• Annual Report

    our year in review

  • Dear partners, students and supporters,

    2019 has been a year of tremendous progress for us at Kiron, and we are indebted to our partners who supported and empowered us to deliver real impact to our students. Kiron Campus evolved into a much more multifaceted service offering, remaining free, and focussing on professional pathways and 21st Century Skills to enable personal and academic growth.


    We launched over ten skill booster programs on Kiron Campus, which are compact online courses focused on industry-specific skills, which are high quality and flexible for our students. Integrating feedback from our students, we also increased our language learning opportunities, especially as language is often a barrier to success in the workplace and university settings. 


    Since internet connectivity is a common problem for our students, we reduced the bandwidth significantly on Kiron Campus, as well as launching our own low-data Android App – a game-changer, which made our learning materials more accessible in low connectivity environments and has drastically increased our student retention rates. Thanks to measures like these, we now have over 10,000 active students.

    Going forward, in collaboration with our partners, our goal is to empower more learners by making the Kiron Campus even more inclusive. We will further develop our presence in Jordan and Lebanon to provide critical support for underserved communities in the region. New, and very serious obstacles have emerged with the onset of COVID-19, and the development of accessible online education has never been more crucial.  


    We are grateful for all of our wonderful students, valued partners and supporters. Thank you for your ongoing support. Without your dedication and collaboration, all of our work and accomplishments simply would not have been possible. We are excited about what lies ahead and look forward to continuing our purpose-driven work with you to positively impact the lives of our students, worldwide.


    Kind regards,

    Dr. Tobias ErnstCEO Kiron
  • Our response
    - Learning beyond limits

  • Currently, there are 78 million people displaced worldwide, and Oxford University research predicts that there will be over 200 million forced migrants by 2050 – due to climate change alone. Historically, food, water, health, and shelter have been prioritized during emergencies, while high-quality education and employability skills for refugees and other displaced youth, have been secondary concerns. Kiron believes this needs to change. Education plays an incredibly life-sustaining and protective role during conflict and crisis and there are serious social and economic consequences of ignoring education during displacement for both host and home countries alike. 


    Since 2015, Kiron has been offering free online learning opportunities to refugees and underserved communities. We believe that education can change lives, transform communities, and build bridges. That’s why we created the online learning platform Kiron Campus, so we can ensure that our students receive free access to high-quality education for academic, professional and personal growth.


    Kiron offers custom-made online study programs using massive open online courses (MOOCs) from renowned educational providers and Open Educational Resources (OERs). Also, we provide skill booster programs to prepare learners for the job market. We want to empower students with knowledge, skills, and the network they need for future success.

    70.8 million
    forcibly displaced people worldwide
    600 million
    youths live in fragile and conflict-affected countries and territories
    3 %
    of refugees worldwide have access to higher education
  • Looking back:
    responding to a need in 2015

    In 2015, around 890,000 asylum seekers came to Germany. Kiron launched in response to a need for education provision and accessibility for refugees. Kiron kick-started enrolments through a crowdfunding campaign which garnered over €500,000 and provided online courses to match University study tracks, allowing refugees to start studying online long before they were admitted to a university. The Schöpflin Foundation became the first foundation to support Kiron in its goal to make higher education accessible online for refugees.

    Looking back:

    In 2016, we further developed each subject curriculum and built up the infrastructure on Kiron Campus. That year, our first student transferred to university with credit recognition. We won the Google Impact Challenge award and the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize.

    Looking back:

    In 2017, Chancellor Angela Merkel pays tribute to Kiron’s work while visiting Kiron HQ in Berlin. That year, we reached 50 partner agreements with universities from eight countries who agreed to recognize the credits studied at Kiron online. We registered as an NGO in Jordan, as well as continuing to improve Kiron Campus, adding new features to ensure study success.

    Looking back:

    In 2018, over 3,500 students enrolled on Kiron Campus. Our office in Jordan grew, and we opened an office in Lebanon to cater to underserved communities there. We managed to fully digitise the complex process of the university application, enabling Kiron students to transition from studying at Kiron to being accepted at the university of their choice. In 2018, our first university graduate, Moataz, celebrates his graduation from Bard College Berlin.
  • Scrolldown for overview

    Our impact
    - We empower learners worldwide

  • 11,600total users

    Students based by countries:
  • Most popular courses
    Most popular courses
    • 1,223 enrollments
      Computer Science 101
    • 710 enrollments
      Introduction to HTML5
    • 552 enrollments
      Technical Support Fundamentals
    • 481 enrollments
      Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)
    • 375 enrollments
      Living in a Digital World: Skills & Tools
  • Completion rates of Kiron’s courses are well above the worldwide average
    *based on verified and self-reported data
    The carefully curated curriculum of study tracks, skill booster programs & the comprehensive student support measures result in course completion rates by Kiron students that are much higher than those of stand-alone MOOCs.
    Core curriculum courses
    Worldwide average
  • Learning achievements

    Data on study success and learning results of Kiron students worldwide. (Survey with multiple answer options.)

    Impact survey with Kiron students
    Professional & Personal Development
    54%Acquired new skills
    37%Gained confidence
    20%Felt supported intergrating into a new country
    Job readiness
    23%A Kiron certificate helped me prove my skills
    15%Found an internship
    9%Found a job
  • Student Community
    - meet our learners

  • Scrolldown for overview


    Computer Science student
    Mafraq, Jordan

    “I genuinely love learning, and I believe that education forms the basis for everything. Whatever you want to achieve or become good at, you have to start with education.”


    Originally from Syria, Asmaa joined Kiron three years ago, after she graduated from high school. She didn’t have the chance to enrol in a university, and so she signed up for computer science MOOCs through Kiron Campus. After her prep year, she managed to transfer to AABU and pursue a diploma degree.


    “Kiron Campus equipped me with the fundamentals in the field of HTML, JavaScript, CSS and helped me achieve good grades during my time at AABU.”

  • Scrolldown for overview


    Web Design student
    Amman, Jordan

    “After fleeing Syria, I lived in Jordan without any hope to access education in the country. Kiron provided me with the chance to continue my education, and for that, I am grateful. I also love helping others, and Kiron allowed me to do exactly that by being a facilitator.”


    Safaa, from Syria, is 23 years old and currently working as a facilitator with Kiron. Safaa had completed many MOOCs and Kiron’s Jordan team saw great potential in her to become a facilitator and encourage other students. She is highly motivated to continue her studies, experience new academic pathways and develop her skills.

  • Scrolldown for overview


    Critical Thinking student
    Amman, Jordan

    “Studying with Kiron helped me improve my critical thinking skills, and find solutions to problems I face in my daily life.”


    Assi is from Sudan and has been living in Jordan for five years now. As a UNHCR registered refugee, he is not legally allowed to work in the country, so he chose to focus on studying. He was introduced to Kiron through JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) and immediately registered online. In the past, he did not have many opportunities to study. With the help of Kiron, he is working on improving himself and working on his language and computer skills.

  • Our learning platform
    - Kiron Campus

  • Kiron Campus

    The Campus is an inclusive learning platform for our students to access a broad range of content, from free certificate study programs to language courses. Our platform is optimized to enable accessible learning for users in challenging learning contexts, like low connectivity and language barriers. With our Campus, we want to not only provide empowering educational resources but also build a diverse and engaged online student community.

    At Kiron, we focus on delivering solutions on the ground, and since 2019 we have made significant progress in some key areas of our learning offers.


  • Adapting to our users’ needs in 2019

    • Our students often study under a variety of challenging circumstances, so we constantly work on developing our offers to meet their specific needs. One significant issue is low internet connectivity. To combat this, we have started providing our content for download in order to keep students learning even when their internet connection is interrupted.
    • Another solution we integrated is hosting content in a way that is conscious of the data load for low-bandwidth environments. Many of our students access Kiron Campus via their mobile phone, so we optimised Kiron Campus for mobile-view and adapted it to support older browsers and devices. In order to reach Kiron students around the world, we launched our Android app as a progressive web application (PWA), which is delivered through the web and works in any browser.
    • In terms of language accessibility, we have increased our Arabic content creation to localise learning for our Arabic speaking students. We also produced content aimed towards improving digital literacy skills, such as our courses, "How to Learn Online" and "Basic Digital Skills."
    • Supporting our students is one of our main priorities so in 2019, we extended our peer-to-peer support, by including message boards on our platform for students to ask questions, share feedback, and have discussions with fellow students.
  • What guides our work — our students

    User retention

    We are always striving to find new ways to keep our students motivated, especially while studying online. One measurement of success is the number of students logging in on a weekly basis. We have frequent contact with our students to ensure that we adapt and develop our product specifically around their feedback. When designing new courses we rely on our students’ input and by the end of 2019, the number of students returning to Kiron Campus on a weekly basis had tripled. 

    We have removed barriers to access, making it easier and faster for our students to apply and access the Campus. Now students can register with just one click and start their learning journey right away. Today, we have over 10,000 active learners worldwide.

  • Meet Ahmed Irbid, Jordan

    Ahmed is 21 years old. When he first arrived in Jordan in 2012, from Syria, he faced some difficulties and had to drop out of school in the eighth grade. In 2017, he learnt about Kiron through a friend and joined the web design course. He especially liked the idea because he is interested in technology-related fields and Kiron doesn’t require academic papers or other prerequisites, making the course more accessible to him. Although he didn’t have much schooling beforehand, Ahmed was able to get started at Kiron in a study track he was passionate about to further realize his business idea.


    “I’m currently working on a business idea, which is a mobile application that can limit traffic. I have secured basic seed funding from Maddad and I’m planning to get further support to realise my idea.”

  • Filling the gap

    Kiron has curated a powerful curriculum of more than 400 quality online courses from renowned partners like Coursera and Future Learn. In 2019, we then took the leap from Content Curator to Content Creator —where we identify specific student needs that are not met with existing formats and create Kiron courses that fill the gaps. To do so, we extended our backend to host content and allow for quizzes, interactive elements and automated video transcripts.

    Skill Boosters for professional growth

    With our Skill Booster programs, we want to support the goals of Kiron students with short but effective learning programs that promote 21st-century skills for increased employability and professional success. 

    Extended course portfolio

    In 2019, we launched ten Skill Boosters, including courses in data science to how to be a better online learner. After completion, students receive certification that can be used to stand out in the job market. 

  • Kiron goes Agile

    At Kiron, we have always had a culture of feedback and collaboration. From early on, we built our Kiron Campus in an agile product development process. The product tech team has been a scrum team since 2017 but in 2019, we decided to take this ethos one step further by committing all teams to agility. Agile working as a method is about bringing together people, processes, and technology to harness productivity. It revolutionises how teams work together and is a very effective way of carrying out tasks cross-functionally. We believe in the transformational benefits this change can have on all areas of an organization. 



    Moving to an Agile operating environment is tough and comes with many challenges: Kironistas had to forgo their regular to-do lists in favour of daily standups, sprint plannings and retrospectives. Change is hard, but we have been reaping the benefits ever since. This way of working allows for a strong user-centric and targeted reaction to an ever-changing environment. The more complex the challenge, the more adaptive we need to be. Organizations traditionally built around a structural hierarchy can become static, with individuals working alone on tasks, whereas agile organisations are networks of teams operating in fast decision-making cycles.



    All Kiron teams have chosen Scrum, Kanban or “Scrumban” as their method and have established the roles and rituals to work and learn not only within the team but together with the other teams as well. We kicked the process off with a “team forming event”, where kironistas could join the team mission they felt they had most to offer to. Thinking about our team focus and what we are passionate about unleashed unlimited energy in this transformation process. Key to making this a success was our team spirit: each team picked their own name and stayed true to it. 



    We are continually learning from each other, and by agreeing to work in cross-functional teams, Kironistas are expanding their skills all the time. We have seen focus and productivity soar, and have achieved things in the first three months that would have previously taken us a year – and things that once seemed impossible were not only completed but finished in the second round with improvements based on student feedback.

  • Scrolldown for overview

    Where we are based

    Kiron has offices in Germany, Lebanon, and Jordan. In addition to our online education offerings, we are supporting students in Lebanon and Jordan through blended learning programs, which is a combination of offline and online lessons.
  • As we grow and continue to innovate