Header Image: Andela
Learning is crucial to development. To cope with learning challenges, a range of learning initiatives in Kenya are helping young people to acquire education and skills via Smartphone, print, and free, open source online training programs.
Learning is the fuel needed for economic growth; it is the driver of innovation, and a platform to create jobs for many.
Additionally, education equips people and their societies, with the skills that enable them to escape poverty, and work towards prosperity.
With quality education, societies are bound to take part in political processes that affect their lives, leading to better health, and more secure livelihoods.
It is because of foreseeing and the push to create a brighter future for the next generation that some entrepreneurs have concentrated on creating tech solutions to address the education challenge in Kenya, and Africa at large.
With learning institutions growing expensive each day there is a need for better systems that are not only cheaper but also reliable.
Captured below are homemade solutions for local learning challenges in Kenya:
One of the aftermaths of the disputed 2007 elections in Kenya was a scared young generation.
To help tackle the fear, Rob Burnet established ‘Well Told Story’, – a research consultancy which is famed for creating Shujaaz (heroes)- an international Emmy-winning comic book. Shujaaz, gives information on various areas including contraception, sexuality, farming tips, politics, entertainment, careers, among others.
Burnet estimates the readership to be five million Kenyans aged between 10-25 years with a monthly circulation of 500,000 copies.
The comic content, which is also aired on a daily FM radio show, distributed via Facebook accounts, YouTube videos, and text messages, is produced by vibrant young people in Well Told Story’s office in Nairobi.
Burnet is optimistic that Shujaaz is making a great societal impact and believes that up to 62 percent of teenagers in high school make better choices due to the information provided in the book.
Just like the name suggests, this one is a solution to tackle learning in universities. Engineered through a partnership between Daystar University in Nairobi and California startup, OneUni, the project is making education accessible to more Kenyans.
Together, the two partners have created Daystar Mobile, Africa’s first Smartphone degree program. All course materials are offered through an application.
Prospective students register, and upload required materials online and wait for a confirmation email. Once their eligibility is approved, they download the degree program app on Google Play to access course materials. The app is also available on other Android devices like laptops and tablets.
The vast program includes lectures, videos, and interactive activities. It also has chat capabilities to communicate with mentors as well as other students. Moreover, it has a data plan included on the monthly schedule fees to enable students to be connected all the time. Students take an in-person invigilated exam, making it a credible course, which requires less traveling and expenses to learn.
The first bunch of students commenced last September, and targeted teachers working in primary and secondary schools who wish to expand their knowledge.
In future, OneUni and Daystar plan to expand their model to reach thousands of students across Africa.
With so many barriers to education, a number of students are not able to continue with education after primary school due to inadequate funds.
Two brothers, Jay and Mick Larson have created a platform to support young people through Tunapanda Institute, a free, open source online training program.
Currently, Tunapanda Institute which means ‘we are planting, we are growing’ in Swahili delivers three-month intensive learning courses in technology, design and business, which gives students vital skills that can act as an alternative to a high school diploma.
Located in Nairobi’s Kibera area, the institute organizes specific workshops targeting mainly girls, to offer training on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields. To date, 100 people have graduated from the program. According to the institute, 85 percent of the graduants have gained meaningful employment. The institute gets funds through crowdfunding.
From Smartphone to comic books shared on social media and other conventional media platforms, more young Kenyans are set to get the much needed information, leading to better societies.
Header Image: Andela
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