ICT to Improve Girls’ Education in Malawi with Adobe, AECOM, Salesforce, and Twitter
Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world, with over 50% of its population of 19 million people living below the poverty line on less than $1.25 a day. Challenges are particularly acute for girls and women, with Malawi ranking 145 out of 159 countries in the 2015 Gender Inequality Index. CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Girls and women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education, health, and economic opportunities for all. CARE’s work in education strives to increase educational attainment, improve educational quality, further gender equity, and promote empowerment for marginalized children.
Through its SOAR Initiative (Strengthening Opportunities for Adolescent Resilience), CARE is committed to reaching 3 million adolescent girls in seven countries. SOAR provides an intensive, high-quality accelerated curriculum for girls who were unable to either start or finish primary school. In Malawi, the accelerated program covers Grades 1-4 in 11 months. It builds confidence and teaches skills the girls need to overcome the social and economic factors that keep them from school, prepares parents to embrace educational opportunities for their daughters, and engages men and boys to be part of the support system.
Team4Tech is collaborating with CARE Malawi to incorporate technology into their SOAR Learning Centers. CARE Malawi will eventually open twenty such centers in the Salima and Kasungu districts, with each Center serving up to 45 students. In the first four pilot Centers, the 2017 Team4Tech volunteers helped them deploy tablets for in-class use, trained teachers how to use relevant applications on the tablets for instruction, and trained staff how to use tablets for school management (collecting and tracking grades, attendance, etc.). The 2018 volunteer group’s work benefitted the second cohort of SOAR students, distributing more tablets across the pilots schools and providing additional training on how to effectively use the tablets in the classroom. They also rolled out a comprehensive set of educational applications to be integrated into the SOAR curriculum, and made strides towards digitizing the curriculum. The goal is for CARE Malawi to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the SOAR curriculum and to be able to more easily scale it up to reach more out-of-school girls across the country.