The iMlango Junior Debaters Contest Begins

The first iMlango Junior Debaters Contest has launched this month. The contest aims to improve student literacy levels and encourages students to discuss and debate thought-provoking topics that are delivered to the classroom through the learning platform.

To enter the contest, students are required to get into groups of five, and each group will then be registered using the iMlango attendance tablet to allow them to collectively access the learning platform to provide their response. Over the coming weeks, we expect there to be over 850 groups of students participating in the contest, and students have been advised to only work on their responses in the after school clubs, so to not impinge on valuable lesson time.

To progress to the later rounds of the contest, groups will need to decide which side of the motion they stand for and provide a carefully considered response by entering it directly into the learning platform. Their response will then be judged by the Great Debaters team and prizes will be distributed to the winners of each of the three contest stages.

Elsewhere in the programme, we welcomed the team from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) this month who visited two of our schools in Kilifi County to review the impact and effectiveness of our programme. During their visit, they talked in depth to head teachers and parents of students who are benefiting from the Support Initiative, which is now supporting 12,000 students. The ICAI team were also shown the quick and simple process that a parent goes through when purchasing food and goods at the local merchant, using the funds that are provided through the initiative.

Our team continued to engage with teachers and students out in the field, and while talking to some girl students to find out more about how iMlango had impacted their life, there were some shocking revelations. One of the girls revealed that she used to pay for her school fees by being a sex worker, but that the introduction of iMlango had influenced her to concentrate on her education instead. She said, “Since the introduction of the iMlango project my perception has changed. I abandoned this vice and I have decided to concentrate on my studies. In fact, for the first time since I joined school, my mid-term tests this term are the best so far. iMlango has restored my hope and dignity as a girl. I feel much more worthy to press on and face another day. It has opened my eyes and now I know that the world contains so many good things, and with education we can achieve them.”

A powerful message from one of the many girls in the programme that are realising the importance of their education, enabling them to unlock their true potential.

Until next time,
The iMlango team

iMlango wins Dóchas “Innovative Programme of the Year” Award

Students were greeted with new and engaging content as they returned to the iMlango classrooms after the short break this month.

The team behind the learning platform’s encyclopaedia, Q-Files, have added an online question and answer feature. A new question will be posted each week (e.g., why is the sea salty?) and the question will be answered with the aid of pictures, diagrams, videos, and an accompanying article. This is a great way to learn about new topics. We are working with Q-Files to generate specific questions that will help develop the iMlango students’ knowledge of key Life Skills topics, such as sanitation.

We are extremely excited to be working with the Great Debaters competition and television show in Kenya, and will be running our very own competition in schools using the iMlango learning platform to capture student responses to thought-provoking questions. Look out for more on this in next month’s update.

As ever, we continued to progress the Support Initiative and are making good progress. We aim to have parents and students in 130 schools benefiting from conditional payments in the coming weeks. The team are also working hard to deliver new community Wi-Fi sites in Makueni and Uasin Gishu County.

The field team have been busy accompanying the Girls’ Education Challenge team around schools in Makueni County for the programme’s quarterly review. They met with participating merchants and beneficiaries of the Support Initiative, observed teachers using content from the learning platform to conduct whole-class learning sessions, and witnessed one teacher give a presentation – with content sourced from the learning platform - on the importance of washing your hands. This was followed by a practical demonstration outside of the classroom. What this presentation demonstrates is that iMlango provides teachers and students with the necessary tools and skills to source and deliver information that is vitally important to the students’ health and wellbeing.

We’re very proud to announce that the iMlango programme was the winner of the Dóchas “Innovative Programme of the Year” Award. Presented by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in Dublin to Camara Education, who made the application on behalf of the consortium, the Dóchas Awards celebrate innovative and inspiring work by people and organisations in Ireland working for global justice

Lastly, we have lots of great new content on the site - make sure to check out the Success Stories and Gallery pages to see how iMlango is making a real difference in Kenya.

Until next time,
The iMlango team

Latest iMlango project update

The following is a post from Changez Ndzai, Vetting Officer at Camara Kenya

It is 7.30 am at Malindi Central Primary school. The temperatures started to rise and even though it’s early, I can see the pupils very determined, settled in their perspective classes revising their work.

I am in Malindi, a tourist town located at the north side of the coast region of Kenya. Here the main challenge, as far as education is concerned, is girls dropping out of school at a young age due to ”child labour” and early marriage. I am delighted to learn that this scenario is about to change with the introduction of iMlango Project and the maths-whizz software in the school.

During the ongoing training, I was happy to see some of the students trying to fool me saying that they did not finish their maths-whizz assessments so they could stay longer working on the computer. When talking with the young pupils, they told me that mathematics is their main challenge when studying.

The good news is that since the introduction of the iMlango project in the school the ones who used to hate maths are now enjoying and finding the subject friendly and easy to understand due to the help of the ”maths-whizz” software.

Another iMlango and maths-whizz advantage is that students are developing higher understanding skills and excelling in the English language as the software uses tools such as audio, graphics and visual designs to show maths problems to students to solve. They also told me that they find it easy to understand them because it can be related to their daily activities hence making it much less complicated to be solved.

 Until next time,
The iMlango team