Skip Navigation

Pitch: How to Move Learning from Books to Bytes

First, you can learn basically anything for free online these days.

Second, the cost to deliver that training is falling.

The Rumie Initiative is working to help improve global skills training for underserved communities by leveraging these two trends.

How has their model worked to date?

Rumie builds tablets loaded with a full educational curriculum. That curriculum is developed by curating free learning tools from the internet. Those tablets work totally offline and can be charged cheaply with solar power. And, Rumie deploys the tablets on the ground and tracks student progress with the help of local partners.

In other words, they’re working with local partners to improve curriculum by moving from shipping paper books to digital delivery of content.

Their founder Tariq Fancy calls it a “leapfrog from books to bytes.”

A key part of the model involves these local partnerships. Rumie specializes in building the low-cost, flexible technology. The partner focuses on localizing the content and programming, implementing the system in each country, and helping sync the tablets online to track student progress and gender equality.

The Rumie Initiative ran their pilot a few years ago in Haiti, and they’ve scaled since then to more than 20 countries. Those countries range from Kenya where they’re working with Junior Achievement financial literacy training to Jordan where they’re working with UNICEF on refugee youth skills programs.

The next step for the Rumie Initiative?

Rumie is testing working with smartphones with Roshan Telecom in Afghanistan. That’s where Solve comes into play.

Rumie was selected as a Solver in the Youth, Skills, and the Workforce of the Future Challenge to help them move this system from tablets to smartphones to more easily scale to reach millions. And, Rumie was selected for the Atlassian Foundation and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade prizes to help upskill students in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Here’s their story. Watch Tariq Fancy pitch the Rumie Initiative in September at the Solve Challenge Finals in New York City:

Read the solution application for the Rumie Initiative. Interested in partnering with them as they scale for global impact? Solve wants to hear from you. Reach out at

Tariq Fancy pitches the Rumie Initiative at the Solve Challenge Finals in the Women and Technology Challenge, September 17, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Stuart / MIT Solve)

Watch more from this series:
Previous post: Digital Citizen Fund
Next post: Digital Cognition Technologies (DCT)


Related Challenge


Youth, Skills, & the Workforce of the Future

Learn more about this challenge

Related Event

Solve Challenge Finals 2017

Apella | New York City

See Event Details

Related Articles

to Top