iMlango invited to speak at UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s roundtable meeting on girls’ education

We were delighted to be asked to contribute to the recent Wilton Park discussion led by the Foreign and Commonwealth office centring on issues of girls’ education, where we were able to share some of our insights, especially on literacy, from our experiences in Kenya.

Girls continue to face barriers in accessing education at all levels throughout the world. According to UNESCO, 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million primary school aged girls will never have access to education. Yet girls’ education is a human right which not only benefits girls themselves, but positively impacts wider community wellbeing and economic prosperity at local, regional and national levels.

iMlango's Simon Bruce Kaniu at Wiston House in Sussex, seated on the front row, five in from the left.

iMlango's Simon Bruce Kaniu at Wiston House in Sussex, seated on the front row, five in from the left.

Simon Bruce Kaniu, iMlango Local Project Lead and sQuid Kenya General Manager delivered the talk at the Wilton Park conference, and said: “We believe the role of technology in providing an education platform accessible by all students is vital. It can’t work just on its own; there will always be a focus on the human elements of teacher skills and motivation, and the out of school factors that affect the marginalised. In Kenya, we have been trying to bring all of these components together with our iMlango partners.”

On the role of the private sector and how it can partner with governments and NGOs to improve girls' education, Simon added: "I believe that the private sector can play a key role in improving girls' education by utilising its experience in devising and driving commercial activities within programmes, to ensure that they are sustainable and continue to impact schools and the surrounding communities after initial funding has finished.

"To reach and support the most marginalised children, the private sector, governments and NGOs must work together collectively to continue to innovate, improve delivery, and drive scale within educational development programmes."

The three-day roundtable at Wiston House in Sussex aimed to produce a set of recommendations for a transnational collaborative campaign; it achieved the following:

  • Identified options and recommendations to develop a new, transformative UK-led diplomatic campaign in support of 12 years of quality education;
  • Identified what success looks like, including good practice and policy from the education sector and beyond on diplomatic transnational campaigns;
  • Highlighted the successes of international efforts to improve girls’ education so far, map where gaps remain and recommend actions to address them; and
  • Developed lasting partnerships between varying sectors and agencies to collaborate in successfully delivering campaigns leading to improvements for girls’ education

We'd like to thank Wilton Park for the invitation and for providing us with the opportunity to share our experiences and insights from the programme.


For more information on Wilton Park, please click here

iMlango Microloans: Providing Hope to Women in Kiambani

Tumaini Women group is a group of parents from Kiambani Primary School. Tumaini means hope in Kiswahili, and the name was chosen to inspire other groups and their children; the group was formed in January 2018.

Group members are involved in various small businesses in Makindu town: salons and cosmetic shops, honey-selling, grocery stalls. 

In an effort to improve financial literacy and to economically empower members, iMlango field officers introduced table-banking, also locally known as Zangule, to the group. In this arrangement, each member is asked to make a weekly contribution during the group meeting.

Tumaini Women group at formation stage

Tumaini Women group at formation stage

This collection is borrowed by members at an interest of 10%, and is repayable in the next group meeting. Weekly meetings result in more frequent collections, with more money in circulation and available to recipients.

From January to the end of May, the group has accumulated Ksh150,000 in their Zangule. They can now lend each other up to Ksh30,000, stemming from prudent and responsible financial management as guided by the loan officer. Members borrow to pay school fees, transport to school, pocket money for their children, business support, and emergency needs. 

In support of iMlango’s microloans initiative, the group officials have ensured that only borrowers who are active in their Zangule, and have consistently saved, are approved. They also warn members that in the event of a default, they would recoup their Zangule contributions to repay the loan amount due. This has helped to instil a high level of local financial ownership of the collective management of loan repayments.

The iMlango team with group members, June 2018

The iMlango team with group members, June 2018

The group intends to open a bank account to save whatever remains in every sitting that isn’t borrowed by members. At the end of the year, they would pay out each member her interest earned for the entire period. Pay-out would be done in the first week of January 2019 so as to coincide with school opening, which will help support on school-related costs for the beginning on a new academic year.

Tumaini is one such example of a group driving their own financial development; as we are not prescriptive in our approach to developing financial capacity, only providing assistance where appropriate, and allowing for differing contexts at the local level.

Future-Proofing Technology for Education in International Development: Mobiles for Education Alliance releases report on its 7th annual Symposium

The seventh annual Mobiles for Education (mEducation) Alliance Symposium, held October 5-6, 2017, brought together practitioners, thought leaders, policy makers, and funders to advance the use of and evidence for information and communications technology in global education (ICT4E).

Each year, the Steering Committee of the Alliance designs the Symposium to promote a shared understanding of the opportunities and challenges of implementing ICT4E solutions particularly in lower-resource, developing country contexts. 

The event is designed to promote networking and partnership development among participants, who come from government, nonprofit, and private-sector organizations.

The guiding theme of this Symposium, “Future-Proofing Technology for Education in International Development” demonstrated the power of this gathering to discuss pathways to spread and scale promising The future-proofing theme was embedded into a novel Symposium application process: Prospective presenters were asked to submit proposals for presentations in which they would time-travel three years into the future. The presenters would retrace the future-proofing steps taken by The future-proofing theme helped presenters and participants envision pathways to implementing evidence-driven innovations at scale. The longer term vision is that this focus on sustainable, durable project designs would lead public sector policy makers to adopt and support such innovations in their countries.

We were delighted to be invited to present at the Symposium to share our work in improving educational outcomes in Kenya, and our involvement was featured in the report:

"Project iMlango is a comprehensive educational technology program delivered by a ground-breaking partnership of public and private sector organizations, which aims to improve Kenyan pupils’ learning outcomes, enrollment and retention. Avanti and sQuid, two of the project partners, highlighted their work in improving educational outcomes for over 68,000 girls in highly marginalized rural regions of Kenya. While iMlango serves a total of 150,000 male and female students, the project’s special focus on measuring and improving girls’ education outcomes derives from iMlango’s partnership with Ministry of Education in Kenya. Among the project’s key findings: Over 60 percent of the girls served became more interested in school because of the digital learning methods used. Among iMlango’s innovations is the platform’s mobile app for numeracy, which significantly accelerated students’ math progress. Other important project outcomes include improved student attendance overall and higher levels of teacher engagement."

For more information on the mEducation Alliance or their annual Symposium, please click here