The 2015 Social & Community Investment Awards: IBB Consulting Group


Firm: IBB Consulting Group
Type of Work: Employee-Motivated Volunteer Project
Client: Developments in Literacy (DIL) Jattal School

The IBB Community Action Network is IBB Consulting Group’s special interest group that was formed about year ago in response to employees who wanted to focus more on community action. ICAN, as it’s known internally, was started with a philosophy of focusing on youth education, specifically young female education, and one of its first clients was Developments in Literacy (DIL) at Pakistan’s Jattal School.

IBB already has a long-standing relationship with DIL and when ICAN was formed IBB employees met with DIL Leadership and teachers to better understand the Jattal School key challenges, says Jefferson Wang, a Senior Partner with IBB.

Learning to speak English was a big challenge and IBB employees came up with the Video Voice Pen Pal Project as a way to teach English more efficiently to teachers and students at the Jattal School, Wang says.

B.B. Richardson oversees ICAN at IBB and says the initial focus was how to drive change? “We decided to build on our relationship with DIL because DIL has some of the highest success rates in preparing students and keeping students in school,” Richardson says. “We were thrilled to be able to work with and through DIL to connect with the Jattal School.”

DIL’s impact is profound, says Richardson. In Pakistan, the percentage of 4th graders who can read English by fourth grade is 0 percent, but at DIL schools that number jumps to 44 percent. “DIL is an organization that’s really driving a lot of change,” she says.

Once connected to the Jattal through DIL, IBB agreed to sponsor the Jattal School for three years and a minimum of a $36,000 commitment, Richardson says.

IBB employees initially had the hypothesis that practice through reading and writing makes perfect, a virtual e-mail Pen Pal Program was the first idea. After discussing this solution with DIL Jattal School teachers, it was clear that practicing to read and write was not enough, Richardson says. Students struggled with the correct pronunciation of words and comprehension to help remember correct uses.

“It was really important for them to hear us speaking English, to see the way we speak and then also transpose text over the videos so the students could read along with the spoken words,” Richardson says. “Tackling comprehension was one of our big goals.”

IBB employees then modified the original solution to the Video Voice Pen Pal Project. IBB employees recruited a rotating set of volunteers, finalized material themes for each recording session and set-up multiple video recording booths. Each IBB employee volunteer also transcribed their videos and edited them, added in text and stitched the videos together to send to the Jattal School.

Richardson says so far the program has proven to be a huge success, but IBB has no plans of stopping there.

IBB employees are also working on a Phase 2.0 of the Video Voice Pen Pal Program. Currently the program is in 1 Jattal school classroom and IBBers are working with DIL Leadership and Jattal Teachers to find areas of improvement. The goal with Phase 2.0 is to expand an improved version of the Video Pen Pal Program to the entire Jattal School.

Phase 3.0 of the project is even more exciting and may include expanding it to all the 30,000 DIL students using an IBB ICAN developed mobile application for easier video capture, transcription, and editing, Wang says.

“This is something the IBB family has really rallied around,” Richardson says. “The support of ICAN and the support of DIL and the support of the Jattal School has been absolutely phenomenal.”

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