Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world. One of the major causes of this underdevelopment is low literacy levels, particularly for women. Although Malawi has made significant progress for many children, the path to completing an education is marked by immense hurdles. Nationally, out of the 32% of girls who even manage to stay in school from lower to upper primary school, only 29% of them will finish upper primary school.
In support of the Let Girls Learn Initiative, CARE launched a proven accelerated education program, called SOAR. SOAR (Strengthening Opportunities for Adolescent Resilience) is designed to give out-of-school children the life-changing opportunity to continue (or receive) an education and improve their lives through the development of key foundational skills. The SOAR project, known within Malawi as Kukwera, builds confidence and teaches skills that equip adolescents, particularly girls, to overcome social and economic challenges that keep them from attending and completing school. SOAR/Kukwera works in collaboration and coordination with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MoEST). The program serves as a means to achieve the Government of Malawi’s vision to enhance youth employment and fulfillment of girl’s basic rights to education and to lives free from poverty.
The goal of the Malawi SOAR/Kukwera project is to give marginalized out-of-school adolescents in rural communities a chance to soar and achieve better life outcomes.
Team4Tech started partnering with CARE Malawi in October 2017 to integrate technology into four SOAR centers in the Salima and Kasungu districts. Tablets were introduced into the four centers along with solar panels to power them. Specifically, Adobe teams in 2018 and 2019 provided training for the teachers to boost literacy and math learning for the students. Since then, CARE Malawi is pleased to share:
- Students at the Team4Tech sponsored centers attended more classes (90% attendance rate) than their colleagues (83%) at other SOAR centers. Students are being motivated to continue with their education and are being stimulated and encouraged by the presence of technology at the four centers.
- These same students had higher passing rates on their term assessments than learners at centers without devices.
- Specifically, the passing rates for Math (89% vs. 68%) and English (94% vs. 80%) is significant. This aligns with many of the academic apps loaded onto the tablets and introduced by Adobe volunteers at the Team4Tech sponsored centers.
- Furthermore, it’s exciting to see the inspiration brought forward by introducing technology into these SOAR centers. More than 90% of the students said they hope to do something related to technology later in life.
Overall, the use of tablets provided by the Team4Tech Adobe projects is contributing to increased quality of learning, increased student attendance at the centers, and increased students’ overall academic achievements.
Moreover, one of the center facilitators, Symon, revealed that many parents are extremely happy with their students learning to use technology: Students from the center are now able to assist their parents in operating mobile phones, like how to use the calculator function to accurately process the proceeds of farm produce after sales. Symon is personally grateful to learn how to integrate technology into his work; it has made him develop a stronger passion for teaching – making it a more joyful experience to help students learn how to read, write, and count.