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Kisomo Smartlearn

An easy to use mobile app with 1000+ curricula based, curated & local relevant multimedia learning content for secondary students in Africa

Photo of George Akilimali
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Kisomo Smartlearn, Is an innovation with a primary focus in creation and distribution of locally relevant, interactive, affordable, reliable and easy to access digital learning materials which cover the local curricula, reflect the actual local environment and putting emphasis in visual, practical learning and lifelong learning (21st Century Skills) for learners in secondary schools in Tanzania and across East Africa.

The created content is in the form of Real Life Videos, Visual Graphics, 3D Animations, and Special Visual Effects, Audio Narration / Voice-over combined to make High Definitions and interactive motion pictures.

Our solution takes into account the major challenges facing digital learning in Africa such as Unreliable internet access and low access to modern technology infrastructures such as the internet, computers, tablets, smartphones etc.

What is the need are you focusing on?

COVID-19 has challenged the education systems in Africa, as of now more than 12 Million students in secondary school are in a risk of missing out their studies due to total or partial lockdowns in all countries across East Africa. These learners need an immediate, reliable and easy to use digital learning solution to support self-study while remaining safe in isolations. Most of the existing solutions are lacking locally relevant, interactive and curated digital learning content which can generate interest to these young learners to self-study. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the fact that traditional learning is no longer interesting resulting in poor learning experience & academic performance. Learners in the 21st Century spend most of their time in digital devices such as Smartphones and Television, in most cases, the content which is consumed with these learners have no value towards their academic life.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

Kisomo App, an easy to use mobile application with 1000+ interactive, curricula based, curated and 100% locally relevant digital learning content in form of Real-life HD Videos, Animations and Visual Illustration to 12 Million secondary school’s learners across East Africa. Our solution takes into account the major challenges facing the Tanzania market such as limited internet access and hence build in with features which allow offline access after initial streaming of the video content. The created content also put consideration to the special groups of learners such as Blind learners and hearing impaired learners. The innovation helps these special group of learners by including diverse content options such as special Audio-based content for Blind learners and Self Explanatory Visual content with supported subtitles for hearing impaired learners. Within the first week of launching the app experienced hundreds of downloads with more than 400 active users per day and rapidly growing.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

Kisomo App will provide an opportunity for the 12 Million secondary school learners across East Africa to stay safe from COVID-19 by accessing all their learning need online. Other immediate impacts of our solution includes; The overall improved learning experience for our users which in returns increases the academic performance of individual learners in secondary schools across East Africa.

What is the name of your business or organization?

Smartcore Enterprise Limited

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Smartcore is a social enterprise and a digital learning content development agency with a primary focus on transforming East African learners experience and brings inspiration, innovation, creativity and overall improved academic performance through building, local relevant digital learning solution. Our solution offers 12 Million secondary school learners in east Africa with access to visual, interactive and local relevant digital learning content. We started creating local content which are in the form of Real Life Videos, Animations, Visual Graphics with supported audio narration.

What is your profession?

Information Communication Technology with Management

Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (region)?

  • Eastern Africa

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Education
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

At Smartcore we are firmly believing in growth and scaling through partnerships. We are looking for a partnership which can be in the form of Market Access, Technology Transfers or Funding.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Major barriers include; 1. Policy Changes - This includes changes in Curricula and the country's education policy which might affect the overall product distribution. We mitigate this risk by constantly engaging all education stakeholders including the ministry of education, subject matter experts and specific teachers in every step of content production. 2. Technology Barriers - Although there is a rapid growth of technology usage in Tanzania and Africa but still most of our targeted users have no access to modern technology infrastructures such as Computers & Reliable Internet. We mitigate this risk by diversifying our solution to be used for both commonly used devices such as Television Sets, DVD Players, Mobile App with offline access

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

Some of the key learnings 1. Most of the mobile application on the market requires users to have access to reliable internet all the time in order for them to access learning content especially in form of videos. Navigating around this challenge has been a learning curve for me and the entire development team. 2. There is an existing fear for people to adopt new technologies especially in controlled learning environment, but when the opportunity arises for them to adapt and start using these technologies users don’t hesitate and takes little effort for them to master the usage of any new technology.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

Yes, We have been participating on the #AfricaVsVirus Challenge working with thousands of innovators, mentors and partners across Africa in finding education solutions to help millions of learners who are currently forced to be out of school and the others who were already out of schools to keep learning while staying safe.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Thank you for sharing your idea George Akilimali . Could you share more on who is currently using the app? Are there any partnerships that you have created already?

Photo of George Akilimali

Hello, Isaac Jumba Thank you for taking the time to review our innovation. Majority of our current app users are secondary school students in urban and suburban areas, among which 57% are girls and 43% are boys. These are students who are most likely to have access to technological infrastructures such as access to smartphones and the internet.
Regarding current partnerships, we already secured several partners who we are currently working with and some of them we have been working with for a while. I will mention some of the key partners who are directly working with us in innovating as part of COVID-19 response;
1. The University of Dodoma - This is the ready existing 2 years partnership with the largest university in Tanzania, where we get support in terms of access to research facilities, educational experties and state of the art multimedia content production resources (studio & equipment). In the meantime, we use the resources available to support teachers and instructors in digitising their content.
2. Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC) Tanzania, with a pipeline of more than 300 secondary schools across the country with hundreds of thousands of students directly managed by them, CSSC is a strategic partner we are working with to ensure we help these students get access to relevant and interactive content while helping teachers maintain students engagement and keeping students motivated.
3. Digital Opportunity Trust, A Canadian based youth organization supporting us to raise awareness of Kisomo projects both in the local and international audience and connecting us to learning and partnership opportunities.
4. Anza Bussiness Accelerator, Support in business development, partnership formulation and fundraising
Also, we are looking forward to working with the largest telecom company in the country Vodacom Tanzania, through their flagship program called Vodacom Digital Accelerator which will be launched soon among other partners.
We always believe in growth and scaling through partnerships, which also help us to achieve maximum impact on our targeted user's group.
Hope this clarifies a bit about your questions.
Best Regards