Road to Kitale
October 14, 2016

So, You're in Kenya?

In October, 2016, Amy, Kjell, and Mama C travelled to Kitale, Kenya to visit the Mercy and Caring Childrens home. There we had the opportunity to try out our learning software, the product that eventually became Kasuku Stories, for the very first time.

We’re on our way to Kenya.

For 17 months now, we have been participating in a grand challenge competition focused on child literacy called the Global Learning XPRIZE (GLEXP). The GLEXP is a challenge to design software (running on android tablets) that can be used to help children throughout the world — children who may not have reliable access access to schools or teachers—learn to read, write, and do basic arithmetic.

It’s a tall order, and to make it even taller, the solution needs to be language and culture agnostic. It’s an amazing experiment in education—to determine if children can actually teach themselves to read, and when we first learned of it, we knew we wanted to take our best shot at being part of this amazing experiment.

So why Kenya? The Global Learning XPRIZE, with an eye towards proving the language and cultural adaptability of the proposed solutions, has chosen English and Swahili as its initial target languages. Candidate solutions will be piloted in small villages in Tanzania, and we are doing everything we can to make sure our solution is well-adapted to that environment.

So that’s what brings us to East Africa. In a few days, we are heading to a children’s home in rural Kenya: the Mercy and Caring Childrens Home. We will stay there for 10 days, to meet the kids, learn what we can of the language and culture, and give our software is first major field test.

It has been an amazing adventure to get us to this point. For the next two weeks, Amy, Mama C and I will living and breathing the language and culture of rural Kenya. We will check in if we can, so stay tuned for updates.

Tutaonana baadaye!

Other Interesting Reads

October 18, 2016

Kasuku is Tired

By having the device ‘cut off’ an activity at the right time, kids stayed engaged with learning longer. When they were done learning, they simply put the device down, without complaints or tantrums, and come back the next day ready and excited to learn some more. We call this feature “Kasuku is Tired.”
October 16, 2016

Mercy and Caring

I don’t know what I was expecting a children’s home to be like, but I was in no way prepared for the amazing project that Mama Nancy and Mze Edwin built at at Mercy and Caring Childrens Home in Kitale, Kenya.
October 15, 2016

Making it Fly

I’ve been thrown into a lot of unexpected speaking situations, but standing up and facing 40 Swahili-speaking children in East Africa, challenged with the task of explaining why we were there—this was not a topic or setting that I had any experience in.
October 14, 2016

Road to Kitale

From the inside of a bus, we got our first look at Kenya proper. We saw apartments, golf courses, donkey carts, piki pikis, tuk tuks, markets, shepherds, zebras, baboons, and M-pesa stands everywhere. We saw more things than we could conceivably process, and then we saw more. For 6 hours we looked out the windows onto a country that we don’t yet understand
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