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:
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!
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