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Ribbon HUNDRED 2021
African edutainment to help kids learn, and use their learning to change their lives!

Ubongo

location_on Tanzania
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.
Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021

Key figures

Innovation Overview

3 - 14
Age Group
17 000 000
Children/Users
38
Countries
2013
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
507
Views
Updated on April 22nd, 2021
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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!

 

Research

HundrED Academy Review

Impressive innovation that is offered in different languages, developed through investigation and conversations with proposed users/communities and offered through a variety of channels - already reaching scale.

- HundrED Academy Member

I love this innovation, for children in Africa to have access to material where they see themselves and others like them learning math is very important. AS we think of providing windows and mirrors for children, this will provide both depending on where it is used around the world.

- HundrED Academy Member
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.
Academy review results
Scalability
Impact
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process
Media

See this innovation in action

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/

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

October 2019
2019 NEXT Billion EdTech Prize at Global Education & Skills Forum
October 2017
2017 WISE Award from the World Innovation Summit for Education
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