Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app

by Yiya Engineering Solutions
Play Video
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
Educate 50,000 Ugandan kids w/offline learning app
After Action Review Cake cutting!
After Action Review Cake cutting!

Second pilot impact and research

The pilot course on solar cells was concluded in October with a course exam, replicating an online exam system where students were asked multiple choice questions that they answered with their simple keypad phones. So far over 500 students have completed the exam. We are assessing the knowledge gains of our students from the program, and we are seeing positive results so far!

We are also getting student feedback about how the program impacted their lives with an end of course survey, as a follow up to the baseline survey taken before the course commenced. So far 831 students who completed the baseline survey and were active in the course have also completed the endline survey. We are excited to be working with a research team at Carnegie Mellon University, through a partnership with Jacobs Foundation, to help us better understand our impact and design more effective monitoring and evaluation systems.

AAR

Yiya conducted a 3-day virtual After Action Review retreat where we got to reflect on how the second YiyaAirscience Pilot went. The entire Yiya team, spread between Uganda and the US, came together to reflect on learnings from all the components of our program, including our re-designed learning app, the user experience, the teacher experience, the curriculum, among others. The retreat ended with a celebration for the great achievements that we had achieved during our second pilot, not only regarding our student number (50,000 users! Over 15000 enrollments! 1000 solar cells created!), but also for our team as we implemented new structures and tools.

African Union Innovating Education in Africa Award

If you thought you had heard it all, that was just the beginning because Yiya soars higher and higher! Last month Yiya AirScience was selected by the African Union as 1 of the 5 finalists in the Innovating Education in Africa awards. Yiya participated in the AU’s Innovating Education in Africa Virtual Expo, where you can still view our virtual booth at the link below. Yiya’s final pitch will take place at the rewirEd summit in Dubai (see link below), organized by Dubai Cares as part of the on-going Expo 2020 Dubai. Our Chief Innovations Officer and co-founder Samson Wambuzi will be dazzling the judges with his (award-winning!) pitch in Dubai in December. We are excited about this opportunity to share Yiya Airscience with global stakeholders focused on innovating education in creative ways to move towards positive change.

 

Collaborative Learning Initiative

Throughout 2021, Yiya co-founders Samson and Erin have been working through a new Fellowship organized by the Isroff Family foundation. The program included training on fundraising, financial policy, governance, and more, culminating in the development of a Strategic Plan. The CLI Fellows celebrated a virtual graduation ceremony in October, which included a cake cutting (as any celebration should)! We want to congratulate Erin Fitzgerald and Samson Wambuzi upon this great milestone, and we also want to send a shout out to the Isroff Family Foundation for this great opportunity.

Uganda-based celebrates Samson's CLI graduation
Uganda-based celebrates Samson's CLI graduation
US-based team celebrate's Erin's CLI graduation
US-based team celebrate's Erin's CLI graduation
Samson speaking at rewirEd Summit
Samson speaking at rewirEd Summit

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The new Yiya AirScience course starts on 7 July! We opened registration on our new platform just 5 days ago and already have 6000 students registered for the course! We are thrilled to see such excitement and readiness to learn maths and science. Sadly, Uganda entered another lock-down and closed schools in response to high numbers of COVID infections and deaths in Uganda. With schools closed, there is a great need for Yiya AirScience right now.

In this course, students will learn about photosynthesis, and learn to design, build, and improve their design for solar cells to charge a cell phone or power a light bulb. But this first week of the course is focused on registration and encouraging students to complete a baseline survey so we can collect better data about our impact.

For the last 6 months we have been busy preparing for this next Yiya AirScience course by

  • writing the curriculum for a new technology that can be built entirely with materials easy to find in remote areas,
  • building a new platform to improve the user experience and our data collection,
  • and incorporating lots of feedback from students, fellow experts, and partners, into refining the design of the Yiya AirScience program.

Our goals in this course are to

  • refine our newly built platform as we test lots of new features that will provide for a better user experience, and move us toward curating other content from partners
  • build stronger data around our impact
  • support 10,000 youths to succesfully complete the course

Parents and young people in Uganda can dial *284*9# to register. To listen to the radio lessons, students in northern Uganda can tune into Radio Maria at 105.7 FM, or anyone can listen online by downloading the Radio Maria App (then choose Africa, Uganda, and then Gulu Substation).

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Yiya Co-founder Erin and baby Henry
Yiya Co-founder Erin and baby Henry

We are happy to announce that Yiya CEO and co-founder Erin Fitzgerald had a baby boy in February! We are thrilled to have this new Yiya baby and future AirScience student on our team!

We are also very excited to announce a new partner in our vision: Someone Else's Child! They have provided grant funding that will help to support some of our tech developments, and the rollout of the next course, expected to launch in May 2021. We are so grateful for thier generosity and their confidence in our work!

Yiya's pilot program of AirScience remote STEM education was a huge success and we have been working hard to learn all we can from that course to improve what we can offer to young people in Northern Uganda. The engagement from users was the most surprising and exciting learning moment and we had to quickly adapt our technology to accommoddate so many active users! We are currently working on refining that technology so the next course of Yiya AirScience can engage with even more users, and offer even more options for accessing the curriculum.

Although Yiya has been working with secondary school students, we learned that 47% of our users were out of school even before the pandemic! This told us that this solution has a much broader reach than the pandemic, that we have the opportunity to provide a new model of education for the millions of youth who cannot access formal schooling due to lack of funds, distance, or the needs of their families, even after schools fully open again in Uganda.

We got feedback from many students that they were using the technology they learned in the pilot course to set up businesses for themselves: either selling solar food dryers, or selling the service of drying produce with the solar food dryers they built. This is really exciting! Yiya has always made it a priority that our curriculum is relevant to students lives and helped students discover that the engineering design process can be used to help solve local problems. Our goal is not just to teach a technology, but equip students with skills they can apply to their own needs.

We are busy designing the next course, which will teach students how to build Solar Cells with materials they have available even in remote villages. As part of the preperation for the next course and the curriculum, we will be reaching out to the out of school youth to conduct some human centered design workshops and better understand the needs of this important group of young people and how Yiya can better integrate them into our curriculum.

Designing solar cell technology
Designing solar cell technology
Designing solar cell technology
Designing solar cell technology
Designing solar cell technology
Designing solar cell technology

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

In response to school closures from COVID-19, Yiya designed a brand new offline remote learning program called Yiya AirScience.

Yiya AirScience is an interactive STEM remote learning experience designed for rural populations that have no access to internet, smartphones, or academic materials. Instead, Yiya AirScience uses only technologies that are readily available in all communities of rural Africa: simple keypad phones and radios.

Yiya AirScience launched in late August and already we have over 22,000 Ugandan youth participating, and the numbers of young people registering are increasing every day!

Yiya AirScience quick facts:

 

  • 22,000+ youth registered just 11 weeks into the program launch!

  • 6,000+ youth actively engage in the program everyday by listening to radio lessons and submitting responses to questions via free USSD messaging on a keypad phone.

  • 47% of users are youth who were not enrolled in school before the pandemic!

  • In this first unit of Yiya AirScience, youth are making solar food dryers; an inexpensive technology that demonstrates how to apply science concepts using the engineering design process and common household items to solve the problem of post-harvest storage in rural regions.

  • Families are participating in the Yiya AirScience program together! Young people and their parents/caretakers are listening to the radio lessons, working on the hands-on science experiments, and then submitting lesson responses via a shared phone.

 

Meet some of our Yiya AirScience students

Alison is a 9-year-old Yiya AirScience student from Lira. Alison heard the first Yiya AirScience lesson when she was helping her grandmother with housework when she tuned in to Unity FM Radio. She loves science and wants to be a doctor!

Pauline is from Lukome, a rural village near Gulu. She listens to Yiya AirScience on Mega FM radio in the morning while farming in her family's field. Sometimes she misses a lesson when the radio signal is weak, but she replays the lesson later by triggering a robocall of the recording via USSD on the family phone. She wants to be a midwife!

Click here to watch a demo of Yiya AirScience 

Yiya AirScience also featured in The Observer, a Ugandan Newspaper. Click here to read the article.

Stories from Yiya AirScience students

Click here to listen to stories from some of our students about how they plan to use the knowledge and technology of solar food dryers that they have learned through our Yiya AirScience program. 

 

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Team building games with students!
Team building games with students!

Summary:

When the Ugandan school year launched in February of this year, our Yiya team was raring to go! We had spent the last months of 2019 prepping and prototyping our newest engineering unit for students: Munching on Mealworms! Using agricultural engineering to farm edible insects for sustainable protein. Curriculum books and teacher manuals were ready, student engineering journals were printed, and our team had assembled the materials kits to be delivered to our 10 partner schools. We had 4 new schools join us this academic year so now the Yiya program is being directly taught to 400 students and impacting an additional 4,500 students through the 50 partner teachers we trained in February. We pushed hard from February until mid-March when all Ugandan schools were closed due to the spread of COVID-19. Please find below a summary of our activities in the first part of the year until we had to suspend in-person program delivery, and then read on to learn more about how we are pivoting to deliver offline remote learning opportunities to vulnerable students in rural areas with no access to internet or academic materials!

Report Contents:

  1. Developing the edible insect unit and farming prototype
  2. Training Head Teachers and school leaders
  3. Training partner teachers
  4. Co-teaching the edible insect unit in our 10 partner schools!
  5. Pivoting to deliver offline remote learning opportunities to rural youth

1. Developing the edible insect unit and farming prototypes

Developing the mealworm colonies

In mid-2019, in collaboration with our partners, Impact Design, Mothers Against Malnutrition and Hunger (Mamah), and Bobo Eco Farm, we obtained an import permit to import to Uganda eggs of edible molitor beetle. The mealworm colonies were set up at Bobo Eco Farm in Mityana, where the eggs hatched and the team began to grow the beetle colonies!

In December 2019, Yiya received their first cohort of beetles in the larval stage of their life cycle. We set them up in our first farm kit prototype (see below).

Making prototypes of insect farm kits 

Prototype #1

The first insect farm kit prototype was made of four plastic containers arranged in a vertical structure stand with the top most one having a wire mesh at the bottom and the other 4 with solid bottoms. It was protected from predators by a mosquito net hung from the ceiling which enclosed it. This prototype was meant to make the work less labor-intensive and occupying minimum space. The wire mesh of the bottom in the top most container was designed for the eggs to drop through to the next level when the adult beetles reproduced in the top container. However, we learned the plastic containers were too deep to allow adequate air circulation, and the mesh holes were too small so the eggs were sticking and not falling through. Our mealworm colony grew, but slowly due to these challenges.

Prototype #2

The second prototype was made to be more movable and easily foldable even into a backpack to move from place to place. It was a wooden beehive structure to evenly distribute the weight. It held four plastic washing basins, with a mosquito net hung from the ceiling to enclose it. All the basins had a solid bottom and we manually moved the adult beetles from the basin once they have laid eggs (leaving the eggs in the basin to later hatch). This prototype was more effective but still the air circulation was not enough for optimal reproduction of the beetles. Also, the beehive structure ended up being unfeasible since the wood was not cured and when the screws became a little loose, it lost stability.

Prototype #3

The third prototype of the insect farm kit is a wooden frame structure, rectangular in shape, which is taller and wider than prototype #1. It holds basins but we experimented with cutting a few of the basins in half laterally and drilling screws in the sides so they sit easily in the frame. This prototype was flexible mesh covering all four sides of the prototype, with a mesh door that opens to allow one in to move the beetles and clean their basins, etc. 

Prototype #4

The fourth prototype was the same as the third prototype except we bought square plastic sieves and rested them on top of the basins. Then the maize bran feed and the adult beetles were housed in the sieves, so that when they laid eggs, the eggs would drop down into the basin below. This worked fairly well except that a small percentage of the adult beetles would crawl through the sieve holes on the sides and fall into the lower basin where the eggs were. We are still experimenting with this prototype (our next iteration will be to cover the holes in the sides of the sieves with aluminum foil so they are slippery and the adult beetles cannot climb through them or up the sides.

Curriculum development

We designed an edible insect engineering curriculum to empower our teachers and students to develop sustainable and homegrown solutions to the problem of malnutrition through teaching them how to construct small, inexpensive edible insect farms (roughly the size of a rabbit hutch), and then showing them how to raise insects for consumption. 

The curriculum consists of a lesson guide, student engineering journals, and a materials kit. 

Teacher Lesson Guide

Teacher Lesson Guide contains background information, experiential education tips, lesson plans, and all guidance that teachers need to implement the unit in their school. The Teacher Lesson Guide is in Annex 1. 

Student Engineering Journal

We also designed a student engineering journal that contains newspaper articles, pictures, and diagrams to guide students through the lessons. It also has tables and charts for students to conduct research and record their own ideas and the data they collected. The Student Engineering Journal is in Annex 2.

Materials Kit

The materials kit contains all the materials and tools for each school to create 8 edible insect farm kits. Yiya classes at our partner schools consist of 40 students each, so each group of 5 students gets to create their own farm kit!

2. Training Head Teachers and school leaders

The workshop was held on 28th Jan 2020 from 09:00am to 05:30pm at Days Inn Hotel in Lira town center. 

We ran this workshop for school leaders from the 10 Yiya partner schools in Lira in order to introduce the Head Teachers to the edible insect unit and get their approval for farming edible insects in their schools. We explained what our 2020 Yiya program activities would be and brainstormed collaboratively with the school leaders as to how to maximize the impact of the Yiya program at their school. One of our Yiya values is lifelong learning, so we also included a leadership development session at the training where we taught the school leaders about the personality traits of Myers-Briggs and taught them how to leverage personality traits of their teachers to increase academic performance in their schools. 

3. Training partner teachers

This workshop was held on 10th Feb 2020 from 09:00am to 05:30pm at Days Inn Hotel in Lira town center. This educator workshop was a professional development training for selected teachers, called engineering educators, from the 10 Yiya partner schools. All activities were deliberately designed to serve the purpose of showing teachers how experiential learning is conducted. Teachers also practiced all the lessons in the edible insect engineering unit and planned how to co-teach the lessons to students in their schools.

4. Co-teaching the edible insect unit in our 10 partner schools!

By mid-March our team had taught up to at least Lesson 3 of the farming edible insects engineering unit (some schools got as far as Lesson 6!), with an average attendance of 96% (38 students per lesson, out of 40 registered students, for a total of 385 students actively participating in the Yiya program, out of 400 registered students amongst the 10 schools). 
52% of the active students are female and 48% are male students. 
Before schools were closed in mid-March, all Yiya partner schools had received all engineering materials to build their first edible insect farm prototypes and had also received their first batch of beetles (the adult life cycle of the mealworms). A teacher at each school who lives nearby was designated to care for the mealworm stock while school is closed.
We are lucky that our curriculum has a 6-week break built into its design. This break was designed to be time for schools to work on growing their mealworm stock before they harvest it in Term 2 and try designing new recipes for how to cook the mealworms in a way that is culturally appropriate for their local community. This 6-week growing period was supposed to happen over May and early June, so it got pushed sooner due to the lockdown. The disappointing part is that now it is the teachers caring for the mealworms and not the students, since all students have been sent home. We are ready to jump back in as soon as schools are allowed to re-open in order to complete the unit with students and get the community munching on mealworms!
5. Pivoting to deliver offline remote learning opportunities to rural youth
While schools have been closed, the Yiya team has been hard at work, brainstorming, developing, and designing strategies for how to reach rural youth in poverty-stricken areas who have no access to internet, smartphones, or academic materials. We are developing a program to get our science and engineering activities out to students without the use of internet, teachers, or expensive materials. Thisp program will involve radio broadcasted content and student interaction through realtime SMS exchange, as well as academic content shared via robocalls and mass text messages sent out to all students registered in the Yiya program. More updates coming soon as we roll out this exciting new initiative, which we are calling SomeroSimu, which is Luganda for Phone School!
Training teachers on engineering design process
Training teachers on engineering design process
Teaching about protein needs of children
Teaching about protein needs of children
Interviewing adults on daily diet
Interviewing adults on daily diet
School Leaders are engineers too!
School Leaders are engineers too!
Tasting the mealworms for the first time!
Tasting the mealworms for the first time!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Yiya Engineering Solutions

Location: Kampala - Uganda
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @YiyaSolutions
Project Leader:
Erin Fitzgerald
Kampala, Central Uganda
$28,305 raised of $40,000 goal
 
326 donations
$11,695 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Yiya Engineering Solutions has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.