Finalist category: Tech4Good for Africa Award
Finalist, Tech4Good for Africa Award, 2019
Hello World uses academic research, off-the-shelf products, track record and user-centred design to reach children in Africa who currently have no access to education.
There are 69 million too few teachers to reach every child in the world with an education. The current model is either not working or not working fast enough to provide a global solution to the education deficit. A growing body of research is showing that digital solutions are likely to provide an alternative path, but not all tech approaches are proving to have a positive impact.
Hello World could change millions of lives – offering children who currently have no school access to quality education via community-owned, solar-powered, internet enabled computer Hubs. They are community-led and partner with communities in places where teachers will not, or cannot go, to fill the learning void. Users are taught how to build their Hello Hub – a simply designed, locally sourced product made from off-the-shelf electrical equipment, which has 8 recycled ipads. The community decides where it is built, how to maintain and manage it, and, how to ensure children are able to maximise their learning opportunities using leading software such as one billion and khan academy.
The design is a simple, durable, transportable and affordable kit made up of:
- Touch screen access: 8 ipad portals per Hub.
- Educational tools, apps and games – preloaded onto the user interface.
- Full internet access.
- A wifi Hub for the whole community.
- A device charging station.
- Solar power and a battery – powering the Hubs at night.
- A PVC geodesic dome with weather protection which keeps out the elements. The domes double-up as a space for community gatherings, ad-hoc classrooms, a Hub for entrepreneurs and a place for women to gain financial independence.
Every member of the community has a chance to build and learn how to maintain the technology involved, and the team spend a long time working with groups of community members (teachers, leaders, pensioners, special educational needs users, children, women) to ensure they are trained in Hub maintenance and well versed in the benefits of digital education and the internet, as well as the risks that access to the internet brings with it. Children use the Hubs to access the best educational software available on the market, in their own language. They also have a range of apps, games and online video tools to further their learning.
Communities use the internet to set up local message boards and radio stations, to tell their story and connect with the world. In 2018, the hubs were redesigned – making them more durable, more transportable, much cheaper and more educationally valuable – with better software which children can use to problem solve learn academically.
The Hello World team has ambitious plans to build 250 Hello Hubs over the next three years providing education and connectivity to 250,000 children. Gender equality is also a big focus and they are investing in a female-led programme to ensure equity of access to education in the communities they work with. They feel it’s their responsibility to ensure learning is shared within and beyond the sector. They also plan to increase the impact of Hello World by offering an open source ‘How To Build A Hello Hub’ guide in multiple languages with videos and illustrations so that other organisations can pick up their designs, use them and replicate the project.