Press release

UK tech companies deliver e-learning to Kenya’s marginalised girls

Avanti, sQuid, Whizz Education & Camara Education in UK aid partnership to improve education for over 25,000 girls and track impact of early, child and forced marriage.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Pupils wait in line to begin class at a temporary tent school at the Ifo camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Picture: UNHCR/S. Modola
Pupils wait in line to begin class at a temporary tent school in Dadaab, Kenya. Picture: UNHCR / S. Modola

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced a ground-breaking strategic partnership with the private sector to deliver e-learning programmes in Kenya to thousands of marginalised girls.

Project iMlango is a first-of-its-kind e-learning partnership, led by global satellite operator Avanti Communications and its partners: sQuid, the smartcard and digital payments system provider; online maths tutoring provider, Whizz Education; and technology NGO, Camara Education. The integrated programme aims to improve learning outcomes for 25,675 marginalised girls across 195 Kenyan primary schools.

The project aims to uniquely address the cultural and financial issues that can lead to reduced school attendance and drop outs, with electronic attendance monitoring and conditional payments to families. At the programme’s core sits an internet learning platform, accessed via high-speed satellite broadband connectivity, where partners provide students with interactive, individualised learning tools.

Project iMlango will deliver:

  • High-speed satellite broadband connectivity to schools;
  • Personalised maths tuition with a virtual online tutor, alongside digital learning content for maths, literacy and life skills;
  • Tuition and support to teachers to use ICT in their teaching;
  • Electronic attendance monitoring with conditional payments - to incentivise families to send their daughters to school – for use with local merchants;
  • In-field capacity in IT, technology and support resources;
  • Real-time project monitoring and measurement;

Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister at DFID, said:

Education is vital to helping improve the life chances of millions of marginalised girls and protecting them from harmful practises like child and forced marriage.

Through this private sector partnership we are able to deliver innovative and cutting edge solutions that mean marginalised girls in Kenya get the education they deserve.

David Williams, Chief Executive at Avanti Communications, commented:

Project iMlango is a unique combination of high-speed satellite broadband and e-commerce technology, supported by interactive educational and IT resources.Directly addressing the societal barriers girls face in attending school, the programme will impact Kenyan girls and their communities on a huge scale.

We are extremely proud to lead such a ground-breaking technical solution and to be working in consortium with such innovative partners. We believe the programme could have significant application across the education sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Adam Smith, Chief Executive at sQuid, commented:

We have been preparing the ground for Project iMlango for some time, following the successful deployment of our digital transaction platform in Kenya.

Project iMlango builds on our UK education sector services and on our payments capability in aid environments, and with the programme partners we create a true end-to-end service to tackle a really important set of issues relating to girls education.

Richard Marett, Chief Executive at Whizz Education, commented:

Project iMlango brings together proven innovative learning initiatives and a blend of technology, on the ground experience and best practices to provide a transformative opportunity for marginalised girls to develop their learning, build self-esteem, self-confidence and raise aspirations.

WhizzEducation is proud to participate and contribute to a project in which each child will be given a new opportunity to reach their potential and through that, positively impact the future development of entire communities.

John Fitzsimmons, Chief Executive at Camara Education, commented:

Project iMlango is hugely exciting for Camara Education. It is an honour to work with the Department for International Development for the first time. It is also exciting to work with such a diverse and successful set of companies in the consortium.

In addition, the Monitoring and Evaluation results will, no doubt, demonstrate that when ICT in Education is done properly it has a significant impact on the quality of education. However for all our excitement, it is nothing compared to that of the Kenyan students who will have access to a hugely improved education shortly.

The programme has been designed with the ability to measure and benchmark Project iMlango’s impact in real-time. Data includes daily attendance statistics at the whole school level for over 100,000 children , as well as measurement of access to the learning platform and charting each student’s individual progress over time.

Notes to Editors

  1. Girls who remain in education are less likely to marry as children.
  2. One million children in Kenya regularly do not attend school; 2012/13 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report (GMR)
  3. iMlango, derived from the Swahili word, ‘mlango’ which means doorway or portal.
  4. Families play a critical role in girls both accessing and remaining in education.
  5. A Project iMlango infographic is available on request.

For media enquiries, please contact: Laura Hegarty, Head of PR, Avanti Communications / +44 (0)207 749 1600

Published 18 July 2014