Positive Deviance

*COVID-19 Update: Due to COVID-19 shutdowns our Positive Deviance program underwent many adaptations. For a full report on our COVID-19 Positive Deviance program see our COVID-19 RESPONSE page.

The Positive Deviance Approach

The positive deviance (PD) approach to solving social problems is premised on the observation that in every community, there exist ordinary people or institutions who have figured out better, sometimes extraordinary, solutions to prevailing problems in their community – without access to outside resources.

Positive deviance engages communities in the identification and implementation of successful, locally adapted strategies of change.

Building Blocks for Success

In ___, Twaweza conducted an in-depth ethnographic study involving eighteen schools in eastern Uganda. The study unearthed unique strategies and practices used by parents, community members, school leaders, and teachers to improve learning outcomes.

The Appeal of Positive Deviance

First, it emphasizes identifying practices that actually work in a particular context, with the intention to extend them to immediate neighboring communities existing in the same or a similar context.

Second, there is no resource insufficiency because the identified practices use resources that are already available to all the community members.

Third, it recognizes the importance of classroom procedure and highlights the improvement/restoration of what transpires during the teaching and learning process. (not sure if this is what you were alluding to)

Beginning a Partnership

In January 2020, Elevate partnered with Twaweza East Africa and Bishop Willis Core Primary Teachers College to pilot a school-community-based intervention.

The co-designed program establishes frequent action-oriented information sharing opportunities between teachers and between the school and the local community. These gatherings empower teachers and parents to embrace PD approaches that support children’s learning.

Our intervention builds upon this initial study by evaluating three possible mechanisms for unearthing and sharing PD behaviors across individuals and groups within a school community:


Peer-led teacher development sessions.


Actionable information sharing sessions involving teachers and parents.


Formalized teacher-student mentorship relationships.

Journey to Success

These mechanisms will be evaluated across 250 school communities in Uganda’s Busoga sub-region over a two-year time frame.

Community Voices

This section I think should be where we put the personal stories. I like the idea of a slider with pictures and quotes from collaborators and possible links back to other resources.

Engage (2)

write up about the person or event in the picture

Engage 100x100

write up about the person or event in the picture.

Engage (1)

Write up about the person or event in the picture.