Safaricom and Dignitas have collaborated to donate tablets for students in Kawangware and Dandora in support of e-learning especially during this period when all institutions have closed their physical branches to embrace e-learning instead as a measure to curb the spread of covid-19. Safaricom through its foundation and Dignitas a non-governmental organization that works to provide access to education in Kenya’s urban slums seeks to promote e-learning to a thousand households drawn from the two slums through the distribution of the tablets.
Most schools in the country have embarked on embracing technology as a means of curbing the spread of the current outbreak with most institutions offering classes online. Since the current outbreak almost caught everyone unaware, students from poor backgrounds or remote areas of the country that have little or no access to the internet thereby hanging on the disadvantaged segment in the country.
Elite schools have managed to make arrangements, some involving mobile service providers in the country to continue offering learning lessons through the internet so that most don’t miss out on the curriculum that is essential for them to pass their upcoming exams. However, not all students have the same financial muscle to own a tablet or computer for learning, let alone access to the internet.
Speaking on the unveiling of free tablets, Safaricom foundation chairman joseph ogutu noted the current crisis had disrupted day-to-day learning in schools which has unfortunately left some students behind; especially those who cannot afford smart phones or tablets for online learning. He added the foundation was trying to bridge this divide not only through philanthropy like the free tablet initiative 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.
The project aims to give 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 on its end through Executive Director Deborah Kimanthi said they were excited to be partnering with Safaricom Foundation during this crisis. She added the NGO believed that every child deserved the opportunity to thrive and succeed. However, many children rely on school for protection and well-being as well as learning. She also added their support to children in this season is aimed at protecting their well-being and promote learning at home so that all children could reach their potential.
Safaricom previously engaged 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 KES 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#