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Instant Class for Emergencies

Instant Class for Emergencies provides access to learning content for schools in Kenya using an off-grid, ruggedized projector and a tablet.

Photo of Kim Kimosop

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What problem does your innovation solve?

It is crucial to provide education from the OUTSET of every humanitarian response. Not to do so is to deny affected children crucial survival skills, a sense of hope and the capacity to be productive citizens once the emergency is over. As stakeholders in the welfare of the future generation, it is our task to provide alternative, viable solutions to this problem not only through funding but also by developing resilient and easy to deploy education models for children affected by crises.

Explain your innovation.

At Instant Class for Emergencies, we are re-imagining the classroom as it were but with simple, affordable, and easy to deploy technology. 1 Tab 1 Student model is ideal but needs extensive resources, connection to the power grid and internet as well as well good infrastructure for storage; all these aren’t available during emergencies. Instant Class for Emergencies has approached provision of education during crises from the ‘classroom’ perspective instead of providing a tab for each student. Instead we have a projector for the students and a tablet pre-loaded with content for the teacher. This makes it 10x cheaper than the 1 Tab 1 Student model, reduces deployment time since only the teacher or volunteers are trained to use the kit, and does not rely on constant connection to the grid because it has pre-loaded content plus a solar panel for charging. The Kit consists of the following: 1xMini-Projector + Tripod Stand 1xTablet-7” with pre-loaded content 1xSolar Panel 1xProjector screen + Tripod Stand 40 Workbooks for students 40 Pencils for students The kit is targeted at a class of 40 students. The teacher is able to broadcast the content from the tablet via WIFI onto the projector which then projects it into the projector screen. The tablet and the projector are encrypted so as to protect the devices from theft; one cannot work without the other. It works in off-grid areas since it comes with a solar panel.

Who benefits?

This product targets lower school going kids (6-13 years) from emergency affected and remote areas. In Kenya girls are more likely to drop out of school during crisis due to the need to trek many miles to get schools to attend. This is a global trend and girls suffer more during emergencies, it is therefore correct to say that the girl child is bound to benefit more when this innovation is adopted. In Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps we have 23,013 school going children. These children need access to learning material as fast as possible so as to better their future lives. We aim to reach 15 schools approximately 4000 students by within Kenya by mid-2019.

How is your innovation unique?

Instant Class for Emergencies delivers a unique approach to education during crisis because it is designed for quick and affordable deployment. Funding for education during crisis is usually a problem since there are other issues such as healthcare, food and shelter that are seen to need more immediate attention. With this in mind our product provides a cheaper alternative that will allow each class in a school of up to 400 students to be supplied with the tablet, a projector, workbooks, and pens for a cost equivalent to supplying one class of 40 students in 1tablet 1student model. The high luminosity of ensures that it can work outside. This approach has been tried before by UNICEF in Uganda. It didn't catch up due to design problems and they didn’t quite focus on the target niche, it was being used as public address system too. The design problems emanated from the kit being made of devices sourced from different suppliers hence there was no adequate support when it came to repair

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Right now we have not developed/conceptualized a concrete business model though we look to partner with first responders to be able to provide the kit for them to use during times of emergencies.

Tell us more about you.

We are a team of 3 friends who truly believe in this product. Sharon Nasimiyu – Currently Instant Network Schools Vodafone Kenya Coordinator (attached to Safaricom Kenya Corporate Affairs Division). Kimosop Chepkoit – Radio Design Engineer currently working at Safaricom Limited, Kenya. Kimosop is the guy behind the idea. Shaka Juma – Currently Firmware/Hardware Lead Design Engineer at BBOX Rwanda. Juma is tasked with writing firmware and circuit board design for the kit

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

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

This product is suitable for all kind of emergencies especially prolonged conflicts and natural disasters that lead to displacement of persons. Rural/remote regions where textbooks and content is not available will also benefit from this kit since it will provide them with materials for learning.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

We are targeting displaced persons in refugee camps especially in Kakuma and Daadab and internally displaced persons who are regularly displaced due to cattle rustling, clan wars, and natural disasters such as floods. We will also target pastoral communities who give moving from one point to the other and lack proper infrastructure and educational content. In Kenya we already have digital content readily available, it only needs to be customized to suit the mode of delivery.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

One of the team members Sharon Nasimiyu has good experience when it comes to education related innovations for marginalized areas. She is currently working as Vodafone Instant Class coordinator for Kenya as well as Innovation in Education officer for Safaricom corporate affairs team. We do not have any official partnerships apart from assurance from BRCK that they will help us by providing technical know-how on building of the prototype.

Sector Expertise

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

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

The innovation will be implemented by a team of three campus friends. All of us are engineers but have taken diverse careers. Juma works as a Hardware/ Firmware engineer for one of the most vibrant African Startups in pay-per-use solar kit known as BBOX in Rwanda, Sharon works as a Innovation in Education expert for Safaricom Corporate Affairs team as well as the Vodafone Instant Classroom coordinator in Kenya, and Kimosop works as a Radio Frequency Planning and Optimization Engineer.

Innovation Maturity

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.

Organization Status

  • We are not registered but plan to in the future.

Organization Location

Based in Nairobi, Kenya



How has your Idea changed based on feedback?

After gathering all these feedback we came back and brainstormed as a team. After considering all possible solutions to the questions raised and also maintaining the core objective of the Instant Class Mini- Projector which is simplicity and speed of deployment, we added the following changes: 1. A tablet for the teacher 2. Solar panel to provide free and clean power for charging the kit. 3. 40 exercise/writing books and 40 pencils for the students per kit.

Who will implement this Idea?

Right now we do not have partnerships however BRCK has agreed to support us on design since they already have the know-how on hardware development and integration of components such as processors, batteries and circuit boards. Two staff, Juma Shaka and Kimosop Chepkoit will work full time on the development of the prototype and Sharon Nasimiyu will join upon completion of the prototype so as to enable us scale given her experience on the education sector innovations in Kenya especially working as Vodafone Instant Network Class coordinator for refugee camps in Kenya.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

1. The challenges faced by my end users are numerous but specific to their education, I would say it is the access to high quality education just like all other kids studying in good schools. 2. The systems level challenge would be the curating of highly relevant content and presenting it in a way that even volunteers can become teachers without much training.

How is your organization considering sustainable growth in order to continue making an impact over time?

For any organization/Team to grow, it must always purpose to improve its products by factoring in feedback as well as market needs. We aim to continue ideating in this space of education for emergencies as well as education for the general public. Our next step after the Instant Class for Emergencies Kit is to probably provide a more all rounded approach to the idea by coming up with an easy to install and easily portable classroom. With proper partnerships we believe that we will be able to sustain ourselves with the revenues from the kit and also grants.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact that you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question/hurdle you need to address to get there?

IMPACT: By 2019, we aim to bring our programs to Kenya at scale, reaching 4,000 school going kids directly through our model. QUESTION: "How do we conceptualize/develop our model to maintain quality, sustainability, and replicability while adapting to cultural context in order to achieve our Vision of enabling children in emergencies to get access to quality education as per the SDGs?

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) outcomes for this project?

To measure the results of this project, we will look at several things: -Our ability to incorporate user feedback on the kit iterations so as to make sure that we deliver a kit that meets the students and teachers needs. -The ease of adoption of the kit; how fast do teachers learn to use the kit? -How fast are we/our partners able to avail approved content for different regions/countries? -How fast are the kits delivered to the user upon request?

What is the timeline for your project Idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Key steps: 2017-March 2018 Design and produce a prototype. April 2018-June 2018 Test the prototype in select schools in Northern Kenya while gathering feedback for the final version July 2018- September 2018 Incorporate user feedback on our final v1 design of the kit October 2018- Mass produce the v1 kits and continue to iterate and incorporate other products/features as per the user needs.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • We didn't have an operating budget

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed Idea live?

  • No paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country that you intend to implement your Idea in?

  • We are not a registered entity.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this Idea together?

  • Less than 6 months

What do you need the most support with for your innovation?

  • Business Development / Partnerships Support
  • Understanding User and/or Community
  • Business Model Support


Join the conversation:

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Photo of Agaba Peter

Will u first give the hands on skill for example project use to beneficiaries???

Photo of Kim Kimosop

I haven't quite understood your question but I will assume you want to know the importance of such product to the beneficiaries.
During emergencies provision of education is seen as not an emergency compared to healthcare, food, and shelter and as a result most of the humanitarian bodies end up not including it in their programs and budgets. With this [roduct, we are trying to lower the cost of providing education during emergencies as well as providing technologically relevant and easy to deploy system so that school going kids do not miss out on education during emergencies.

Photo of Dave Hughes

Hi Kim, this is a great idea! My name is David Hughes and I am the Project Director for the Bendigo Inventor Awards.

Now in our 7th year, the Bendigo Inventor awards have as our focus inventions that address needs in the Emergency Services and Disaster Management space, and we offer a AUD$10,000 prize for the winning entry. The Bendigo Inventor Awards has also created an environment for inventors to obtain support for their ideas by bringing together a coalition of partners with the knowledge, skills and networks to accelerate the progression of ideas from concept through to commercialisation. Major Program Partners include Engineers Australia who are providing technical feedback, KPMG who are offering advice on commercial viability and the path to commercialisation and Red Cross, who are providing their perspective on the relevance of many inventions to disaster relief efforts. Our judging panel also contains representatives from Emergency Management Victoria, who are able to provide similar feedback on the applicability of inventions to the emergency services.

I believe your idea would be a fantastic entry into the awards. Applying is easy and can be done through our website Simply select the category that your invention applies to – ‘Concept’ or ‘Product and Prototype’, and answer some questions about your invention. All judges are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so your idea is protected. Entries close 5pm Friday 29th September 2017 AEST.

I very much look forward to seeing your invention go on to great success, and hope we are able to assist you in enabling that to happen. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch on the phone number above, or via my email at

David Hughes
Project Director
Bendigo Inventor Awards

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Kim and Team!

We’re excited to share feedback and questions from our experts with you. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your Idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your Idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

Based on your knowledge and experience, is this a new approach or bold way of answering the challenge question?
One expert shared, “ I like how this service is a quick way to distribute educational content rapidly and is potentially cost-effective method compare to other technology types.”

A question that came up was that this idea has already been attempted by several other organizations, such as UNICEF's School in a Box, Library For All and Kio Kits, how is your idea differentiated or how does it support existing programs?

Is your idea human-centered?
Experts are interested to hear what you learned from your users/beneficiaries. One expert said, “There’s potential that this service may be useful for teachers; Particularly if it is able to project content onto a large area. Additionally, in emergency situations, teachers may not have the time or capacity to organize materials for classroom and this device will certainly assist teachers. This idea is feasible and viable to deliver education, PROVIDED that there are teachers available to teach the content. Additionally, how will educational content capture students at different levels of learning, native languages and provide culturally relevant materials?”

Expert’s thoughts on your business model: While you didn’t share your model, experts had some thoughts and ideas for you for example, “There is potential to become a sustainable model, particularly when most of the expenses will occur in the development and shipment of the product. As mentioned, this product is in the early-innovation stage and will need to find sustainable mechanisms to support and fund this venture in the future. But it could be achievable if this venture was from a large organization.” We are excited to hear your thoughts in the next phase.

Final thoughts and questions:
Is the operating system easy to use?
How will training be provided to educators?
In times of large crises, such as a tsunami in Indonesia, there may not be teachers readily available. How would this system overcome this?

Expert shared some ideas to help solve some of the challenges they saw, “I like the idea but the use of evidence would make your case stronger. I think you need to include additional benefits to help differentiate your product in the market; because, this will help to prevent organizations producing projectors to leverage your idea as their own. Could the project itself be solar powered? That way it won't have to be reliant on existing electrical infrastructure.” Another expert thought another way to tackle some of the big problems would be to team up with an established organization to leverage your knowledge and skills. We are excited to hear your thoughts in the next Phase!

Join us for Storytelling Office Hours tomorrow, Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 8:30AM - 9:30AM PST! RSVP here: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an Idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - August 6 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your Idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more and thank you for the important work you are doing!

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Thanks to openIDEO, Partners, and the experts for according us the opportunity to participate in this Challenge.

Instant Class for Emergencies is a bold way of tackling education delivery during emergencies. According to UNICEF, in Kenya, 49% of refugee children are out of school. Without education and its support, these children are at risk of further violence and losing hope – undermining their own future and that of their community, our idea leverages on simplicity, affordability and ease of deployment to help reduce this number. I have had time to look at other similar products such as the UNICEF Uganda Mobicase and the Kio Kit, in fact they are the main motivators for this product we are developing. We have tried to eliminate some of the aspects that might have made those innovation unsuccessful at first. An example is the Mobicase; one of the main challenges faced was lack of proper support for repairs and content. The Mobicase was assembled using products from different manufacturers, the laptop, projector, book reader and other components were sourced differently hence in the end it became hard to repair faulty components since the tutor didn't have a single point of support for repairs. It is also important to focus on a single niche when developing such products, for us, we are only focusing on education for 6-13 year olds so that we can have enough time to work with content providers in customizing the content in an easy to deploy format and tutor friendly GUI. The KioKit, a similar product to the Vodafone Instant Classroom that mainly targets refugees is an excellent product. However, the cost is prohibitive given that most humanitarian bodies spend around 2% of their funds on education.

We do appreciate that well-curated, local content is sometimes a challenge. The advantage with Kenya is that the school curriculum is in English so the need for native language content might not emerge. Native languages are only used for explanations by the teacher. There are several organization even including government agencies here in Kenya that provide digital curriculum for Primary school kids. Apart from our familiarity with the region and the need for such product, availability of content is one of the main reasons why we are choosing Kenya as our pilot region. The screen provided is big enough to allow a 40-student class to learn comfortably. This kit can also work outside given that in most cases we won't have proper infrastructure, this is possible by use of a high luminosity projector and a special projector screen. It is true that in most cases, teachers will not be available during emergencies. We haven't fully figured out a workaround for this but we think the trick lies in well customized and properly organized content and tutor guides such that even local volunteers can be able to act as teachers during such times.

One of the challenges we faced during the feedback phase was the ease of navigation using a simple remote and the Android OS installed on the projector. This prompted us, upon discussing with BRCK CTO to introduce a tablet so that the teacher can easily navigate through content and also do lesson planning even when at home. The tablet comes with a 2G/3G SIM card slot that will enable us to update the content during schools holidays and also enables us to monitor the usage and status of the kits hence we can provide instant support when we detect any fault. The tablet is tied to the projector. This encryption ensures that one doesn't work without the other hence will help prevent theft of the kit components. Another issue we noted was the lack of power in the rural areas and especially during emergencies since most of the infrastructure is destroyed. The kit will therefore be solar powered and the projector's battery can store charge for up to 4 hrs ensuring full reliability even on cloudy days.

Partnerships with big organizations is the best way for this product. This is because small organizations have time to focus on the product improvement and have time to perform iteration after iteration to make the design human centered as opposed to big organizations that might not have the time to do this. I have had a chat with BRCK (nothing formal) about the same and they are really interested but they want to see the product first, luckily they are willing to help us in areas of design and manufacturing links in China. As pointed out by the experts, most of our costs will be in manufacturing and shipping; good design can help bring the costs of manufacturing down. From the initial discussions with BRCK CTO, the projector alone can cost between 200-250USD. From our estimations, the kit (Projector, Tablet, Projector screen, 40 workbooks, and 40 pencils) should cost less than 750USD making it affordable compared to 1TAB 1STUDENT model which costs upwards 5000USD for a class of 40 students.

Thanks for your time!

Photo of Balint Katona

Kim Kimosop 

Hi Kim,

just fyi, you might be interested



Photo of Kim Kimosop

Thanks Balint Katona . One of the team members works with Vodafone in deployment of the Instant Classroom in Daadab and Kakuma in Kenya. Our model aims at improving this noble idea mainly through affordability, non-reliability on internet/power grid connection and ease of deployment.

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Ashley Tillman Isaac Jumba I have managed to engage some parties this week. I spoke to Vodafone Group Instant Class Coordinator for Kenya. They are targeting upwards 63000 refugees in 40 schools by end of 2018, currently they are doing 31 schools and 41000 students. She also spoke about some of the challenges they face when rolling out the Instant Classroom program (
Most of the challenges revolve around funding and connectivity. They can't roll out the program where there is no 3G coverage since the devices have to constantly update/retrieve content, this means that their progress has not only been hindered by the expensive kits but also lack of good 3G coverage in Kenya and across Africa. Whenever they want to roll out the Instant Classrooms in area that doesn't have coverage, they have to request Safaricom to build a BTS within close proximity which sometimes doesn't happen due to lack a business case for Safaricom to spend huge sums of money on BTSs that do not generate revenue and to make it worse are located in highly insecure areas hence the need for armed security during routine maintenance and generator fueling which further drives up the cost.
I also had a chat with BRCK CTO, @Reg Orton. He is interested in helping out and he has given me an appointment with him on Friday 14th to further discuss on the idea. I can't wait!!

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Kim Kimosop that's very exciting! How did your meeting go?

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Hi Ashley Tillman , I trust that you are faring on well. The meeting was great. Reg, took me through the Kio Kit right from design to classroom scenario. According to him, the idea is viable and will be reasonably affordable compared to other technology related educational products out there. Coincidentally he has been working on a similar idea, adding a projector to the Kio Kit though it seems it is not a priority for them for now as they are working on improving what they already have. The projector from his experience can be produced for roughly 200USD.
Of course he had some questions that mainly centered on the User Interface which I can see your experts have captured as 'the ease of using the Operating System'. My initial thinking was the familiar Android OS on the projector but his suggestion was to introduce a tablet for the teacher on top of the Android OS on the Projector. From our initial idea, we had not captured how the teacher was going to do lesson planning especially at home. Introducing a tablet made sense otherwise the teacher would have to set up the projector at home or wherever for him/her to do lesson planning for the next day's classes.
For the Kio Kits, they have broadcast feature where the teacher can broadcast from his/her tablet to the students tablets so that all of them are reading from the same page. This is a feature we borrowed to enable us link the tablet to the projector. It uses WiFi and has a security feature tying the tablet to a specific kit. We also believe this will help us prevent other people from leveraging on this idea by producing projectors with internal memories and passing them as educational kits, an issue raised by your experts.
Good enough, when we did the user tests at a local school using an off the shelf projector (minus the tablet), the teachers raised the same issues about lesson planning and the need for a friendly UI. This, the tablet as suggested by Reg had solved.
We also discussed about support available locally in Nairobi. Manufacturing is done in China for obvious reasons but he is willing to help us do the design locally especially on things like batteries, processors and circuit board designs. He says he is happy to help grow hardware startups in Africa, and that there will be no need for us to start from scratch, we just need to ask them for assistance any needed.

In summary this is how the idea has evolved:
Initially: Projector + Projector Screen + Content
After User Feedback: Projector + Tablet + Content + Solar Panel +Projector Screen + 40 workbooks + 40 pencils
We have added more features while still maintaining the simplistic model that existed before.

Good day Ashley!

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hey Ashley Tillman , thanks for the tag!

Hi Kim Kimosop , this is really a great idea that you and your partner have come up with, especially on thinking about delivery, storage and presentation.
Since we are still at the ideas stage, I would recommmend that share your idea with diferent community members to get their perspective, especially those from the areas you hope to implement your idea (Indonesia and the rest). Also check out other ideas and see if you could colabrate or get more ideas/suggestions.

I'm sure you have heard of BRCK ( - Any chance of collaboration or looking at what they have done?
It will also be interesting to spend more time looking at what simple prototype your team could create to show that your idea work, how much the device will cost, how it will be stored, how many students can the device serve? And if the device already exists in other markets. I hope this helps.
Looking forward to offer more guidance

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Jumba, thanks for the prompt response. Yes, I do know of BRCK, in fact that's where I drew the inspiration for this idea. I will try my best to reach the BRCK team and The Vodafone Foundation through colleagues at Safaricom to learn from them as we try to come up with a prototype and test all the scenarios you have mentioned. Kindly drop me your contacts at, I am sure I will need your guidance.

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hello Kim Kimosop , whereas talking the discussions offline would certainly be of value, the OpenIdeo platform was created to foster more open innovation and collaboration, and to get lots of input from OpenIdeo community members from around the world. So it will be great to share the insights in the comments section, so others can stay updated. My email is

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Jumba, thanks.

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Kim! Enjoyed ready about your idea, wanted to connect you with Isaac Jumba who leads our Nairobi OpenIDEO Chapter to see if he has any thoughts on your idea.

Best of luck and looking forward to seeing how your idea progresses!

Photo of Kim Kimosop

Thanks Ashley! Would really appreciate it. Contact me at

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Kim, great to have you in the Challenge! The Ideas Phase closes June 25 at 11:30PM PST. Make sure your idea is published so others can see it! Only published ideas are eligible. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top.

We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge!