Content sections
Contact information:

Salima Namusobya in Kampala (ISER) | snamusobya@gmail.com | +256 772 473929 Anderson Miamen in Monrovia (COTAE) | admiamen2@gmail.com | +231 88 681 8855 Annie Thériault in Washington (Oxfam) | annie.theriault@oxfam.org | +51 936 307 990

Notes to editors:

In 2018, civil society groups published an open letter to investors in BIA, outlining concerns and urging them to cease support. Since then, additional concerns and scandals have been highlighted in the media, including the reported electrocution death of a child in a BIA school in Kenya, major teacher pay cuts in Liberia and Kenya during COVID-19, and charges of fraud and theft brought against a former Bridge director in a previous role. In 2019, more than 170 civil society organizations from 64 countries called on the World Bank Group to end support to for-profit private education (2019) In 2020, the IFC committed to freeze investments in for-profit K-12 schools, responding to concerns from civil society and leadership from U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters . Similar recent policy shifts have included the Global Partnership for Education’s decision in its 2019 Private Sector Strategy to prohibit funding to for-profit provision of core education services, and a 2018 resolution by the European Parliament that declared the European Union and its Member States must not use development aid money to fund commercial private schools. ● Summary of CAO cases on IFC’s investment in BIA: ● BIA-01/Kenya case: In April 2018, 10 parents and former and current teachers at BIA submitted a complaint highlighting BIA’s negative impacts, especially on the right to education, health and safety, and on labour rights. In its Appraisal Report published in October 2019, the CAO announced its decision to carry out a full compliance investigation into the adequacy of the IFC’s due diligence and supervision of its investee. The compliance investigation is ongoing. ● BIA-02/Kenya and BIA 03/Kenya cases: In June 2020, the CAO confirmed acceptance of two new cases on BIA, filed by the parents of two children who were electrocuted while in a BIA school in Nairobi, Kenya. The electrocution caused the death of one child and injuries to the other. The Complainants and the Company agreed to engage in dispute resolution to try to arrive at a mediated settlement. The dispute resolution process is still ongoing. ● BIA-04/Kenya case: In the course of the BIA-01/Kenya investigation, CAO staff and experts travelled to Nairobi in February 2020. The investigation team spoke to community members who raised concerns regarding instances of child sexual abuse at Bridge schools. In December 2020, the CAO concluded in its appraisal report that there are “substantial concerns regarding the child safeguarding and protection outcomes of IFC’s investment in Bridge considering: (a) specific allegations of child sexual abuse involving Bridge staff and students; (b) the child safeguarding and protection risks of the schools in light of their number, their student body (coming from low-income families), and the young age of students.” The compliance investigation is ongoing.