In Cameroon, innovation keeps children studying despite conflict
EduClick leverages the technology revolution to provide alternative learning methods to those who can’t access formal learning due to armed conflicts or poverty.
June 17, 2019 by Angele Messa, Kamerbigbang.com|
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EduClick at the African Union Education Innovation Expo, Dakar.

My name is Blandine Angele Messa. I’m from Cameroon and I’m 30 years old.

My innovation, EduClick, leverages the technology revolution to provide alternative learning methods to those who can’t access formal learning due to armed conflicts or poverty.

EduClick proposes a hybrid solution, in that it requires physical presence on the one hand and technology assisted learning on the other hand.

We created an online platform, a market place where teachers publish their lessons in audiovisual format for secondary and high schools. We’ve developed a set of over 10,000 multiple choice questions based on the school curriculum. This can help students without access to the internet revise for their exams thanks to the SMS learning system integrated into our platform.

We’re building a web and mobile application where our target audience can access school programs in audio-visual format, taught by certified teachers using interactive and easy to understand methods.

Both online and offline methods are used to inform students any time a new lesson or course is published on EduClick. Students can therefore access it with their mobile phones, laptops or desktop computers.

Those without an internet connection access the services through a short code which they dial on their mobile phones. Students can also watch and participate in skills-oriented lectures where they can gain new skills, which they can then use to find a job or start a business.

Finding a way to support children who can no longer go to school

For several years now, Cameroon’s East and Far North regions have been home to thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria, fleeing the Boko Haram crisis.

And for over two years, we have seen the outbreak of the Anglophone crisis where schools have been burnt, others shut down for security purposes in the North and South West regions of Cameroon, and teachers, students and school administrations have been physically attacked and threatened.

This has led to over 300,000 displaced persons, 2 out of 3 of which are girls of school age.  (Source: Reliefweb)

Working in these regions, I realized that several NGOs are offering basic support like food, shelter and basic health kits but nothing is being done about access to education.

At EduClick, we find it unacceptable that children drop out of school due to armed conflicts and that’s why we set out to develop alternative learning methods for them.

EduClick invited to talk to students on academic leadership.
EduClick invited to talk to students on academic leadership.

A rapid uptake

Before EduClick, we had worked on Kamerbigbang.com, which was launched as a prototype in 2016. The goal was to test the market to see how well it could work. The project was very much welcomed and in less than 6 months, the demand was greater than the offer. Since its launch, we’ve been able to keep over 1,500 children in two grades studying.

Since the reception of the AU Education innovation prize, our team has partnered with secondary and high school teachers of every subject and we’re developing video lessons and revising our multiple-choice questions bank.

In the months ahead, we’ll be launching the full platform at educlick.africa. The platform aims to automate all our services and include an integrated system that will enable our users to access our services with or without the internet. We plan to partner with nongovernmental organizations for effective distribution in the regions affected by conflict.

In less than two years, we’ve had several measurable results, we understand better the market and with that information, we revised our model. We’ve moved from a self-funded to a totally bootstrapped business model; moved from 1 full time to 4 full time employees; gained local and international recognition for our work; with over 1,900 subscriptions so far to our services.

As we’re close to launching the full featured product, we will inform the Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education, and other education authorities in Cameroon to make sure they are aware of our innovation. The Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation has already been very receptive and we’re thinking through several aspects of partnership with them.

The AU prize helps EduClick expand

Winning the AU Education innovation prize has been a great milestone achievement in our efforts to make education access a reality to all in Cameroon. It brought us in contact with the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation with whom we’ve started a collaboration. The funds we won are helping us build our updated platform.

Through this platform, we will be able to expand our impact and reach a wider audience.  The AU prize has also given legitimacy to our innovation as we would like to partner with a Cameroonian mobile network operator. This aspect is essential for the successful implementation of our innovation.

After the AU Education Innovation Prize, we’ve been recognized by the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD as one of the five Africa We Want Champions, recognizing our role in promoting inclusive education through technology.

Busy times ahead

The next 12 months are going to be very busy at EduClick as we complete and launch our full platform. We also need to close partnership deals with mobile operators and add more content.

Our goal is to turn EduClick into an education market place where every successful entrepreneur is able to market his/her skills to help build the next generation of African leaders.

Our hope is to develop more education innovative products in the long run to bridge the education access gap in Cameroon, in Africa and beyond.

To others working in innovation, I would say that in the education field, you need to build legitimacy, capital and most importantly ensure your innovation is known. That’s exactly what we gained from joining the AU Innovating Education in Africa Expo.

Finding solutions in Africa for Africans

At EduClick, we strongly believe in Malala’s words: “With guns, you can kill terrorists, but with education you can kill terrorism”.

Africa is home to more than 18 million refugees and internally displaced persons. I believe it’s our role to help them get an education and be productive. It’s impossible to build the Africa We Want if we don’t develop inclusive education methods that work for all and at all time.

This can only be done through innovation in education. We’re grateful to the African Union who’s supporting our efforts and we’re counting on world leaders to keep supporting us so that we achieve greater success.

Participate in the 2019 expo

Read the other blogs from young African innovators 

 

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