New research program reveals how positive deviance in schools can improve education for all – Brazil

January 26, 2022, Florence/Zurich — Why do some schools do better than others when they operate under similar, sometimes very difficult conditions? How can others benefit from their local innovations? To answer these questions, UNICEF established the Data Must Speak (DMS) positive deviance research program, which is currently active in 13 countries.

With 9 out of 10 children in low-income countries unable to read by age 10, DMS Positive Deviance research identifies promising existing grassroots solutions to education challenges and works hand-in-hand with local partners to scale these solutions and improve learning for all. child.

The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, the UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein National Committee and the Jacobs Foundation are pleased to announce a new partnership to expand positive deviance research Data Must Speak (DMS) to three other countries in Africa and Latin America: Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The partnership aims to strengthen transnational analysis and the adoption of local solutions.

“Empowering our in-country partners to identify local schools of positive deviance in an evidence-based way, replicate them, and share them with their peers is a whole new way to address the learning crisis through learning. through global educational initiatives,” said Nora Marketos, Co-Lead Learning Schools, Jacobs Foundation.

Data Must Speak research sheds light on existing untapped practices and behaviors of grassroots actors such as teachers, school leaders and communities who are important agents of change in education.

By leveraging UNICEF’s transnational presence, the most promising solutions and effective approaches to adapting and scaling them can be shared and implemented across borders.

“Co-creation of Data Must Speak research with Ministries of Education and other relevant stakeholders in the country from the start is crucial so that the results are used to improve the learning outcomes of the most vulnerable children. vulnerable,” said Renaud Comba, Data Must Speak research lead. at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti.

Data Must Speak research draws on the Positive Deviance framework in conjunction with innovative research methodologies such as behavioral insights, implementation research, and scaling science to provide grounded answers on evidence, for each child.

The first reports with relevant findings will be published in mid-2022 on the Data Must Speak research project webpage.

About the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

The Office of Research – Innocenti is the dedicated research center of UNICEF. It undertakes research on emerging or current issues to inform the strategic directions, policies and programs of UNICEF and its partners, shape global debates on children’s rights and development, and inform the global development agenda. research and policy for all children, especially the most vulnerable. . Visit


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. In 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

The National Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein is the public face and devoted voice of UNICEF in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. For more information, visit

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook @unicefinnocenti.

About the Jacobs Foundation

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the Jacobs Foundation is one of the world’s leading foundations in the field of child and youth development. Created by entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs and his family in 1989, the Foundation’s current endowment is valued at approximately 7 billion francs. As an internationally active organization, the Jacobs Foundation commits an average annual budget of CHF 55 million to support research and programs in the areas of learning and education, visit

For more information, please contact:

UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

Kathleen Sullivan, Chief Communications Officer, ai

Phone. +39 05 52 03 32 22

Jacobs Foundation

Alexandra Guentzer, Communications Director

Phone. + 41 (0) 79 821 74 29

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