We have to admit, even with a highly competent partner such as Swisscontact, we were unsure whether our approach would work immediately. Would using English as a basis for digital teaching really be helpful? Would we be able to teach literacy as well as complex notions about disease prevention or digital technology to learners who were speaking entirely different languages in their daily lives?
Even our end users, like Awal, were sceptical at first: “When I started learning it was very challenging to work with the computers.” All of these doubts were dispelled, however, as the people of Kakuma quickly connected their own experiences with the digital multimedia elements of the learning materials we had provided. To increase the relevance of our digital materials to their lives, we had included over 5,000 audio elements as well as thousands of digital photos taken directly from their living environment and the results were apparent, as Jeane Kaneza from Kakuma town says: “The lessons are very friendly and the pictures help me to understand easily.”
This not only increased their interest in our blended learning materials, it also allowed them to mentally connect digital sounds and sights to the words and concepts we presented them with. As Miriam Ruiz, Executive Director of Avallain Foundation observes: “Creating a-ACADEMY Skills4Life has been an amazing and challenging experience. The literacy and numeracy apps had to work for users from very different and highly-challenging backgrounds and with different levels of literacy. After seeing the users have fun and learn with a-ACADEMY Skills4Life I am convinced that the skills they will acquire will empower them and unlock their potential.”