To reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian government enforced nationwide school closures in March 2020 which disrupted the education of millions of children. The children whose lives have been the most affected are those from low-income homes. Due to the high rate of poverty and social inequality majority of these children lack access to any learning tools.
The Special Foundation Literacy project which commenced on the 16th of June, 2020 in Kuchiyako Community, Kuje, Abuja was founded to provide learning opportunities for children in marginalised communities during the pandemic.
The literacy project utilizes an EdTech solution for remote learning- The Mavis Talking Books™️ (an audio-visual, offline solution). The user simply has to turn on the Talking Pen and tap on the pages of the book to hear the lessons and do exercises in a fun and engaging manner. This eliminates the need for a mobile device, internet connection, TV or Radio and allows children learn in the absence of a teacher.
The Literacy Project has so far impacted the lives of over 300 children in Kuchiyako community by improving their literacy and learning profoundly. Baseline tests at the start of the project and further assessments during and after the project revealed the immense growth the children made.
Besides the academic improvements, the children have developed a renewed love and enthusiasm for learning and they are ready to return to school after refreshing their memories with the aid of the talking books and pens. They were also very conscious of following the required COVID-19 safety procedures after they saw the project team constantly use face masks, practice physical distancing and ensure that every child uses the provided hand sanitizers.
Founder, Seyi Akinwale, said: “The Special Foundation’s partnership with Kazahchat School and Mavis talking books has been instrumental in the successful execution of the Literacy Project. We’ve been pleased with the results of the baseline tests which have shown improved learnings from the children. If the environment is going to change we cannot particularly focus on our businesses alone, we have to engage with leaders to collectively find solutions to the ills in the society”.
“The talking pen makes us learn and teaches us our pronunciations” Grace Obodo, one of the beneficiary said.