Inspiring youth to create jobs themselves

Inspiring youth to create jobs themselves

Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In many underserved communities, e.g. in Africa youth suffer from poor career prospects. We bring education to secondary school students that focuses on CREATIVITY and COLLABORATION to inspire them to follow their passion and create jobs themselves by using technology available to them: their mobile phones. We offer mobile learning application for math, English as well as entrepreneuship.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is a high level of unabated youth-unemployment. As per UNESCO 531 million students were enrolled in secondary schools globally in 2010. However 39 Million or only 34.8% of the youth this age attended secondary school in Sub-Saharan Africa. Access to education has been improving, but skills do not match labor market needs and providing adequate employment opportunities remains a major challenge. Moreover millions of children are emerging from schools with language and numeracy skills far below expected levels. Despite remarkable economic growth of 8.4% in the past decade, our pilot country Ethiopia faces major challenges of providing adequate employment opportunities for its youth. The current public education differentiates between academic (smart) and non-academic (non-smart)people

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We aspire equal opportunity in education by using the technology available for the students, the mobile phone. We focus on secondary school students aged 15-19 years since secondary education aims at laying the foundations for lifelong learning and human development. Thus we offer supplementary mobile learning application for math, English and integrate Entrepreneurship to help students follow their passion and create jobs themselves. We need more and better education that focuses on CREATIVITY and COLLABORATION: instead of one mobile phone per child we pursue a one mobile phone per three children approach since studies suggest that students learn better when using mobile technologies in a group. The decline in the price of mobile handsets and usage costs makes mobile phones increasingly ubiquitous, especially in poorer communities. The benefits are that students are provided with high quality learning materials as well as immediate feedback. Moreover peer to peer support is enhanced.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Mobile phones have high popularity among the youth, thus they possess superior advantages when approaching young students. In a survey African students express positive motives such as availability, emancipation, safety, independence and micro-coordination. Researches show mobile learning promotes student motivation, reduces student pressure, and improves teacher–pupil relationship. Furthermore taking the learning process outside the classroom atmosphere can also be attractive for the students. We will develop applications for smart phones as well as SMS-based service for feature phones with the same content in order to bridge the digital gap. We want to foster divergent thinking, i.e. the ability to see multiple answers and not one, through entrepreneurial tasks. We inspire them to choose their own paths, leverage their talents and follow their passion. Studies also show great learning happens in groups. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study conducted in 2007 among 8th grade students show large gaps in learning achievement between developed and developing countries. Average test scores for students in the top-performing country, the Republic of Korea, were almost twice as high as in Ghana. Our maths service includes maths theory descriptions, exercises, tests, individual progress reports and competitions. Our English application improves language skills among students to enable them to greater access to economic growth. It teaches English using relevant and interesting content: daily news stories of every topic, helpful tips and study reminders.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

BBC, Nokia, Ericsson and The Earth Institute are some of the biggest players globally. A study from 2012 by UNESCO on mobile learning in Africa shows a number of project-based interventions, many of which are small-scale, exploratory pilot projects. Such as the BridgeIT initiative in Tanzania, which provides teachers with access to digital video content for on-demand screening in class or Dr Math project in South Africa, a mobile based mathematics tutoring program. All of these initiatives involved significant financial, technological and human-capital investments. Overall, the projects mainly used feature phones rather than smartphones and relied only on text-based support of learning, teaching and interaction. As barrier to entry these large firms can develop at lower costs than us.

Founding Story

Both founders grew up and attended school in Ethiopia and experienced negative effects on education due to the lack of technological development. Even in Germany we found hardly inspiration in schools to become creative and study collaboratively. Another problem was the high level of youth unemployement in Ethiopia which we kept hearing from friends and media. Thus we wanted to inspire secondary school students to follow their passion and improve the quality of education by using technology. It is a great chance for us to contribute to the development of our country of origin as well as transform the lives of many young people.
About You
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name
Organization Country

, BE

Country where this project is creating social impact
Age of Innovator


Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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How long have you been in operation?

Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)

Access to talent, Access to technology, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We have not implemented the idea yet. However all the responses from stakeholders and potential partners have been very positive. Furthermore the positive impacts of our enterprise have been confirmed by many studies. There also some projects which can as proof of concept. In our pilot country Ethiopia of the current 3.6 million secondary school students only around 30000 can attend vocational training and ca. 130 000 can go to universities. leavng the vast majority with poor career prospects. Furthermore there is a huge lack of educational resources such as textbooks.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

The Ethiopian population grows at a 2.7% rate annually and is expected to rise from current 84 million to 96 million in 2015 and surpasses 170 million in the year 2050. Ethiopia faces major challenges of providing adequate employment opportunities for the growing number of young people. According to the World Bank 44% of the population is currently under 18. On the other hand Ethiopia’s mobile telecom industry recorded the highest growth rate in 2011 at 173 %.Smartphones are entering the African market 4 times faster than PCs. A technology research predicts by the end of 2013, there will be smart phones retailing at less than $50 in many African markets.
We help with our service to get access to high qulity learning materials and boost job creation. their self-esteem will rise as well.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Costs for data transfer are still too high. Developing applications for mobile devices is far from straightforward and typically requires expensive and complex software which requires skill, persistence and, more often, large sums money. There might be anti-mobile phone sentiments in communities.
We are discussing with the Ethiopian government zero-rating for data transfer. In order to save costs and deliver high quality we combine already existing solutions and adopt them to the respective country. We also use advanced and open source technology. We reach peers such as Nokia to work together. We plan to train teachers to overcome negative sentiments. Another challenge is the speed of internet connection. As a solution our service will be downloadable thus students can learn offline.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Developing a prototype

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Cooperation talks to potential partners: Ethiopian government and schools, Nokia, Intel, Junior Achievement

Task 2

Adoption of curriculum

Task 3

Hiring software developers

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Piloting the mobile learning application

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Promotion of the application to students and teachers, e.g. best performing students selected to become school ambassadors

Task 2

Training for teachers in order to encourage champion teachers to popularize the application.

Task 3

Development of a manual for students

Tell us about your partnerships

Cooperation talks to the Center for International Migration (funding), ICE Addis (co-working spaces and experts), German-Ethiopian Students & Academics Association(networking)were positive.
Upcoming contacts include: Ethiopian Ministry of Education - nationwide implementation, teachers training;Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation - zero rating of data transfer; Intel- mobile application development; Nokia - cooperation for math application, training of application developers; British Council - development of English app;Junior Achievement - entrepreneurship curriculum and training

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

We are very happy about any feedbacks, inputs as well as collaboration. From our side we can offer to share our best practices and help with our expertise, e.g. in marketing or software development. If needed we can also offer our network both to connect to others as well as to promote one's projects.