Kenya-based learning accelerator, teaching students throughout Africa the digital skills they need to become the global talent force of tomorrow.
Half of the 50 million African university students who graduate each year are unemployed. It is not for a lack of jobs. Rather, universities and other education programs deliver outdated, theoretical content that does not match the needs of contemporary employers. Within Kenya, 40% of college graduates cannot find employment, and only 1% of computer science majors secure positions in their field.
Society is digitalizing rapidly, and companies need computer programmers, software engineers and cybersecurity experts. On a global level, and especially in Africa, education hasn’t caught up with the needs of the modern marketplace, disserving ambitious students who want meaningful employment and companies that rely on skilled talent.
Moringa School, based in Nairobi, Kenya, fills this void with a learning accelerator that provides young Africans with digital and professional skills training. We offer a world-class program to high-potential students pursuing technical careers, ensuring that students of all backgrounds can enroll by offering loans and income-sharing agreements to those who need them. Our mission is to transform higher education throughout Africa, enabling graduates to be globally competitive with their peers.
Moringa’s approach focuses on two key pillars that help teachers maximize student potential: a blended learning model and market relevance. In blended learning, courses are online, but students complete them in the classroom with a teacher’s guidance. Through market research and testing, we ensure that curriculum content and the methodologies teachers use are applicable to employers’ actual needs. Teachers simulate a real working environment and facilitate peer learning and projects that require students to apply what they’ve learned. Lessons are digital, collaborative, and never theoretical.
These strategies are underutilized, and we’re hoping to change that. Moringa wants to bring the blended learning model, and a rigorous focus on tailoring education to marketplace needs, into the mainstream. This would change the way teachers teach on a wide scale, making them more effective in guiding tech students to become strong developers and holistic leaders who are ready to use their skills beyond the classroom.
Following program completion, we give students a direct channel to job attainment. Moringa has partnered with 50+ leading companies such as Craft Silicon and Safaricom to facilitate students’ transition into the workforce. We connect students with these hiring partners through job fairs and meetings. Our graduates see a 96% job placement rate post-Moringa, and they aren’t just any jobs—alumni earn a salary increase of 350%. By enrolling, students give themselves a launching pad for long-term success.
This solution is built for expansion. In addition to teaching students directly, Moringa offers its curriculum to partners in other emerging markets. Because our curriculum is technology-based, it is low-cost and easy to scale. It has been used by educators in Pakistan through partnerships with the World Bank and Pakistani government, Hong Kong with Accelerate, and Ghana with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. We’re expanding to Uganda and Rwanda in 2018 and will grow our global partnerships in coming years to reach students and teachers across the African continent.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Nairobi, Kenya
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
What makes our solution innovative:
Our model is a different way of approaching education. Moringa uses state-of-the-art learning techniques while maximizing efficiency and streamlining costs, allowing us to scale easily. We strive for constant evolution to best meet employer demands by adding curriculums to fill voids in African education, remaining on the cutting edge of technical needs in the modern marketplace and giving students the opportunity to pursue their chosen specialization. Our courses will now include data science and cybersecurity. Moringa’s model is cost-effective and high-impact, reaching the greatest number of students with the training they need to succeed in a competitive global talent pool.
How technology is integral to our solution:
Moringa School exists because of technology, and is powered by it. Canvas, our learning management system, is the medium our teachers use to train students. Students complete course content through Canvas while they are in the classroom. The system alerts teachers if students are underperforming, allowing them to provide focused attention to those who need additional help. Furthermore, using a technology-based curriculum is integral to our success because it keeps the cost of education low and makes scaling possible.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
This year we will reach a major milestone: for the first time, we will directly operate outside of Kenya through a partnership in Uganda with Outbox. Second, we will increase the reach of our free secondary school program in Kenya. On the side of our work that focuses on geographical expansion and operational scale, our coding course will launch in Rwanda through a collaboration with the Rwandan government and GIZ. The goal of this partnership is to train 150 women to code in the next year. Finally, we will launch two new curriculums on cybersecurity and data science.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
To scale, Moringa School will continue expanding our global partnerships. In the coming years, our primary focus will be scaling our curriculums through new campuses. Our Nairobi school will become a lab school where we do research and development, develop new courses, hone our teaching methods, and ensure our content remains relevant for employers. Besides opening campuses in major markets, we will build partnerships with universities, tech hubs and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa, who with support from our trained teachers, will reach thousands of students with the Moringa program.
Our promotional video:
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
The countries where we currently operate:
Where we plan to expand in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
To attract student customers, Moringa uses community engagement, strategic partnerships and digital marketing, with digital marketing as our primary channel. In Nairobi, students attend classes at our centrally-located school. We expand B2B partnerships through connections and name recognition and reach more student beneficiaries through classes executed by these partners. We send Moringa’s teachers to help with partners’ program launch and teach on-site. We expect partners’ courses to see high demand from their students, resulting in sustained partnerships. Finally, we partner with Kenyan secondary schools which use our curriculum for free in after-school programs, exposing young students to the tech field.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
For us, success means employment. Our students have a 96% job placement rate post-Moringa, and earn a salary increase of 350%. Moringa has graduated nearly 600 students who now have meaningful employment and the skills needed to succeed in the workforce long-term. This year, we will train 750 students in Nairobi while maintaining our job placement rate. In Uganda we will train 40 students, and in Rwanda, 60. In our free secondary-school program, students lead classes and teachers facilitate, giving students teaching experience and exposing more teachers to the blended learning model. This program will reach 500 Kenyans this year.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
In 12 months we will be directly serving 2,810 students, and in three years, 5,000. Our teachers provide high-quality technical education students might not receive otherwise due to limited options and high costs. The beauty of our solution is that effects are immediate. Upon graduating, students are not only equipped with the technical skills they need to be competitive, they are linked with employers. Enrolling with Moringa results in high chances of securing a job shortly after the program. From there, it’s up to students to build on what they’ve learned to form long and successful tech careers.
How our solution team is organized:For-Profit
How many people work on our solution team:20+
How many years we have been working on our solution:3-4 years
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
Moringa is powered by a leadership team with extensive experience and wide networks in their areas of direction. As CEO of Moringa, I am effective at forming partnerships with funders and experts in the tech industry, which has so far resulted in international recognition including Forbes 30 Under 30, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, Financial Times, IFC, and support from the World Bank and UNESCO. Director of Growth and Infrastructure Meredith Karazin has 15+ years of experience in scaling up education organizations, and Director of Finance Fausto Moreira is an INSEAD graduate with 7+ years of private equity experience.
Our revenue model:
Moringa’s primary revenue sources are student tuition and partners using our curriculum. These global customers are universities, tech hubs, entrepreneurs and governments. In 2018 we’re raising investment and grant funding to mitigate challenges as we grow.
Our solution is sustainable because it’s cost-effective even at scale. B2B customers cover the costs of marketing and execution—Moringa’s only expenses are the staff member we send to support them, back office support for marketing/admissions, and learning platform cost. At our Nairobi school, students complete courses online and class sizes are limited. This eliminates the need for high teacher concentration, keeping education cost low while ensuring effective learning.
Moringa School was founded with a focus on building a market-based solution that would pay for itself. Because of this discipline, Moringa broke even in the third month of operation, and has since continued to break even. Moringa is raising funding to push faster growth. That success demonstrates the program’s attractiveness for Kenyans and foretells continued high enrollment. On the B2B side, international organizations regularly contact us expressing interest in our curriculum. High demand on the B2C and B2B fronts proves the viability of becoming profitable. We are on track to reach profitability in 2020.
Why we are applying to Solve:
As we expand across throughout Africa, we are seeking a better understanding of how to most effectively scale our work. We want to know the best teaching methods and strategies. Solve has an extensive network, and we hope to connect with organizations doing similar work to learn about their approaches. We also hope that Solve membership will increase our exposure, helping us make connections with leading philanthropists and investors. We are eager to connect with likeminded funders who can not only support us financially, but help us strengthen our model and infrastructure.
The key barriers for our solution:
One of Moringa’s principal barriers to success is challenges with antiquated accreditation policies in various African governments. Solve can help through MIT's strong governmental connections, which can assist us to push through policies that allow our innovation to flourish across the African continent.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers:
Audrey Cheng Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Moringa School