First Leap² Innovation Challenge. Theme: Education.
Currently over 6 million kids are out-of-school. Msoma aims to bridge the literacy gap through mobile technology in areas where mainstream school system are unavailable or unattainable. Their innovation achieves this through utilizing basic mobile technology available in the affected areas.
The North Eastern part of Kenya borders war tone Somali, this causes Alshabab militants to cross the vast and porous border and terrorize residents on the frontier. Normally these terrorist target schools and any other education institution, they do not want local kids to access education. This has led teachers to exit the region in masses leaving schools to close down.
The founder tels: In January 2015 after watching these events, I decided to go and volunteer in the region just after my graduation as a professional teacher. The situation on the ground was hard to behold. Everything had stalled, school buildings had collapsed , kids of school going age were busy herding, because the society has an ancient nomadic culture.
I decided to start a small learning center little did I know that my solution would not last long- had tried to solve a problem with old methods. At first I started with 10 kids but within a week I had 20 kids, all hungry to earn some skill to help them survive in a modern day world. With this work load I tried to persuade my teacher friends whom we had graduated with to come over and help me with the teaching. Within a few days the number of kids increased and that attracted the eyes of the terrorist militia group.
It became hard for my friends to stay in such volatile area and had to go back home. Beaten hands up, my desire to hep these kids was getting distracted. I just wanted to try all means to provide learning. One of the best idea was to emulate what mobile technology had achieved in finance and try to see how I could use the same technology to achieve my target. That is how Msoma education technology firm was born.
Msoma Platform is an Education technology assessment and learning tool that is solving the challenges and barriers of the fixed schooling system through basic, effective and economically sustainable mobile technology. It is effective especially in areas where educational schooling systems have been damaged by war, emergencies, natural catastrophes etc.
In Kenya overall education provision has been a big problem to the national government, NGOs & educators, this is because of the unique
problems facing us ranging from war with Somali based Alshabab terror group, our nomadic culture, poor infrastructure, lack of parental participation in learning process of their children, lack of academic assessment resource reference & poor teacher learner ratio of 1:100.
It is important for us to be innovative in the Ed-tech sectors so as to overcome these challenges. According to the Kenya Ministry of Education there are over 4.6 million children of ages 6-17 whom are out of school, with the education sector receiving 6.6% of GDP. These root problems have culminated in to a crisis that threatens to roll back all efforts made in the provision of education, leading to the following problems;
1. Difficulty to access physical schools by learners especially in the North Eastern part of Kenya
2. Unrest and violence in schools as a result of exam unpreparedness.
3. Lack of a reference resource for teacher pedagogy tools.
4. Unemployment of trained teachers- teacher recruitment has been unsatisfactory .
How can m-learning technology solve the above education
problems? According to IT Authority of Kenya, there are about 32 million mobile subscribers, and a mobile penetration of 82%. Mobile technology in Kenya has been used to change life positively in banking (m-pesa), Agriculture (m-shamba), Traffic (m3route app) and information sharing via Ushahindi platform. We have developed a mobile learning technology that is using basic mobile technology which is effective and economically sustainable, a platform that will assist learners in self studies hence solving the barriers of fixed schooling systems. Learning content is being provided through:
1. SMS short codes.
2. VOIP (Voice over internet protocol)
4. Our Msoma platform