Kenya: Bridge International Academies-01/Kenya

Date Filed
15 Jun 2018

Case Tracker

Dispute Resolution
Investigation (COMPLIANCE)

Complaint Overview


Teachers and parents of students


Violation of national laws, health and safety, labor concerns, intimidation, discrimination

Cross-Cutting Issues
Risk Management Labor Community Health and Safety Discrimination Coercion Unfulfilled Commitments Industry Standards and Certifications Access to Information Policy

Project Information

Name & Number
Bridge International Academies 32171
NewGlobe Schools Inc
Health and Education
Manufacturing, Agribusiness & Services

USD 10 million equity investment


Project Overview

In 2013 and 2016, IFC invested a total of US$13.5m equity in NewGlobe Schools, Inc., which owned Bridge International Academies ("Bridge" or the “Company”), Africa’s largest chain of low-cost schools. According to IFC, at the time of its investment, the Company operated 211 schools serving over 57,000 students in Kenya and aimed to provide quality education to children from families earning less than $2 per person per day. The investment was intended to support an increase in the number of schools in Kenya and expansion to 3 new countries.

IFC exited its investment in NewGlobe Schools, Inc. (the parent company of Bridge International Academies) effective March 3, 2022.


In April 2018, CAO received a complaint from the East Africa Centre for Human Rights, a Kenyan NGO, filed on behalf of current and former parents and teachers in Kenya 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 in May 2018 and conducted an assessment trip to Kenya in September 2018. During the 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 there was not consensus to engage in dispute resolution, which is voluntary, the complaint was referred to CAO’s Compliance function for appraisal in accordance with CAO’s Operational Guidelines. 

CAO completed its compliance appraisal of the complaint in October 2019. The appraisal considered IFC’s efforts during supervision to assess and address concerns about sanitation at Bridge schools and, more recently, to review labor and working conditions. However, CAO concluded that there are substantial concerns regarding the environmental and social outcomes of IFC’s investment in Bridge considering: (a) the specific allegations of adverse impacts to teachers, parents, and students raised in the complaints; (b) the environmental and social risk profile of the schools in light of their number, locations, and concerns regarding their construction methods; and (c) the registration status of the schools and adherence to relevant health and safety requirements. Therefore, CAO decided that an investigation was merited in response on the issues raised in the complaint. CAO’s appraisal report, which includes the Terms of Reference for the investigation, is available under Case Documents below.

After initiating the investigation in October 2019, CAO staff traveled to Kenya in February 2020. The investigation team and experts spoke with complainants and community members, as well as client representatives and local authorities. In discussion with CAO, community members raised concerns regarding child sexual abuse and other child safeguarding issues. These issues resulted in a separate CAO-initiated compliance appraisal (see Bridge-04) and two subsequent complaints (see Bridge-02 and Bridge-03). CAO accepted four additional complaints in October 2023, raising allegations of child sexual abuse at Bridge schools in Kenya (see Learn Capital-01, 02, 03, and 04).

CAO finalized its investigation report and submitted it to the IFC Board on December 18, 2023. CAO shared the final report with the Complainants for the purpose of consultation as IFC developed its Management Action Plan in response to the investigation. In accordance with the CAO Policy, IFC had 50 business days to prepare a Management Report, including a Management Action Plan. IFC requested an extension and submitted its Management Report and Management Action Plan to the IFC Board on May 15, 2024. 


On June 13, 2024, the Board held an informal meeting on IFC’s Management Report and Management Action Plan. It was agreed that IFC will take more time to explore collaboration with relevant stakeholders before the Board formally considers the Management Action Plan. Following the meeting, Bank Group management and IFC’s Board issued this statement.

Status as of June 14, 2024

Case Documents

  • Complaint
    Letter of Complaint
    Apr 16, 2018
    Letter of Complaint
    Assessment Report
    Assessment Report
    Mar 01, 2019
    Assessment Report
    Assessment Report
    Mar 06, 2019
    Assessment Report
    IFC Response to Assessment Report
    Mar 18, 2019
    IFC Response to Assessment Report
  • Compliance

    Appraisal Report
    Compliance Appraisal Report
    Oct 21, 2019
    Compliance Appraisal Report
    Oct 04, 2023
  • Mailchimp Survey


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