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LANO: Enabling children to build their resilience, free from trauma and violence

Breaking the cycles of poverty and instability trauma by offering hope to refugee children as leaders and parents of tomorrow.

Photo of Joseph Mulabbi
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

LANO is an innovative educational off-grid&offline multilingual tablet designed with educational games, learning modules in audio and videos, books, practices, lesson guides and in-built FM-Radio to offer flexible educational opportunities to refugee children as well as a catalyst for further education and information access. WHY? Right now more than 75 million children and young people (aged 3-18) are out of school in 35 crisis-affected countries. And less than 2% of global humanitarian aid goes towards education. Even when children are able to access education in conflict-affected countries there are huge challenges like overcrowded classrooms, lack of teachers and resources, and violence in or on-route to school. Within Uganda alone, out of 1,355,764 refugees being hosted, 61 percent are children aged under 18 and 82 percent are women and children. Worldwide, children are the most affected in conflict-affected regions. Governments and organizations are working to address these issues; however, the problem remains chronically under-addressed due in large part to the priority focus on immediate lifesaving needs. Furthermore, the luck of access to information about current events by majority of children/ caretakers/guardians or parents is also a big problem. HOW? Local facilitators are trained in child-friendly approaches and technical aspects of the learning content and the use of devices to supervise children and help to grade children’s learning progress while solving any small arising technical issues. After children completing a series of exercises, the software automatically unlocks new exercises at a higher level, so children can progressively acquire new skills and competencies. LANO is 99% risk free, cost-efficient, impact-full and scalable to meet the educational and psychological needs of refugee children compared to traditional classroom education in that it allows children to learn effectively at their own pace from anywhere without a teacher.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

LANO targets 6-18 aged out of school refugee children living in Ugandan refugee camps, and safe houses. We aim to provide them with innovative learning opportunities beyond traditional settings. The education curriculum in English, Mathematics and Science shall improve children's language proficiency, executive functions, and coding skills while decreasing their sense of despair and increasing hope through the innovative and effective education content geared at growing children's skills as well as provide access to further learning platform and information via the in-built FM-Radio that comes with the tablet. Furthermore, We include projects designed to improve their psychosocial wellbeing. This approach coupled with our education activities enables children to develop coping skills, build their resilience and recover from the consequences of conflict. Improved psychosocial well-being allows children and young people to better engage in education and increased livelihood chances.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

We deliver innovative and flexible learning opportunities to children with off-grid radio frequency tablets/kindles and basic relevant education content with no need for internet or electricity to enable children access complete education packages all the time from anywhere. In our model, children who cannot read or write, can listen and watch the videos as many times as they like, children can explain mathematical and scientific concepts to facilitators and are able to relate to these presenters, and see them as role models. There are many actors working in the education in emergencies space to address these issues; however, these actors often focus on the needs and priorities of immediate response rather than the development of new approaches and strategies.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We are a registered for-profit company working to bring innovative means to empower communities and livelihoods to live a more exciting life.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Displaced students often go long periods of time without schooling. When they do re-enter the formal education sector, their educational needs have often completely changed. Even when students have access to schooling, their psychosocial needs–exacerbated by loss of family, home, and safety—often surpass the capacity of educational systems to address them. Thus, as a crisis continues, students often fail to develop the educational outcomes and skills needed to survive and thrive.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Many children in war zones become refugees due to separation from or death of their family. Orphaned children often have limited access to food and clean water and therefore become susceptible to deadly illnesses and face life-long health problems. It is estimated that such diseases account for 60-80% of the deaths of displaced children of war. Those that survive are not considered lucky. In many instances, vulnerable boys are brainwashed into becoming child soldiers, working with the oppressors and regularly engaging in combat. Girls can be exploited into sex trade, forced to offer sexual services, married off to rebel leaders, or even sexually mutilated. Beyond death, injury, exploitation and displacement, children in war zones are often emotionally damaged and suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. They typically lose years of education, and the level of violence that they see can alter their normal development and lead to a skewed sense of reality.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We are passionately focusing on the fundamental right of every child's education, particularly those in Uganda refugee camps, who most times are vulnerable to severe social economic evils. These children are mentally and physiologically affected by armed conflicts and end up loosing their opportunity to good quality education and peace therefore we shall approach different key players both public and private sectors including the Ugandan government for partnerships, Ministry of Education and Sports for curriculum design, UNICEF, Save the Children, Child Fund Uganda, Ministry for Disaster Preparedness, Ministry for Internal Affairs, for both technical and financial support. The end results shall be to tackle the complexities of education in refugee areas as catalyst for peace and prosperity of our beneficiaries plus their families.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

We are in touch with the leading technology firms in the country who are willing to support us in the design and development of the devise. The Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of International Affairs, Ministry of Disaster Preparedness including the President have already given us a green light and are willing to side by us in the pilot and implementation phases of this project.

Geographic Focus

In refugee camps of Northern and Western Uganda where over 1million refugee children are hosted.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

It will take us between 18 to 24 months to complete this project and have it run to serve its intended beneficiaries.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Scott L.

Dear Joseph,
interesting project, thank you. Turquoise Mountain is also working with children (although in a different area) and questions of trauma. Our approach is through heritage and hands-on activities however, but we’ve also looked at the possibility of using tablets and an e-curriculum. We’ve found that, in the two refugee camps that we’ve worked in, children did not immediately rely on these type of tools. Have you had a different experience? How do you go about changing learning behaviours? Also, considering the amount of children reached, how do you keep track of the quality of the programs in charge of changing said behaviors? Wishing you good luck,
Scott @ Turquoise Mountain

Photo of Joseph Mulabbi

Dear Scott L.
Thanks for the work you and your team are doing to help refugee children attain basic education.
Sorry that the approach of tablets and an e-curriculum has not yielded much response from children as you expected.
Here is what I have to say concerning your questions.

-Easy and understandable educative games, with child-centered design approach
During playful exercises, children will learn what they would learn in a traditional school. Games will be custom-built for each country and co-created together with local children, designers, and Ministries of Education.
All designs and graphics used will be custom-made, so they are familiar to children. Children’s life stories, their feedback, and drawings from local designers are used to co-create the design of the learning environments.
• Children will discover how their skills are directly applicable in their own lives – and how they can improve the lives of people surrounding them.
• All instructions will be in audio and video. Children who cannot (yet) read or write, will listen and watch the instruction videos as many times as they like.
• In most cases, children present the instruction videos. Children will relate to these presenters, see them as role models.
• The open source software of the educational games will be designed in such a way, that games can be adapted to new contexts (other countries and situations) easily and without high licensing costs.

LANO Tablet Design Approach:
This program will enable children to work towards acquiring Ministry of Education competency levels, in both formal and informal learning environments, thus supporting transition into formal education systems.
With this program, children will learn by playing educational games on tablet computers. The custom-made games shall include instruction, practice, and a learning management system. This gives us chance to provide quality education to all children, no matter their location. It can be delivered in places where there are no (or not enough) classrooms or teachers, both in formal and informal learning settings.
The fresh, interactive learning materials shall all be based on official national curricula. The educational games will be introduced to children in a manner fitting their lifestyle and circumstances. Through partnership with different partners, including local Ministries of Education, international and national NGOs and research institutes, along with technical experts in gaming, software design, education and psycho-social well-being shall work together to develop this fun and effective learning tool. We intend to invest heavily in research to understand how and what children learn through the serious gaming approach in different context and learning modalities and use nationally and internationally recognized measurement tools and methodologies to build a greater evidence-base to iterate and improve the program and future efforts. With LANO program approach, children learn by playing educational games on tablet computers. The custom-made games include instruction, practice, and a learning management system. This means that we can provide quality education to all children, no matter their location. It can be delivered in places where there are no (or not enough) classrooms or teachers, both in formal and informal learning settings.

The learning games will be developed using Unity software, and designed with and for children based on Ministry of Education curriculum and are designed knowing the specific learning opportunities and challenges and cultural context of Uganda, and Sudan.
Their interactive yet impact full nature makes children love to play all the time throughout without getting bored. Through the games approach children will learn significantly from the games. Those who know the least, learn the most. The game promotes a gender-balanced learning experience, which stimulates and retains boys and girls equally. There is a measurable positive effect on self-esteem experienced by children engaged in LANO.
Compared to traditional education approaches in selected countries, LANO will be effective in supporting the attainment of learning outcomes as traditional education. This program will enable children to work towards acquiring Ministry of Education competency levels, in both formal and informal learning environments, thus supporting transition into formal education systems.

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