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Nov 14, 2018

Using Mobile Phones for Education

Installing the Shupavu platform on to their phones
Installing the Shupavu platform on to their phones

To help students with revision and learning beyond the classroom, we partnered with Eneza Education, a mobile-education SMS/Text Message Service, to give students access to their curriculum content in a more engaging way.

To achieve this, we bought vouchers for 160 Standard 8 students across two schools: Soko Primary School in Nyakach and St. Vitalis Nang'a Primary School in Dunga, who were preparing for their KCPE (Kenya Certificate for Primary Education) National Exams. These vouchers give the students free, unlimited access to the Shupavu Platform which offers:

  • Kenyan curriculum lessons & assessments in all subjects
  • Chat with a live teacher (Ask as many questions to a teacher)
  • Revision papers

Other than these features, students also have access to stories, an encyclopaedia, an interactive educational game and a calculator through the SMS platform. Through its interactive approach it encourages students to learn from trying and competing with other students on the platform across the entire country.

It is our hope that this pilot program will help the students improve their performance in their upcoming exams and that we can make more vouchers available to even more students across all the schools we work with in the 2019 academic year.

We have big news! The Rahul Kotak Foundation is one of GlobalGiving’s Top 10 Nonprofits Committed to Impact! Look for us under Honorable Menitons on the list: https://www.globalgiving.org/learn/top-10-nonprofits 

GlobalGiving has found that nonprofits that listen to their stakeholders, act on what they hear, and learn from the results of their actions are more effective and have a greater impact in their communities. This is a great moment for us, we’re proud to be recognized for our commitment to effectiveness and impact.

We will be fundraising for our programs and projects of 2019 on Giving Tuesday (27th November 2018) and during the Year End Campaign (28th November to 31st December 2018) on GlobalGiving. So save the date! Your donation will be up for matching making your contribution during the holidays count even more.

Learning the ropes of the new application by group
Learning the ropes of the new application by group
Students at Soko Primary waiting for instructions
Students at Soko Primary waiting for instructions
Trying out different features of the platform
Trying out different features of the platform
Carefully going through the instructions
Carefully going through the instructions
Mohit (Co-Founder) running a workshop at Dunga
Mohit (Co-Founder) running a workshop at Dunga

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Oct 16, 2018

Beyond the Classroom...

Soko Student installing Mobile Education Software
Soko Student installing Mobile Education Software

Since starting our work almost two and a half years ago, one of the biggest lessons we learnt was that making education accessible to all children was not simply about addressing the issues they faced while at school. While it is crucial to continue to make the classroom environment better and make books and learning material easily accessible (especially to those living in the slums and rural areas), it is also important to go beyond the classroom.

At Soko Primary School in Nyakach, we have been able to address a couple of such issues that go further than the classroom but make a big difference for the students.

Eneza Education

To help students study and revise better after school, we partnered with Eneza Education to run a pilot program using their mobile education platform Shupavu. All registered candidates for the upcoming KCPE exams received access to the mobile platform to help them revise and prepare for their exams in their spare time or whilst at home. The platform allows them to ask live questions to teachers via SMS and helps them brush up on any topics they may be having challeges with. Students also have access to past papers and practice questions with guidance on how to answer questions correctly.

COHESU

Through our partnership with a local NGO, Cohesu, we have been able to ensure that all the girls at Soko Primary School receive new school shoes at least twice a year. This helps reduce the risk of Jiggers and Bilharzia which are both prevalent in the Lakeside region. This also makes the morning walk to school a lot more comfortable and eases the financial burden on parents/guardians who may not have enough money to buy new school shoes.

New Shoes!
New Shoes!
And they're on...
And they're on...
Soko Std. 8 Girls receiving T-Shirts
Soko Std. 8 Girls receiving T-Shirts
All girls of Soko also received books and pencils.
All girls of Soko also received books and pencils.
Ready to run in the new shoes
Ready to run in the new shoes

Links:

Aug 13, 2018

Kitabu Changu Haki Yangu

Students at Valley Learning Centre's New Library
Students at Valley Learning Centre's New Library

Kitabu Changu Haki Yangu (Swahilli for My Book, My Right) is a literacy program aimed at building libraries and resource centres in the slums and rural parts of Kisumu County in Kenya.

With students in these areas barely being able to access school text books, having access to story books and activity books among a wider range of books is a distant dream. This project makes this dream a reality and introduces the power of imagination and ideas that will open up their lives and dare them to dream of greater possibilities than their current surroundings allow them.

This program creates resource centres that allow both current and future students to have access to text books (something both parents and the government are unable to provide). It is our belief this will take the burden off parents, encouraging them to enrol their children in school at the right age and pursue education. More importantly, it gives the students access to a much needed wider range of books, especially story books that will expose them to different ideas and worlds, improve their literacy and vocabulary and inspire them to dream big.

While the planet leaps from one technological advancement to the next at a dizzying speed, children in these areas continue to lag behind exponentially. Access to hard copies of books is the first step. However, it is imperative that the students have access to newer forms of reading like e-readers to be at par and connect with students of their age in other parts of the country and the world. It will provide a longer-term solution that is cost-effective, space-efficient and easier to manage in the long run.

Why is there a need for a Literacy Program?

Despite being one of the more developed counties in the country, Kisumu ranks very poorly at 30 out of 47 counties in terms of literacy rates. With an estimated 202 million illiterate people, Sub-Saharan Africa is considered to have the lowest literacy rates in the world. 

At 87%, Kenyan youth have a much higher literacy rate than that of Sub-Saharan Africa. Kisumu, however, lags behind at 66%. (Please note: this is the latest data available for Kisumu from a 2013 report. The current number may be slightly different).

What Progress Have we made?

Since starting this program, we have distributed over 1,000 exercise books and pencils each among other learning material to the various schools we work with. We have made small makeshift libraries at 3 schools (Valley, Soko and Elimu) where students now have access to nearly 800 story books. We conducted our first Reading and Storytelling Workshop with some of the most enthusiastic volunteers we have had the honour of working with who spent time with the children teaching and introducing them to books and reading in a fun and positive way.

Program Infographic
Program Infographic
Literacy Rates Explained
Literacy Rates Explained
Classroom Session at Valley Learning Centre
Classroom Session at Valley Learning Centre

Links:

 
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