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Promoting Education & Gender Equality Through Mobile-Edutainment

Xavier Project will introduce mobile education tools to improve access and quality of remedial education to refugees and host communities.

Photo of David Boze
19 12

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What problem does your innovation solve?

Public schools in refugee camps are often ill-equipped to deal with refugee influxes and struggle to offer quality education to their students. Overcrowded classrooms and language barriers lead to poor academic performance, absenteeism and high dropout rates. Girls face even more barriers, such as early marriage, pregnancy, and various cultural factors. Refugee students, especially girls, need support that public schools in emergency situations struggle to provide on their own.

Explain your innovation.

Xavier Project will collaborate with Viamo to deliver mobile-based learning on basic mobile phones to over 3,000 primary-aged pupils in Uganda. Closely based on the Ugandan national curriculum, pre-recorded voice quizzes and simple games will be available on low-cost, long life mobile phones, which will be provided to schools in urban areas and refugee settlements. Xavier Project will develop the quizzes based on two academic subjects, accessible by calling a toll-free number. Each quiz will last approximately five minutes and students will respond to multiple choice questions using the phone’s keypad. After each quiz students are given their results and a summary on the topic including explanation of the correct answers included. In addition, we will integrate new, “gamified” learning on topics such as health, or WASH. In an already piloted strategy called Wanji Games (see video), an audio adventure that empowers participants to choose their own path and determine the story’s outcome. This strategy transforms educational themes into entertaining and relatable context-specific stories with multiple possible outcomes. Wanji games embeds scripts into audio games using real-life scenarios where users make choices and learn along the way. Many gamified elements will target issues related to the education of girls in refugee settlements. Games on the topics of sexual and reproductive health, the importance of education, and gender equality will aim to sensitize students.

Who benefits?

We intend to start with 3,000 primary students in Class 7. Primary 7 is the final class at the Primary Level and is followed by the very important Primary Leaving Exam. This project will take place in refugee settlements in the West Nile Region. Girls will be at least 50% of the beneficiaries of the project. 70% of beneficiaries will be refugees and 30% will come from the host community. Success will be measured through academic performance and retention rates. Teachers will also benefit from this innovation. In West Nile, there are too many students and not enough teachers, leading to teachers being unable to grade homework regularly, assess their students, and provide the support students need. This mobile platform will alleviate pressure on teachers who have huge class sizes as they can use it to assign homework which will be graded automatically and get real time data on their students' progress.

How is your innovation unique?

This innovation is unique as it makes education available to students at their time of need for as much time as they want to engage in it. Students can use a shared mobile phone or their own mobile phone to learn when they are interested in learning after school without needing additional capital such as extended teacher hours, tutors, or books that cannot be easily shared. This mechanism is interactive and progressive, allowing students to direct themselves to subjects they are looking to improve and graduating them as they excel and learn. Xavier Project has seen success with other forms of mobile learning in Kenya through SMS with Eneza in Kenya. Grades of Eneza users improved by an average of 22% through text-based quizzes. Xavier Project plans to introduce innovations in pre-recorded audio quizzes and exciting gamified learning to further engage children in their education outside of the classroom. All of this will cost less than $3 per student per month.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

What is the accessibility/security of phones in the refugee settlements? How is the service coverage in West Nile? How accessible is electricity for phone charging? Do South Sudanese P7 students understand English at the necessary level?

Tell us more about you.

Xavier Project’s vision is for a world where everyone has the right to equal opportunities and protection wherever they live and whatever their background. Since 2008, Xavier Project has been using pioneering education projects in Kenya and Uganda as a means to change this and achieve our vision. Viamo is a fast-growing social enterprise whose services enable organizations to engage traditionally difficult-to-reach populations through their mobile phones.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Extreme drought

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

This program will be implemented in refugee settlements in the West Nile region of Uganda, where a majority of Uganda's 834,235 South Sudanese refugees reside. This approach is ideal for emergency situation where formal schools are present yet the quality is poor due to overcrowded classrooms and poorly funded education institutions.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

This innovation will be implemented in Rhino Camp and Adjumani, both refugee settlements located in the West Nile region of Uganda with high populations of South Sudanese refugees. The program will be tailored to the Ugandan National curriculum.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

Xavier Project has provided education services for refugees in Uganda since 2008 in both the urban and refugee settlement contexts. We are implementing partners with the Ugandan Government and Operational Partners of UNHCR. Our primary connection for this project will be Viamo with the programming and design of the software platform. Uganda's Ministry of Education and Sports will be a vital partner in the design and validation of the curriculum.

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

Xavier Project has implemented an SMS-based form of mobile learning to multiple sights in Kenya. As a result, we are familiar with designing curricula which compliment national systems and implemented a mobile learning project to over 2,500 refugees in Kenya in 2016.

Innovation Maturity

  • Roll-out/Ready to Scale: I have completed a pilot and am ready or in the process of expanding.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

UK, Kenya, and Uganda



Join the conversation:

Photo of Ishika Agarwal

Cellular mobile phones such as laptop computers, personal digital staff, and cell mobile phones have become a studying tool with great potential in both classes and outdoor studying as said by the expert at . Although there have been qualitative studies of the use of cellular gadgets in education and studying, methodical quantitative studies of the effects of mobile-integrated education and studying are missing.

Photo of Pablo Narudha

Dear David Boze
It's a great IDEA But I have some confusions,
1) how you merge class Book with Game because Book is developed by some teaching methods and education system
2) I Think its a Pilot project but after finish your project how can it's sustainable  

Photo of David Boze

Hi Pablo,

Thanks for the questions and I'm happy to clarify.
1.) The mobile learning platform will be designed based on the national curriculum, therefore quizzes will reflect exactly what is in the textbooks and lessons of the children. Teachers and the Ministry of Education will be heavily involved in the design of the quizzes and games.
2.) After the costs of designing the curriculum, the ongoing costs are quite minimal. As a result, the program will be quite sustainable. After the initial investment of designing, recording, and testing the quizzes, the only major ongoing costs would be the payment of part-time community workers to make sure the program is running smoothly.

Photo of Byrone Buyu

Great Ideas David

Do South Sudanese P7 students understand English at the necessary level? Hi David, cant a feature be added on the games where students can get an English tutorial to improve their fluency

Students can use a shared mobile phone or their own mobile phone to learn when they are interested in learning after school: How about also introduce Eneza lesson times in school like 35 mins a day which will be administered by a trained teacher in school to improve the level of use in addition to their own times

Photo of David Boze

Hi Byrone,

A great question. When we design the learning tools for this platform, teacher input will be vital so that we can make sure that we are creating some that children can understand. Also, before rolling out the platform, we will test a number quizzes and games on children in the West Nile Region to make sure that they can understand and interact with the learning material. With input from teachers and children, we hope to have a tool that is effective and relevant to the context.

Introduction of the mobile-learning within the classroom is possible. For the time being, we are hoping to use our tool to compliment students' education by providing opportunities to continue learning outside the classroom. If teachers desire mobile phone-based lessons, that is something that we can certainly explore.

Photo of Seje

In your quest to provide quality education to refugee children in emergency settings, the use of technology will go along way in aiding their accelerated learning since the students will have the learner centered materials to interact with at their convenience. It will be interesting to see the impact of the project and see if it can be rolled out in refugee camps across East Africa.

Photo of Mary Kwena

Hi, David, this is a great opportunity and learning platform for refugees. It would be particularly interesting for the boys and girls to learn about reproductive health through games. I am not very sure about the structure in terms of how many words you are limited to write, but i think it would be great to add some statistics to show gaps for the problem being addressed. Asante.

Photo of Kubana Alexis

Great idea David,
It's really innovative and I like the fact that you have also included Wanji games that will help learners sharpen their minds hence avoiding them to be bored at all. You have also chosen a suitable class level that will motivate a learner to complete Primary 7 with high score and creative thus making him or her continue secondary school with a purpose. It will be with a great opportunity for both ministry of Education , office of Prime Minister and Xavier Project to fill some of the gaps that refugee children in West Nile region are facing in education especially with this influx of South Sudanese.
Thanks a million for this idea.

Photo of Dexter Findley

Loving the synthesis of SMS learning and the Wanji games "choose your own adventure" twist. That will be a great way to get kids learning without realising they're even doing so - not to mention influencing positive behavioral change. It'd be really cool to get some members of the community to contribute to those stories, to make them super-applicable and relatable for the kids. Some of them could even be real South Sudanese folk tales! Love it.

Photo of Mia Eskelund

This is so interesting, thank you so much for sharing. I have not read about SMS based learning before, but what an interesting technology!

Photo of Ruth

Fantastic idea David.. This shall improve performance tremendously and make a huge impact. Engaging students especially in this context should be a high priority not just for NGOs like yours but for the government and country at large. Having homework included in this is great, it will help the students be more interested and provide an alternative to the usual mundane assignments. I believe that this will improve their retention and overall performance. A great use of technological devices for development. It shall also significantly relieve a lot of the pressure on the teachers when it comes to giving substantive feedback and marking. They shall be able to alert their students on areas to improve on. I wish you and your team all the very best as you execute this project.
Furthermore, is there an opportunity for parents and teachers (even more than they have) to feature as well, perhaps through their own capacity building?

Photo of Mercy

"Information communication technologies (ICT) at present are influencing every aspect of human life. They are playing salient roles in work places, business, education, and entertainment. Moreover,many people recognize ICTs as catalysts for change; change in working conditions,handling and exchanging information, teaching methods, learning approaches,scientific research, and in accessing information." Fisseha Mikre. We cannot deny refugee children the opportunity to acquire this skill that will not only be useful at not only at school but in every other aspect of their lives. Go for it Xavier Project.

scientific research, and in accessing information. T

Photo of David Boze

Hi Mercy,

We at Xavier Project certainly agree. ICT presents very unique opportunities in the field of emergency education, and we believe our gender-sensitive programming will be able to enhance the quality and access of education for all students. Thanks for your support!

Photo of Chrissie Thompson

Well thought through idea that is both innovative while working to supplement the Ugandan education system. It would be good to know how you plan to reach children who don't have access to any mobile phone?

Photo of David Boze

Good question! There are certainly children in emergency situations without access to phones for a variety of reasons. In Kenya, we established phone hubs within schools, where children can use a mobile learning platform despite having no phone. Within the refugee settlements in Uganda, we would take a similar approach, thereby ensuring that children are able to access the platform whether they have a phone or not.

Photo of Justin

Great idea!!! Using the video aids/cartoons is bound to spike an interest/increase in the number of children who will want to use the platform while involving the government (education ministry) is a commendable way of buying goodwill from the relevant stakeholders. Good job!

Photo of David Boze

Hi Justin,

We certainly believe that involving the government in the development of the curriculum is a crucial step.

The thing about this idea is that there actually won't be any visual aids at all! Though visuals would be great to involve students, most children in emergencies don't have access to smart phones. For that reason, our platform will be compatible on non-smart phones. Using audio, our platform will guide children through lessons and stories that will expose them to a variety of educational content in a fun, interactive way.

I'll be sure and make the non-smartphone element of the idea clearer in our idea's description. Thanks!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi David, thanks for the post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there.

And check out our Anatomy of an Amplify Idea visualisation: + some tips on adding visual goodness to your idea:

Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of David Boze

Thanks for the tip! We've got some images and a video to help tell our story.