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Ubongo

location_on Tanzania

African edutainment to help kids learn, and use their learning to change their lives!

Ubongo has the largest "classroom" in Africa, with over 17 million kids learning via our fun TV, radio and mobile edutainment programs. We leverage the power of entertainment, the reach of mass media, and the efficacy of localized, kid-centered pedagogies to bring kids across Africa fun, effective learning experiences at low cost and massive scale. Made in Africa, for Africa.

HundrED 2023
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

HundrED 2022

HundrED 2021

Web presence

2013

Established

17M

Children/users

38

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Updated
January 12th, 2023

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

There is an education crisis in Africa, and most of the 500 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. 

In Tanzania, 55% of 10-16 year olds fail baseline math and reading tests set for an 8 year old, and over half of primary students do not own a single textbook. Schools are overcrowded, and the system is rote and rigid, leaving kids discouraged and unmotivated to learn. 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. 

How does your innovation work in practice?

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. 

Over 17 million families in Africa learn with us monthly via TV, radio and mobile phones. We broadcast on free TV or radio nationwide in 18 African countries and 6 languages. Kids who watch our edu-cartoons have significant gains in cognitive development, social emotional skills and health knowledge, and 99% of Tanzanian parents using our products say that Ubongo’s edutainment has improved their child’s quality of life!

How has it been spreading?

Our content is freely available for non-commercial use via a CC-NC-ND-BY license. You can explore and download from our Toolkits Website or check out YouTube channels:

Akili and Me English / Akili and Me Kiswahili / Ubongo Kids English / Ubongo Kids Kiswahili / Ubongo Kinyarwanda / Ubongo Hausa ... and many more launching soon.

We have a number of free Android apps in English and Kiswahili available on Google Play.

You can find out more about our shows at: http://www.ubongo.org/shows/ 

If I want to try it, what should I do?

We currently broadcast on free TV or radio channels in over 40 countries in Africa, with nationwide reach in 18 countries. We have programs available in Kiswahili, English, French, Hausa, Kinyarwanda, Juba Arabic, isiZulu and seSotho, and we're working on many other Africa language adaptations coming soon!

 

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Ubongo is making learning accessible and engaging by providing relevant education to children in Africa. The delivery of their content through a variety of channels as well as in multiple languages like Kiswahili, English, French, Hausa, Kinyarwanda, Juba Arabic, isiZulu and seSotho helps to increase their impact and scale throughout the continent.

HundrED Academy Reviews
The reach-through mass media is enormous and the fact that Unbongo is already available in so many languages makes it highly scalable.
Ubongo has already positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of children, and is on a continued path to reach and transform the lives of even more children and families.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Media

Keeping Clean to Fight off Germs! | Compilations from Akili and Me | African Educational Cartoons
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOUM41kAzMU&feature=emb_logo
STORYTIME: Akili Learns to Wash and Clean! | Akili and Me FULL STORY | Cartoons for Preschoolers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJyTOyXG_gQ&feature=emb_logo
Innovators Mobilize to Help Developing Countries Combat COVID-19 - Grand Challenges Canada
https://www.grandchallenges.ca/2020/innovators-mobilize-to-help-developing-countries-combat-covid-19/
Millions of African children rely on TV education during pandemic
https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/schools/millions-of-african-children-rely-on-tv-education-during-pandemic-141559
Millions of African children rely on TV education during pandemic - Metro US
https://www.metro.us/millions-of-african-children/
Millions of African children rely on TV education during pandemic - CNBC Africa
https://www.cnbcafrica.com/insights/2020/09/16/millions-of-african-children-rely-on-tv-education-during-pandemic/
Ubongo injects $25,000 into 'Building Brains Conference' to improve early learning in Africa | News Ghana
https://newsghana.com.gh/ubongo-injects-25000-into-building-brains-conference-to-improve-early-learning-in-africa/
Media for Black Children Matters: New Akili and Me Podcast Expands Access and Content for Black Parents and Families Seeking More Exposure to Inclusive Characters
https://podnews.net/press-release/akili-and-me
Ubongo’s online platform to help home learning after school closure
https://www.ippmedia.com/en/business/ubongo%E2%80%99s-online-platform-help-home-learning-after-school-closure
La mitad de los niños en edad escolar en África, sin colegio y sin internet
https://elpais.com/elpais/2020/09/07/planeta_futuro/1599464491_068850.html
The broadcaster teaching millions of Africa's kids | Reuters Video
https://www.reuters.com/video/watch/idOVCVY2IK3
TV replaces teachers for African children amid coronavirus curbs
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/15/tv-replaces-teachers-for-african-children-amid-coronavirus-curbs/

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