|Name of Innovation:||
Akili and Me/Ubongo Kids
There is an education crisis in Africa, and most of the 440 million kids on the continent stand to miss out on the life-changing opportunity of a quality education. The problem starts from the earliest years, with 44% of children aged 3-4 in Africa experiencing low cognitive of social-emotional development. They enter school with insufficient learning readiness, then the problems compound from there. School systems are unable to meet the demand, and families have little access to informal learning resources for their children to use outside of school. Almost half of Africa’s population are children, and 2 billion more will be born over the next 35 years. We need solutions that can help fill this gap, at low cost and massive scale, to help Africa’s next generation realize their full potential.
And now, millions of kids across Africa are out of school due to the COVID crisis, and still need access to good quality education that can reach them on whatever technological platform they have access to.
|Description of Innovation:||
Ubongo brings kids and their families a fun new way to learn, on the technology that they already have. We work toward our mission and vision through a comprehensive process of thorough human-centered research, powerful storytelling, distribution at massive scale, and rigorous impact analysis. We work directly with kids and caregivers to develop and deliver content that has a real impact in their lives.
We know that kids learn best when they’re highly engaged and having fun! Our edutainment uses engaging storylines in local languages, catchy songs, beautiful animation and beloved characters to educate and entertain kids.
Akili and Me engages kids aged 3-6 and their parents to develop school readiness through early numeracy, pre-literacy, languages skills, motor develop and social-emotional learning, through fun stories and songs.
Ubongo Kids inspires kids aged 7-14 to use their ubongo (“brain” in Kiswahili) to solve problems and find the fun in learning. It covers math, science, technology and engineering, plus a wide range of life skills, from growth mindset and curiosity to financial literacy, and the concept of shared humanity, through fun stories and songs.
Currently, our product offering is on multiple platforms across Africa, including TV, VOD, Radio, basic and smart phones, Apps and IVRs, ebooks and print books, and printables. Our content comes in English, Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, Kikuyu, Luo Hausa and French.
Some of our content can be found on our toolkits platform free for download here: https://toolkits.ubongo.org/
Ubongo’s edutainment currently reaches African families at a cost of just $0.13 per families per year, and we will continue to reduce the cost per beneficiary as we scale to new countries.
We aim to scale Ubongo’s edutainment and impact to 20 million African families in 9 languages by the end of 2020, and to reach 60 million families by 2025. We’re systematizing our stepwise process of entering new countries, where we first concentrate on reach and awareness through broadcast, then engagement and deeper learning through online platforms and offline activities, and finally on last-mile reach through on-the-ground partnerships.
Preschoolers across Africa who watch Akili and Me significantly outperform their peers in school readiness, even when controlling for socioeconomic status, school, age and parents’ level of education. Primary aged kids who watch Ubongo Kids improve significantly in math, science and reading outcomes.
Parents and Caregivers have testified to the usefulness of our content in homeschooling or as part of extra tuition and edutainment for their child and teachers have used our products to support their classroom teachings.
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