curricular, entirely aimed at bringing children and parents closer together, discouraging child labor and violence against children, and making education top-of-mind, despite the impeding pressures of poverty-induced financial worries.

Movva leverages insights from behavioral sciences to identify the most important constraints that might affect parenting behaviors – self-limiting beliefs, mindsets, cognitive biases, and social pressure – then framing messages to effectively overcome them. It also applies machine learning algorithms to customize and target communication, based on what is predicted to work best for each student, using a combination of data on student characteristics, previous academic records, and interactions with the messages. During the pandemic, Movva supported over 2,000,000 students and their families across Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guatemala and Honduras. In 2022, they are also launching in Malawi, in collaboration with world-class NGO Give Directly.

In the short-term, if messages reach caregivers as intended, their children’s school life becomes top-of-mind, motivating them to monitor them more closely, to show up at school more often, and to incentivize them to continue studying. In turn, students find greater motivation to study, decrease absenteeism, and allocate more hours to homework. In the medium-term, children feel more supported by their parents, and experience improved socio-emotional skills, higher attendance and higher numeracy and literacy skills. Student dropouts also decrease, and students complete secondary education to a greater extent. In the long-term, quality education yields better indicators at the society level. Educated young people access better job opportunities, and act as responsible citizens in their communities, with a higher quality of life.

Movva’s platform has behavioral foundations for personalization and AI for targeting communication based on the specific needs of each student. It has preset multimedia content that can effectively change student behavior, but also allows schools to create their own videos to students with the help of a virtual assistant that guides users to record different versions of the same message, inspired by behavioral profiles, and then activates AI to find which student would benefit the most from each version.

Movva has a proven track record of impacts among those who need it the most. Its nudges have been shown to improve learning outcomes and decrease grade repetition and school dropouts across Brazil and Côte d‘Ivoire. As its product is a Software as a Service (SaaS) and because it is cloud-based, it can be easily deployed anywhere in the world, in partnership with governments and local schools. This is the main reason Movva has been able to serve students across Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guatemala, and Honduras during the pandemic, and are looking forward to starting work in Malawi in 2022.

If Movva wins a Best Practice Prize, it plans to use the award to support its biggest scale-up challenges in Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire, double down on investments to better engage with local stakeholders in both countries, to rationalize processes and improve technological capacity with the objective of scaling nudges more efficiently, at lower costs – critical for both government and low-fee private schools – without compromising impacts on children’s learning outcomes.