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Parentsy: A mobile-based parent coaching program

We are developing a coaching program over Telegram to help parents adapt to the reality of at-home schooling

Photo of Ravi Shankar
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I am a.....

  • Organization

Tell us about your idea

Parentsy is an initiative of Accelerated Learning. We are an award-winning social enterprise that has trained and coached over 2000 teachers and educators and impact over 35,000 students in East Africa. 

We are now developing a mobile-based coaching program to support parents in Ethiopia who are now forced to home-school because of COVID-19 shutdowns. We have built a Telegram based coaching program to help parents adapt and cope with the brand-new concept of schooling at home. While there are resources available for curriculum based topics - there are hardly any resources available in Ethiopia or elsewhere to help parents with the HOW of home-schooling rather than the "what" of homeschooling. Based on our survey of parents from various countries including Ethiopia, Israel, South Africa and India we understand that parents need significant support in managing their mental health and that of their children, setting up learning routines and schedules and even organizing space for an effective learning environment. These are the topics and areas we would like to cover in the coming weeks and months. Without this "enabling environment" any educational content will not be very effective.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Parents in low-middle income countries have generally not been very engaged with their child's learning. We aim to change this. There is considerable research that shows that reading outcomes improve significantly when a family member helps a student at home with homework and other learning activities. In our user research, we have uncovered three major reasons why parents have been reluctant to engage with their child's learning at home: (i) ability, (ii) willingness/motivation and (iii) resources. Parents feel they are under-equipped to support their learners and are seldom confident about their own abilities. They also lack supporting resources to guide learners. They in fact, do not even know where or how to begin. Learning has traditionally been a domain of schools and teachers have been always the "knowledge keepers"

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I have been running Accelerated Learning, an award-winning social-enterprise operating in Ethiopia and East Africa for the last four years. My prior experience includes investment banking, consulting, policy advisory and HCD based product and service design. We have trained and coached over 2,000 teachers and have impacted over 35,000 learners.

We have been approached by many parents from the schools we work with requesting us for homeschooling support.

What region are you located in?

  • Eastern Africa

Where are you located?

We operate in urban and peri-urban Ethiopia including the capital Addis Ababa and a few regional capitals like Bahir Dar, Mekele and Adama. The families are generally low-middle income and have limited internet connectivity. A short survey also indicates that majority of homeschooling is done by Mothers.
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Attachments (2)

ParentCoaching-IntroDeck_lite.pdf

An intro deck on Parentsy that includes funding requirements and associated milestones.

Parent-Coaching Op-Ed draft_v2.pdf

Draft of an op-ed that will soon be published on Parentsy

6 comments

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Spam
Photo of Naylee Nagda
Team

Hi Ravi ! Happy you signed onto the Reimagine Learning Challenge and awesome you've already posted to the platform! I'm Naylee Nagda, one of the Community Coaches. You have identified a unique and important
challenge amongst parents in emerging economies and I agree that creating an environment that enables learning is crucial. I love the insights your team gained by doing user research with the communities your solution is designed for. I am curious if topics like mental health are openly talked about or acknowledged with the communities you are designing for. Also curious if you have done any research into integrating positive reinforcement within the app to boost confidence levels of parents?

Spam
Photo of Ravi Shankar
Team

Hi Naylee! Thanks for checking-in. Mental Health is always a tricky subject - we still have a lot to learn. However, in our experience coaching over 2,000 teachers and educators we have learnt a few "strategies" and ways of framing these issues that we can apply to parents as well - with usages like "frustrations", "stress", "disturbances", etc. But much work still needs to be done. Re. positive reinforcement, it's a great idea. We are planning to have a dedicated topic on it for parents to apply to their children in our section on "disciplining". Hope that makes sense. Happy to clarify or add further. This is a very interesting conversation, please do let me know in case of further feedback or suggestions! :)

Spam
Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Ravi. I would also add that there are many different types of parents who could use support around a wide variety of topics. I think there would be a wide range of users for your product based on a range of identifiers.

Spam
Photo of Ravi Shankar
Team

Paul Kim Thanks for your comment! We started off in a rush to get started and to meet this immediate need of homeschooling support. But you are very right! We are realising that this current services is just a canary in the coal mine for us to understand other parent needs and to offer them as adjacent services. Even with home-schooling, we are getting inbound requests from all over the world. Parents and orgs are contacting us from Israel, Italy, Sweden, South Africa and India. We need a bit more time and resources to cater to these needs. So immediate funding is key :(

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