One-line solution summary:
Using AI and ML to give every girl child access to quality education.
Pitch your solution.
We are solving the problem of poor education in Nigeria by making quality education easily accessible, affordable and available to every girl child, on any device, regardless of low internet penetration, erratic electricity supply, gender inequality, poor teacher-to-student ratio, lack of access to schools & quality educational resources and other access to quality education hindrances.
Simbibot is an AI-powered product which uses the maieutic learning style to ignite the creative thinking of students thereby encouraging self & lifelong learning while helping students develop their problem-solving skills and making learning fun and interactive.
By studying the learning pattern of students, the use of an offline personalised learning platform and solar-powered devices, we will scale our solution globally without the struggle of infrastructural challenges. Simbibot fosters self-learning which helps reduce the risk of child molestation and sexual harassment students can be exposed to with informal learning environments.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
The UN says over 100 million African girls are out of school (68 million girls at Secondary school age, 32 million girls at primary school age). Unfortunately, majority of the lucky ones who are in school experience a very low-quality education due to gender inequality, lack of personalised learning, financial constraints, unfavourable geographical and environmental factors, sexual assault, child abuse and other unequal learning opportunities.
This problem not only reduces the number of children with access to quality education, but it also reduces women in stem engagements and causes over 80% of students to fail qualifying exams which they require to gain admission into universities and access opportunities & scholarships locally and globally. This problem encourages parents to force their female children into early marriage and mediocre jobs while pushing male children harder to study and proceed to the next educational phase of life, causing a wide gap of higher education enrolment between the male and female gender with lower female enrolments.
What is your solution?
Our solution is Simbibot - an AI-powered bot that gives students (girl child especially) access to personalised quality education by helping them learn, master and evaluate themselves in any topic, anywhere, anytime, without internet and on any device. Simbibot uses the maieutic learning style to ignite the creativity of students and provides detailed explanatory solutions to every question.
Simbibot helps learners learn through 4 phases:
The learning phase: Contains summarized lesson notes on every topic in the curriculum.
Interactive Questions Phase: Uses the maieutic learning style to help the child master the concept.
Evaluation Phase: The child tests if he/she is fully grounded in the topic.
Forum: For children who might need extra help, Simbibot has forums where children can get help with concepts they don’t understand.
SimbiBot also gives progress report which indicates the child’s performance over a period using a well relatable chart that can be accessed by parents, guardians and/or teachers.
We use Google's Dialog flow that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to parse student's input and respond accordingly. We also make use of Python's Machine Learning Library (Scikit-learn) to train and help SimbiBot learn concepts across various areas for better handling of user requests
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
Currently, our solution serves over 73,000 secondary school students & out of school teenagers and over 50,000 primary school students. We are working towards improving the lives of over 80 million Nigerian students and out of school children by giving them access to equal learning opportunities, thereby giving them a chance for a better life.
We understand the needs of our customers and potential customers by conducting research, surveys and working with state governments to better understand current educational challenges and how our solution can solve them.
Simbibot addresses the needs of our customers and will address the needs of our potential customers through the following:
- Reduce the rate of child abuse and sexual harassment by reducing teacher-student contact in an informal learning environment.
- Improve gender equality access to education, which will further help improve areas where female children are not allowed to attend schools.
- Encourage self-study, personalised learning and lifelong learning.
- Help parents, teachers and guardians monitor children’s’ performance in real-time.
- Help students who can’t access schools and learning centres in their communities learn from home.
- Help parents give their children the best education without electricity and data issues.
- Help teachers personalize learning in their various schools.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Promote gender-inclusive and gender-responsive education for everyone, including gender non-binary and transgender learners
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
Simbibot promotes gender inclusiveness and responsiveness for everyone in the education space by giving children (especially the girl child) access to affordable quality education from the comfort of their homes and respective learning centres.
We believe that with our solution being personalized, learner-centric and inclusive for every African child, our solution will improve the gender gap in education. Females, non-binary students and transgenders who are often shamed for attending schools in our part of the world can also become successful individuals by learning with Simbibot.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Lagos, Nigeria
What is your solution’s stage of development?Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
Oyindamola Adesina, Co-founder and COO
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new application of an existing technology
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
Up until Simbibot was created, several artificial intelligence-based educational solutions have been developed without putting into consideration Africa’s infrastructure challenges and its curriculum.
In Nigeria, parents often use tutorial centres and private lesson teachers to make up for the poor quality of education their children get thereby incurring outrageous costs and exposing children to dangers. This problem is even worse for communities with very few or no teachers, schools and learning centres. The teachers in these communities are overwhelmed, and in order to reduce the student population encourage low female participation in education.
1. We are uniquely different as we help students learn and evaluate any concept using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Instead of filling the minds of the learners with content by lecturing at them, we spend more time igniting their creativity, their imagination and their problem-solving skills by actually conversing with them using the maieutic learning style.
2. We put into consideration Africa’s infrastructure challenges and curriculum. Our solution is affordable with prices as low as $25 annually for all subjects as compared to about $200 per month that parents pay for private tutoring. It also works without the internet and can be deployed via our solar-powered tabs.
3. Our contents are provided by qualified experts in every subject and are verified on a 3-layer vetting process by other qualified teachers from top schools who work with the updated curriculum.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
MySQL -> Database system for Storing data
Laravel+PHP7 on Apache Server -> For handling HTTP requests
VueJs -> For rendering on frontend of the web
Ionic+Angular -> For mobile app
The database used is MariaDB, which is a fork of MySQL that has been optimized for speed and performance.
The mobile app version of Simbi is a cross-platform app built on the Ionic and Angular framework
Provide evidence that this technology works.
Research Gate: https://www.google.com/url?sa=...
Forbes Article on AI in education: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/07/12/ai-applications-in-education/#72311d5162a3
Several educational platforms use artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance learning. Our product is currently being used by over 73,000 Nigerian students which they use to learn and prepare for their examinations.
We also recently entered a white label partnership with a reputable company in Nigeria, Dufil Prima Foods, which gives 50,000 students access to our product in their fan club, Indomitables Bright Minds.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
In 2018, Nigeria’s minister of education declared a state of emergency in education due to low teacher to student ratio (1:73), a high number of out-of-school children (16 million) and unsafe & unconducive learning environment. We built Simbibot, a solution that personalizes learning for every child, affordable and can be used anywhere thereby protecting children from unsafe environments.
Last year, we recorded an 80% examination success rate among 20,000 students who learnt with Simbibot. This year, out of 50,000 students who used our solution to study before their qualifying exams, we recorded a 92% success rate out of which 40% of the students previously failed these qualifying exams. With these testimonies and impact, we successfully partnered with the Lagos State and Ogun state government to deploy our solutions to their students, a project which has been put on hold due to the coronavirus lockdown.
However, our numbers and active daily user rates increased drastically during this pandemic and parents have given testimonies of how Simbibot is an effective and affordable solution for their children. A common problem in Nigeria’s higher education sector is student’s settling for a course of study they did not choose (usually a non STEM course) because they could not meet up with their cut off mark. With students scoring high in their exams after preparing with SimbiBot, they are more confident that they can choose to study whatever course they wish to study.
Scaling this solution to every state in Nigeria will mean that every child (especially the girl child), will have access to quality education, regardless of the problems causing Nigeria’s educational deterioration. Therefore, we can improve Nigeria’s education system by giving every child access to equal learning opportunities.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
Current total users: 73, 483
Proposed target 2021: 500,000
5 years target: 10,000,000
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
- Achieve a 100% completion rate for all educational contents to the platform.
- Employ and train more teachers across all education categories to enable them to provide contents for our platform.
- Increase the number of students on Simbibot scholarship scheme by 50%.
December 2021 - 2022
- Upload all video/animation content to further explain concepts to the learners and integrate AR for abstract concepts.
- Train and hire teachers and animators to provide video content as an option on our platform.
- Partner with other Edtech companies in the AR space to provide contents for further explanations.
- Expand our reach to other anglophone West African countries.
- Begin to serve the under deserved project
- Apply for grants and funds to enable us to provide our solution for at least 2million out of school children for free.
- Partner with the state and federal government to make the solution available for students in their schools for free.
- Make at least 1 Simbibot device available in every home with children through these partnerships.
- Carry out research and release our research paper to show the overall success rates among all categories of students and the progress of Simbibot.
- Reach 10million users milestone.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
Financial: Our current financial strength hinders us from improving the product to enhance exponential growth. Scaling to other parts of the country with minimal internet access is also affected by financial constraints.
Technical: We also need a Machine Learning expert to help us further enhance Simbibot’s ability to study the educational, behavioural and psychological pattern of students. We believe this can further improve the efficiency of Simbibot’s personalization and inclusion.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
Financial: We are looking forward to raising enough money to help us scale exponentially to further help give students access to quality education. Increase in sales through ads and partnerships and more white-label deals will also help us raise the funds we need for growth.
Technical: Participating in programs like MIT Solve can help us raise the funding we need, give us access to the right connections, advice and knowledge that will help us hire the right talent.
What type of organization is your solution team?Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit
How many people work on your solution team?
Full time: 9 staff.
How many years have you worked on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
AbdulAzeez Ogunjobi leads the team as the CEO having been at the helm of Faceyourbook mobile apps and bringing onboard nearly 9 years of experience as a trained educator as well as a hardcore techie.
Oyindamola Adesina's passion for people and technology makes her oversee ongoing business operations within the company. She is the COO at Simbi Interactives with a wealth of experience in Project and Product Management.
Sodeeq Elusoji brings significant experience as a full stack developer having built AI-powered products, Blockchain dApps and various web and mobile apps qualifying him as a strong CTO to lead the technical future of Simbi.
The three founders have worked on successful EdTech projects in the past and have the experience and capabilities to drive the product to success. Working on Simbibot was born out of the need to make quality education easily accessible, affordable and available to every African child - a mission which is a growing success during this pandemic. Our fast-growing traction and daily active users since inception is proof in itself that EdTech in Africa has come to stay."
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
We sealed a white-label partnership deal with Dufil Prima Foods Limited to make Simbibot available as Indomitables fan club students’ official leaning platform in the light to help them learn from home during the pandemic.
We are in partnership with the Lagos and Ogun State Government to deploy Simbibot applications in their schools in order to lighten the burden of the student-to-teacher ratio.
What is your business model?
Parents and guardians use Simbibot as a complementary learning tool to make up for the poor education system in Nigeria. They pay $3 monthly or $25 annually to access our content as compared to $2,000 which is paid annually for tutorial centres and private tutors Some students who have previously failed qualifying exams into universities also pay for our platform to enable them to learn and prepare for their exams.
Government and stakeholders also pay to grant their students access to learn with Simbibot.
We also have scholarship sponsors pay on behalf of promising students who are willing to learn.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
What is your path to financial sustainability?
Raising Investment Capital
Why are you applying to Solve?
MIT SOLVE will give us the funding and support we need to scale exponentially across the 36 states in Nigeria. We need support to expand beyond the major cities in Nigeria, penetrate suburban areas within the country and expand to international markets.
Engineering growth: We would like to add more to the team of our amazing engineers so that we can excellently implement the features on our roadmap within the set time. We would also love to expose our existing and newly acquired engineers to the knowledge we would have access to within this program, especially with our machine learning in order to make Simbibot more intelligent with the ability to perform more functions to make learning inclusive, learner-centric and effective.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
Funding: Our current financial strength hinders us from improving the product to enhance exponential growth. Scaling to other parts of the country with minimal internet access is also affected by financial constraints.
Technical/Talent recruitment: We also need a Machine Learning expert to help us further enhance Simbibot’s ability to study the educational, behavioural and psychological pattern of students. We believe this can further improve the efficiency of Simbibot’s personalization and inclusion.
Advisors: We are looking towards having advisors that can guide us through our mission of global scalability and partnerships.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
AR for education organizations - we will be working with them to integrate our AR feature for the explanation of abstract content.
Telecos - in a bid to make our solution inclusive, we will be deploying our solution via USSD.