Bridging the digital divide with fun learning content distributed through the networks and technology African kids already use
Covid-19 disrupted education for more than 1.5 billion learners and forced students to abandon formal education, many of whom might not return. Much of the world switched immediately to online learning and were provided with educational opportunities at home. Most students in Africa, however, did not share the same privilege, shedding light on the widening digital divide in learning.
According to UNESCO, around 90 percent of African learners do not have access to computers, 82 percent cannot get online, and most depend solely on formal education systems to learn. Vulnerable populations including children living in remote areas, those with disabilities, and girls and children living in conflict zones comprise a large portion of this disadvantaged demographic. Moreover, learning content is not regularly created with these populations in mind, causing kids who need specialized education to be left behind. These challenges leave a massive, global inequity in learning.
Ubongo is a Pan-African social enterprise that produces and delivers fun learning content in the form of educational cartoons to kids across Africa in their local languages and on the technology they have access to. Ubongo entertains kids to learn and to love learning by sharing their two main series through broadcast TV and radio to reach 25 million kids across Africa. “Akili and Me” is the pre-primary show, and “Ubongo Kids” is a show for kids aged 7-14 that teaches STEM, math, literacy, and character strengths. From these brands, Ubongo has also built out more products like e-books, apps, and printable materials.
By co-creating content with families and children and adapting the content produced into over 11 local languages, Ubongo’s content is both engaging and impactful, resulting in improved learning outcomes across various populations.
Ubongo provides free edutainment programs on TV, radio, and digital platforms in 11 languages across 41 countries.
In 2020 alone, Ubongo’s content reached 30 million unique viewers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Governments across Africa spend an average of 5 percent of their GDP on education initiatives in their respective countries. Outside of government spending, there are billions of dollars given by multi-laterals and philanthropic institutions in order to improve education across the continent. Ubongo will be able to sustainably provide top-quality education that can be used across the continent at just $0.07 per child through broadcast and less than $0.20 per child for community distribution. With a budget of $8 million, Ubongo can reach more than 60 million households by 2025.
Won The GM Prize at Solve Challenge Finals.
Partnerships with major broadcasters in 21 countries, and solar technology companies, including TrendSolar, M-Kopa, Dlight, Buffalo Grid.
Connections to cross-sector leaders with experience in international development, philanthropy, media, and fundraising to serve as strategic advisors and board members.
Strategic partners from any industry in Sub-Saharan Africa to help build Ubongo’s on-the-ground network and distribute content to the most remote students in the last mile.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Fatema Ismailjee Ubongo