How Kids in Kenya Are Texting Their Way into High School

On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, over 1000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder Colorado for the culmination of the Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 12 ventures, tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges, take the stage and share their plans to help define progress in our time. This is one of those talks.

The entrepreneur in this video is Toni Maraviglia of Eneza Education. Eneza uses mobile phones to prepare underserved Kenyan students for their primary-school exit exams.

What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?

In Kenya, 6 million of the 9 million students now in primary school will fail. In rural areas, more than 2/3 fail, with more than 80% of girls failing. Millions of kids are powerless without basic skills to find viable jobs.

Within rural areas 3-5 million students are without basic school resources. Class sizes are more than 60 students per teacher, personal attention is absent, and schools have no student data until it’s too late. Communication among stakeholders is often nil. Other developing countries mirror this problem.

What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.

Eneza Education provides quality tutoring to kids in rural Africa by leveraging simple mobile technology. It’s our aim to reach 50 million students across the rural areas of Africa, enabling them to access assessments and lessons and interact with teachers about their local content. We also provide teachers and parents with data and tips to help students improve. Currently, we have nearly 60,000 students from over 700 schools across Kenya using our products.

About the author

Unreasonable Institute

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.

  • Kait Harman

    As a future teacher this video was very appealing to me. Its amazing how a couple people can influence that many people in a whole other country. Do you believe that this system could work for people in America?

  • LeiderGM20

    Again as a future teacher this was a really great video that makes you think! I’m glad this is helping so many children already and I hope it continues to help more students in the future!

  • Beniamin Martis

    I think this is a good thing for parents, they get to know more about their children’s success. the future of a nation is the youth, if people start investing more in their children we are one generation away from becoming better and higher as a nation.

  • Morgan H

    I think it’s great that you found out that 95% of the people living here own a cellphone and are using it to your advantage and theirs. Education is so important especially in these underdeveloped countries, so it is great that they have access to learning in the palm of their hands! It also sounds like your product is making a huge difference, so congratulations. I’d love to hear more about how you plan to improve your system even more.

  • Amy Rink

    I like what you said in your post, We should do whatever needs to be done in order to get these kids the education they need to succeed. With technology booming I think using the cellphones is great!

  • Alexa A Dralle

    I agree with this too. it is crazy to think that 95% of these people have cell phones, I had no idea! I am so happy that these people are finding away to use something that they already have as a device for learning.

  • Cameron Morrell

    I think this is a good use of technology, but I feel like the money could be better spent on better schools or better textbooks to improve education. Especially with lack of access to the internet and limited cellphone coverage, the monthly cost could be saved and put towards paying for a better school or better materials which would also improve students learning.