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Friday, September 04, 2015

Ubongo Kids: Ridiculously innovative African e-learning

Vincent Matinde, international IT Journalist summarizes, "We catch-up with the CEO of a Tanzania based ‘edu-taiment’ company making waves in east Africa."

Learning in Africa is experiencing a small but rapid change with the implementation of digital learning tools. Various African governments, including Kenya, are looking to boost education by adopting comprehensive e-learning channels.

Photo: IDG Connect

One company that is making waves in this sector is Ubongo, a Tanzania based ‘edu-taiment’ company aimed at primary schoolers which is currently extending its reach over east Africa.

Ubongo Kids, an animated children’s show and its flagship learning product is reported to be reaching over 1.2 million households through free-to-air and pay television across the region.

“We also have Ubongo Mobile, a mobile service that allows kids in Tanzania to interact with the TV series and keep learning even after the show is over. It works via SMS and interactive voice response, which means that it can be accessed from any phone, even the ‘dumbest’ phones which only do voice and text,” Nisha Ligon, the founder and CEO of Ubongo told IDG Connect.  

Kids are required to register using a short code and then they answer questions on what they have learnt during the programme. Each user gets one free question per day, but for 500 Tanzanian shillings (USD $0.23) they can receive unlimited access to quiz questions.

“It's also gamified so that each time a user gets five questions right, they receive a phone call from Mama Ndege [one of the characters in the show], with an encouraging message and a sing along song,” Ligon explains.

The great success of Ubongo Kids highlights the need for children’s entertainment across the continent. Yet the supply is almost nonexistent.

Source: IDG Connect

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