My mission is to help people live better lives through using mobile technologies, particularly inexpensive mainstream stuff, where the technologies both:
- enables better practices, ideas and behaviours
- reduces or removes barriers and inequalities
I aim to be impartial, egalitarian, and to adapt to the context of the situation wherever there is the practical need and opportunity to help people.
The current projects germinated from existing situations where there were relatively concrete needs:
- In Kenya, the schools had little or no teaching resources, no electricity, few or no relevant books, but there was mobile network coverage and enough sun to charge devices using solar panels. Having used my personal Kindle in the region I realised they offered the potential to help the schools support the teachers more effectively.
- In Bangalore and Tamilnadu, India, the schools had at least some mains power and existing desktop computers (albeit many were faulty). Mobile network coverage for data was relatively poor,in the places I visited, compared to Kenya. As they had existing computers we focused on finding ways to use those computers effectively in the classrooms by providing useful software, identifying the faults and helping the schools to rectify the problems.
In each case we knew people who worked effectively with the schools so we were able to augment that work and leverage their good work to establish effective pilot projects.
Please read the blog to read about the progress of the various projects. Here are some suggestions for articles to get you started.
Start with the background for the initial project
- Project Background http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/project-background/
- Why focus on the teachers? http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/why-focus-on-teachers/
- Collecting data from the outset http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/collecting-data-during-the-pilot-project/
Expanding into India
- Branching out into Bangalore and Tamilnadu http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/branching-out-to-bangalore-and-tamil-nadu-in-india/
- Two Raspberry Pi’s with RACHEL, a couple of Amazon Kindles, and RACHEL-on-a-stick, are being used across 20 schools that help girls of various ages who ceased going to school to reacclimatise into formal education.
- Two more Amazon Kindles are also being used in a rural area in the west of the country.
- 15 Nexus 7’s are being used; some in a school in Santiago, the others are shared between several schools in the Punta Arenas area (the southern-most city in the world). They also have several Raspberry Pi’s with RACHEL installed with Spanish materials. One of the schools managed to source an additional 20+ Android tablets so the children have more devices to share, which reduces contention for scarce resources.
- We have one Nexus 7 tablet that’s being used in a central rural area. It has RACHEL, and Kiwix installed with offline copies of both Sinhalese and Tamil Wikipedia. The tablet is helping children to learn various topics in their village.
- We are now helping indirectly in Zambia and Tanzania.
- We are also co-ordinating work on various parent software projects including Khan Academy Lite (ka-lite), Kiwix, RACHEL, for instance to improve the software programs and to translate the user-interfaces into more languages which helps millions more children learn in their mother tongue.
Feedback and results
- Initial feedback from projects with the Fishermen Trust http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/an-initial-report-from-one-of-the-schools-in-bangalore/ and Cognizant http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/working-with-cognizant-in-india-to-help-with-our-respective-projects/ and http://kusaidiamwalimu.org/good-news-from-the-cognizant-team-in-bangalore/
The project is currently run on a voluntary basis. There is no charity or formal organization. Instead people donate time, energy and resources. We also have various informal relationships with publishers, content distribution, commercial and charitable organizations, in various countries.
Revised 8th December 2014