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Real mEducation Impact with Eneza Education in Kenya

By Wayan Vota on October 16, 2013


I am a huge fan of Eneza Education in Kenya. Eneza’s mission is to make 50 million kids across rural Africa smarter and they are improving their intelligence, their general knowledge, and their lives using the most common form of technology in Kenya, the mobile device.

That’s a noble goal, but what about actual impact?

Let us look at Malanga Primary of Gem and Muthurwa Primary of Eastlands, two of the most active Eneza schools. Their students use the study tool regularly, paying per SMS sent to Eneza’s short code, 8512 and each school has bought a subscription to the nuanced data accounts of how students are doing.

In February 2013, the Head Teacher of Malanga Primary, a school way out near Kisumu said, “Our pupils have improved from a 210 to a 234 average, and we attribute this growth to Eneza. Thank you.” The Head Teacher then told Eneza’s Sales Manager, Peter Sereti, that they’d like to renew their MPrep data subscription. The Head Teacher of Muthurwa expressed the same. Their scores jumped from a 199 average in 2011 to 230 in 2012.

Because Eneza only became active in these schools in July (Muthurwa) and September (Malanga) of 2012, Eneza was quite shocked about the jump in scores, and even more shocked that teachers didn’t give themselves credit, but gave Eneza credit for the results. After all, empowering teachers (and parents!) is really what creates change in academic outcomes, not the technology itself.

One Head Teacher said, “What Eneza shows us is that what we need to do as teachers is to adhere to a more individual teaching method instead of what we generally practice. With this data available and flexible, we know what our students need to do to improve.”

That last statement is quite telling. As Toni Maraviglia, Eneza’s co-founder says:

As a teacher myself, I’m most excited about the above statement. Eneza is pushing teachers to change the way they teach, to focus more on individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, and we’ve done all this without fancy technology — through simple devices that everyone has access to. Not only that, but both parents and head teachers are already paying to do this!!

This fuels me even more to keep pushing the idea that simplicity and designing educational products from an insider’s perspective is truly going to lead educational stakeholders: teachers, students, parents, and administrators to advance themselves.

Three cheers to Eneza Education – scaling educational impact across Keyna (and without a dime of development money).

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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