Smart Somo platform itself has attracted goodwill and support because of its innovative and tech-driven learning capabilities. The schools, parents and education stakeholders that we have so far interacted with, reiterated the fundamental gap that Smart Somo fills. We received interest from two schools around the project catchment area of Awendo , who heard about the platform from the Sub County Director of Education’s Office. Through word of mouth, Istiqama Academy in Mombasa has equally expressed interest in Smart Somo. The impact and potential of this project has enhanced our reputation and profile. What makes it stand out is its apparent low cost, Web/USSD Capabilities and ability to be adapted per school.
In the quarter, the platform developer took the 20 teachers through a refresher ToT approach on the usability of the platform. The teachers were taken through the teachers’ portal, child portal and parents portal, to be able to support parents and children should they experience any challenges using the platform. Secondly, the trained teachers were empowered to develop quality content for the platform, within their subject areas. The lessons are available on USSD and web for an array of users. A platform guide for teachers, children and parents was also developed to further increase capacity of its various users. The link to the resource is shared later in this document.
From the consultative community meeting of project stakeholders, it was evident that most parents, including teachers, were unaware of the specific roles that the various local administrators have within the line of child protection. The various officials, child protection officers and CHVs expounded on their various roles, and how those can be married with the different offices within the local communities. Contacts were exchanged between the local administrators and the parents. The schools too, have Community-based child referral network list pinned on the school noticeboard. The list has names, location, contacts of key personnel like CHVs, Sub County Education Officer, Sub County Child Protection Officers, Parent Representatives, Headteachers, School Designated Safeguarding Teachers. Updating of the list incase of transfers rests with each school Child Protection Committees.
The project team remains optimistic that the lessons and practices gathered from the project would support scale up,and replication in the region.
The Smart Somo platform has continued to serve as an effective tool for students to engage in
learning in partner schools. It is our goal to substantially increase the amount of content uploaded
on the platform in order to keep learners engaged on a constant basis. As a result, we continue to
liaise with the teachers to develop creative learning materials. We have been able to quantify the
impact of the remedial learning platform by using the digital assessments developed previously.
Moreover, due to the competency-based nature of the current curriculum, these assessments can
help learners gauge their readiness for the National Examinations.
The constant revision of school calendars has negatively affected the uptake of some lessons due
to the demanding nature of the often shortened terms. In an effort to improve the situation we
have been sending weekly reminders via SMS(short messaging service) to parents and partner
teachers to encourage students to supplement their studies using the platform. Our team is also
actively pursuing the possibility of expanding the platform to engage more learners, not just
those from partner schools. Several consultative meetings have been held in order to understand
the scope of this endeavor. In this way, we are responding to stakeholder suggestions we've
received about expanding the smart Somo platform to include more people.
In order to make Smart Somo a sustainable hub of learning, the team continues to work tirelessly
on optimizing it. In addition to interactive engagements such as Q&A sessions, we continue to
consider suggestions made by various stakeholders in development of the project. We look
forward to seeing what the future holds for Smart Somo and can't wait for the next phase of the
The year 2022 began with self-reflection on the progress and status of the Smart Somo project. We undertook an internal review on implementation, identifying gaps and opportunities for the project. We held a consultative planning meeting with project stakeholders, particularly the teachers and parents, and shared our workplan and progress for Smart Somo. A schedule of activities was developed, which primarily entailed completing the piloting phase and monitoring.
The quarter has seen us develop learning content in various digital formats, including notes, lessons and assessments for learners. The curriculum demands and limited time available remains a challenge to quality development of lessons. However, parents and students have continued to show great enthusiasm for the project, and challenged the project team to develop complete lessons for My Money and STEM Subjects.
We continue to monitor and evaluate the progress of the project in the remaining period. The learning and practices gathered from this test phase will inform the nationwide scale out and replication. Our dream is to have at least 20,000 children at primary and secondary level access affordable, high quality and curriculum aligned content nationwide.
The Advent of Covid19 on school learning, coupled with targeted stakeholders’ discussion informed the adaptation of My Money Project into hybrid learning. The innovative learning, now called Smart Somo, is A Hybrid E-learning Platform Enhancing Access to Affordable Basic Quality Education in Kenya.The platform seeks to deliver affordable, relevant and curriculum-aligned resources to 450 children (300girls,150boys) from low income families and underserved communities.
The program has made considerable progress within the quarter. Firstly, development of the Smart Somo platform was a success, after 4 months of development and testing. This was followed by the capacity building and skilling drawn from 20 teachers from the 2 primary and 2 secondary schools in Kisumu and Migori counties. The one-week training of the teachers happened between Oct 3rd and 11, 2021, during the midterm school holidays. Some of the content of the training included digital skills (internet, content creation, apps etc.), and using Smart Somo platform. The Selection of the program teachers that happened prior to the training session emphasized on the STEM Subjects. The teachers selected were drawn from those teaching sciences, technology and mathematics subjects. Also included were the teachers handling My Money Curriculum in the respective schools. This was followed by the equipping of the schools with recording equipment.
Still Ahead in the remaining quarter, we are working with the teachers to ensure continuous development of the learning resources for the platform. Every teacher was assigned a subject, with an agreed monthly schedule for recording lessons. Secondly, the CEDI Team continue to provide ongoing technical support on the use of the platform and how to best record quality videos.
Monitoring of the project shall continue for the next 6 months. The learning and practices gathered from this test phase will inform the nationwide scale out and replication. Our dream is to have at least 20,000 children at primary and secondary level access affordable, high quality and curriculum aligned content nationwide.
CEDI continues to deliver on its promise of teaching Financial Capability Skills to over 4,000 children in Kenya.On 26th Mar 2021, the Kenyan Government issued a fresh directive to close all learning institutions indefinitely, alongside a raft of other measures to contain the third wave of covid19. Classroom learning, which only resumed in January 2021 after schools were closed for most of 2020, remain suspended again. A similar directive was issued a year ago, disrupting the learning of over 18Million learners countrywide. Most able institutions have had to embrace out of classroom learning through digital platforms, TVs and Radio. While such learning may take place in major urban areas and with well-off schools, for children in remote and resource-strained contexts, learning remains a challenge. This is due to poor network connectivity, internet costs, lack of access to smartphones and electricity.
My Money program therefore had to adapt and engage key stakeholders to ensure that children continue to access quality and basic learning at home. The teachers promoted the recorded lessons to children through links and WhatsApp of parents. Videos were downloaded and disseminated to children. Similarly, the learning materials issued to the schools were effectively used during the period to undertake lessons in community spaces within the community.
Picking up on the formative evaluation, the project launched the formative evaluation report in Kisumu and Migori on 12th and 13th of June 2021. The workshop for the Formative Evaluation Report Dissemination was attended by the 4Headteachers, Parents representatives, local clergies, representatives from children departments and ministry of education, at national and county level. Also in attendance were teachers, who have been spearheading the program in their respective schools.
The project’s main activity for this year was conducting a formative assessment to the project. The assessment aimed at understanding the lessons, impact and successes of the project since its inception in 2016. The project therefore had two consultative planning meetings with the 4 Headteachers and My Money coordinators within the first quarter of the year. A consultant to undertake the exercise has already been outsourced, and the exercise was planned for the week of Feb 22, 2021 till the 26th Feb 2021, in all the 4partner schools. The report was disseminated to the stakeholders present, to get their views and comments, before a report validation process.
From the workshop, the following were some of the notable feedback and comments:
Moving forward, the meeting participants agreed on two weeks turn around period to study the report and share thoughts and comments on the same. The comments and feedback shall be incorporated into the final version of the report, which shall be validated by all stakeholders, at a date that shall be determined.
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