CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya / Bridge International Academies-01/Kenya

Teachers and parents of students
Date Filed
June 15, 2018
Violation of national laws, health and safety, labor concerns, intimidation, discrimination
Case Status
Open - Compliance


Project Overview  

IFC has an active project with Bridge International Academies (the “Company”), Africa’s largest chain of low-cost schools. According to IFC, the Company currently operates 297 schools serving 57,000 students in Kenya and aims to provide quality education to children from families earning less than US$2 per person per day. The investment supports an increase in the number of schools in Kenya and expansion to 3 new countries.



In April 2018, CAO received a complaint from the East Africa Centre for Human Rights, a Kenyan NGO, filed on behalf of students, parents, and teachers regarding Bridge International Academies. The complaint raises concerns about the Company’s compliance with Kenyan national curriculum requirements and IFC’s Performance Standards in terms of health and safety, and labor conditions. The complaint also cited concerns about economic discrimination, lack of parental inclusion, and transparency. 


CAO Action

CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in May 2018. The CAO team conducted an assessment trip in September 2018. During CAO’s assessment, Bridge indicated their willingness to engage in a dispute resolution process, while the complainants preferred the complaint to be handled by CAO’s Compliance function. As a consensus could not be reached on engaging in dispute resolution, which is voluntary, the complaint was referred to CAO’s Compliance function in accordance with CAO’s Operational Guidelines. An assessment report is available at the below link.


The case has been referred to CAO’s Compliance function for an appraisal of IFC's environmental and social performance in relation to the project. The appraisal will determine whether or not a compliance investigation is merited.


Status as of April 2, 2019

Note: A CAO assessment does not entail a judgment on the merits of complaints.  Rather, the aim is to listen to people's concerns, understand the different perspectives, and determine what options are available to address the complaint through CAO's Dispute Resolution and Compliance functions.


Project information

Project Name & Number
Bridge International Academies 32171
Global Manufacturing & Services
NewGlobe Schools Inc
Education Services
Sub-Saharan Africa
Environmental Category
USD 10 million equity investment

Case Tracker


  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: Completed


  • Under Appraisal: In Process