With schools all over Kenya closed and students still expected to learn and gain knowledge online in preparation for exams after lockdown has been lifted, students in areas like Kawangware and Dandora were left at a crossroads with parents and guardians struggling to figure out if they will educate their children or put food on their tables.
In response to this, students drawn from over one thousand households in Kawangware and Dandora are set to benefit from free access to e-learning tools following a partnership between Safaricom Foundation and Dignitas, a non-governmental organisation that works to provide access to education in urban slums.
“The current COVID-19 crisis has disrupted day-to-day learning which has unfortunately left some students behind; especially those who cannot afford smart phones or tablets for online learning. We are trying to bridge this divide not only through philanthropy like we are doing here today but also through products such as Shupavu 291 which is in partnership with Eneza and allows for access to learning and revision content via text messages and USSD,” said Joseph Ogutu, chairman, Safaricom Foundation.
The project involves provision of tablets to student leaders and teachers from the two informal settlements who will use the devices to relay education content to other students both via SMS and through online platforms.
“Dignitas is excited to be partnering with Safaricom Foundation during this crisis. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive and succeed. However, many children rely on school for protection and well-being as well as learning. Our support to children in this season will protect their well-being and promote learning at home so that all children can reach their potential,” said Deborah Kimanthi, Executive Director, Dignitas.
Last month Safaricom announced that it has partnered with Eneza Education, Longhorn Publishers and Viusasa Elimu to provide free access to educational content for primary and secondary school students studying from home.
The partnership with Eneza Education allows students from grade 4 to form 4 access learning and revision content on the SMS-based Shupavu291 free of charge following a 60-day waiver of the daily Kshs 3 subscription fee. The platform can be accessed via USSD *291# or the short code 20851.
Learners with internet access can also access education content on Shupavu Web, Viusasa Elimu and the Longhorn E-learning portals through a free education bundle available on *544#