For communities to thrive, what type of learning environment is needed? This was the core question addressed by speakers during our inaugural fireside chat, “Unpacking the Creation and Impact of Equitable Learning Environments,” on March 21.

Joining us to share their experiences and wisdom in a conversation moderated by IF’s Amy Klement were: Caren Wakoli of Emerging Leaders Foundation in Kenya; Rodrigo Rubido of Instituto Elos in Brazil; and Koren Clark of Wildflower Schools in the US. The speakers discussed how they approach their work and how we can work together to create equitable learning environments where learners feel seen, heard and valued.

As Rodrigo put it: “In an equitable learning environment, each person has something valuable to share and we know we have something to learn from everyone."

From Caren, we heard about the importance of owning one’s own story: “Individuals and leaders can only make change when they know who they are, and are connected to their own stories.”

And, Koren shared that these things are only possible “when we create space for growth, reflection, and critical consciousness.”


Additional highlights discussed were:

  • The importance of approaching learners from the perspective of their capabilities—not their limitations—and of ensuring learners have the tools to not only see their humanity, but to also cultivate their social and emotional growth to be actors for justice and social change.
  • Partnership, connection and community are critical and collaboration among all actors in the public and private sectors creates fertile ground for equitable and sustainable learning outcomes.
  • There is power in affirming people and encouraging them to share—and to own—their own stories. We must Invite people to speak their truth and listen deeply to them.
  • There is nothing as transformative as leading with love.

Stay Tuned for Future Fireside Events

The event is part of a virtual fireside chat series, where we are exploring different themes to realize brighter, healthier and more equitable futures for learners and their families and communities.

Stay tuned for our next chat, which will be the first of several deep-dives into a more local perspective of the future we imagine.