Since our pilot project in 2016–18, the Mobile Learning Lab (MLL) has been implemented in over 25 projects, around 25% of which are funded independently of 60 million girls, but with our technical support. Three-quarters of the projects took place in sub-Saharan Africa and the remainder in Central America and South Asia.
In each project, our partners set the parameters to meet the specific needs of the particular community in which they work. The projects below offer examples of the different ways the MLL can be used to benefit children to improve learning outcomes and provide information to remote communities.
Reaching indigenous children in rural Nicaragua (ongoing) (Change for Children)
This project provided MLLs in three Miskito communities in the Bosawás region of Nicaragua. The project added significant content to the RACHEL in the local indigenous language to promote gender equality, information on sexual and reproductive health, and the benefits of education – particularly for girls. The project focuses on teachers and students in three communities with more students than anticipated accessing the MLL content each month. (Children in four other communities also have access to the MLL but through funding provided by Global Affairs Canada.) Students use the MLLs to do homework and research class assignments. In addition, they are free to explore on their own, or work on developing their computer skills. The MLLs operate with a total of 42 Chromebook laptop computers rather than tablets, with community facilitators (trained, local young people) available to help students and teachers with any technological difficulties.
Improving education quality in rural Ghana (CAMFED)
Ten RACHEL-Plus devices formed the basis of this project in rural Ghana. MLL facilitators – young local women and alumnae of CAMFED schools – received training on using the MLL, and implemented sessions with the devices in pre-selected schools throughout the academic year. The content on the RACHEL-Plus included large, locally-curated libraries designed to directly complement the national school curriculum in upper primary and lower secondary schools. The sessions helped address children’s knowledge gaps in math, science, English, and ICT, while piquing student interest in other topics. The project facilitated over 700 weekly MLL sessions in 37 schools and, on average, MLL sessions boosted the attendance rate to 90%.
Implementing a mobile library for refugee children in South Sudan (War Child Canada)
In this project, our partner installed an MLL, with a solar charging system and 50 tablets, in five schools. Our partner worked with the local education ministry to approve the content on the tablets and, at the end of our funding, the Ministry of Education in Malakal requested an extension of the project to other schools. Through animated stories and games, the MLL allowed students to continue learning throughout the pandemic school closures. The locally relevant content curated for this area reinforced the importance of educated women in the development of the communities. Further, our partner saw increased motivation among the children to attend school and to learn.
Accelerated learning program for overage girls in Liberia (CODE)
This project in rural Liberia provided accelerated learning to 385 overage teenage girls who had not had a chance to go to primary school at the normal school age. Ten of the 25 schools were equipped with MLLs offering the girls a vast array of rich and varied content, games and resources that enhance learning and the opportunity to further explore areas of interest on their own. The MLL initiative provided digital learning materials in academic subjects as well as life skills and sexual health topics. It was noted during the parental engagement sessions that parents were very excited to know their children would have access to tablets and the chance to develop their skills in using technology.
In 2018, we invested C$100,000 to provide 100 Maasai girls with the opportunity to go to secondary school and to increase access to educational resources by the inclusion of one RACHEL and 32 tablets. The program was hugely popular and, in the first year, 300 families applied for the available places. Once in school, the girls used the MLL to improve their English language skills and to study for ministry exams using the national curriculum that was downloaded onto the RACHEL server. In the last two years, with help from the MLLs, they have noted better performance in English, math, and science, along with improved national Form 4 exam results. In 2021, 80 girls from the first class using the MLL graduated from MWEDO’s secondary school.
Click here to look at the complete list of the projects we have supported.