As dissemination projects advanced in Zambia and Ethiopia, specific requests were made for adding local content and resources which would require a more flexible framework for e-content delivery including readily moving content to tablets and other portable devices. Projects and groups have been developed in both countries for these purposes and will be described below as country specific Sparkman eLearning Projects (SeP).
Sparkman eLearning Project: Zambia
A group of computer technology innovators was developed as part of the VVOB activities within the Zambia Ministry of Education and came to be known as BongoHive (BongoHive). With initial investment from SCGH in 2011, BongoHive became an independent non-profit under the leadership of Lukonga Lindunda (About BongoHive). They have flourished and are now part of many regional and international tech groups and have become very impactful locally in the areas of tech and business innovation and early development. Support for SCGH Zambia eL activities were all arranged in collaboration with BongoHive leadership including the Peace Corps project described above and discussions around potential synergies are continual.
The desire for a more flexible eG delivery framework as well as being able to add and organize local content led to the development of a new framework locally called Mano-app. With a desire to focus on development of local computer coding talent as well as dissemination projects, a new non-profit entity was developed in June 2016 called Hacker’s Guild (Hackers Guild) and led by Charles Mwanza and Bornwell Mwewa. Supported by SCGH, a more flexible Ubuntu-based framework for local content organization and presentation was developed in early 2016. This framework, which is still under development, has now been used for a Vanderbilt University Nurse Anesthetist training program in Kenya and plans are made for projects with Chainama College of Health Sciences in Kabwe and possibly with the Zambian Ministry of Education. eL content is also now catalogued for subset delivery in various settings.
Hacker’s Guild is also partnered with SCGH and Peace Corps Zambia and Daniel Bevington (Daniel Bevington) in the development of a Girls Can Code (Girls Can Code) project to be delivered in a northern rural setting in Zambia in January 2017.
Sparkman eLearning Project: Ethiopia
Support of eL activities in Ethiopia began in 2013 when Dr. Wilson began working with Addis Ababa University as part of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative. Trainings were needed for donated eG units and these were done by Lukonga Lindunda from BongoHive, Zambia. Subsequently, SCGH Dr. Wilson met an eL associate, Mulugeta Assefa who was already involved with a USAID Girls Can Code project. Mr. Assefa supported the eG installations in four medical colleges involved in the MEPI project.
As the work in Zambia progressed in early 2016, the Ministries of Health and Education of Ethiopia each expressed interest in supporting dissemination of any e-learning tools and platforms that could be developed. With this in mind, Mr. Mwewa and Mwanza from BongoHive, Zambia traveled to Ethiopia in March 2016 and trained Ethiopian programmers on the development of the new Ubuntu-based framework.
With these developing set of projects, a new NGO named Support Education (Support Education) was formed in Ethiopia to carry out these activities under the leadership of Mr. Assefa.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education (MoE) in early 2016 for the development of a resource for Secondary Schools in Ethiopia. MoE agreed to turn over all of their resources for grades 9-12 including textbooks, lecture videos and all other complimentary resources so they could be organized by grade, curriculum and ultimately syllabus on the Ubuntu-based framework. These full resources will then be supplemented with eG based resources and loaded for delivery onto appropriate servers and hard drives for use in secondary schools. The delivery concept is the same as that for eL and is based on web based content delivered on a LAN. In this case we will be using 7 inch tablets for the end user platform. SCGH has agreed to provide support for this resource development and a pilot project which will be initiated in October 2016 in Burayu Secondary and Preparatory School in Burayu, Oromia state (Burayu Secondary and Prepartory School) just outside of Addis Ababa. Once this platform and pilot is assessed, further plans will be made for more rural dissemination. Overall plan is for dissemination to all 3800 secondary schools.
A similar MOU was signed with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) in early 2016 for the development of a resource around the curriculum for training doctors (MBChB). The first phase is for setting the full medical curriculum into the Ubuntu-based framework and uploading all available textbooks for dissemination to all 24 medical schools. This framework was completed in early September 2016 with plans for training in late September. The MoH is providing servers for all schools without them and had previously purchased 2200 tablets for use by the medical students. The second phase of this project will be continuing to develop materials to the level of Moodle for actual course organization and presentation. This is expected to be an ongoing project for the next 12 months.
SeP Ethiopia: May 2017 Update
The collaborations with Support Education and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education continued to develop and a delivery model using only tablets containing complete content for each grade was tested further at Burayu Secondary and Preparatory School and at a new placement at Chacha Secondary and Preparatory School in Amhara state. Dr. Wilson made visits to each school to get feedback and discuss further plans with local leadership. We hope to have tablets for all students in grades 9-12 available for the new school year starting in September 2017 at both Burayu and Chacha.
SeP Ethiopia: August 2017 Update
Dr. Craig Wilson completed a follow up visit to Ethiopia that included meetings with Support Education Staff, the Ministry of Education main office, plus visits with Oromia and Amhara Bureaus, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Department for International Development (DFID). Considerable interest and support has been generated for the Secondary/Preparatory as well as Medical and Veterinary digitization projects. The visit was made more colorful and interesting as it occurred during the Filseta Miriam (Assumption) 15 day fasting period.
SeP Ethiopia: November 2017 Update
Dr. Craig Wilson completed a follow up visit to Ethiopia earlier this month that included meetings with the Ministry of Education and with Oromia and Amhara Bureaus. The visit concluded with a recognition that a significant milestone had been reached in the collaborative project that had been ongoing for nearly 18 months. The milestone was the completed digitization of all of the Grade 9-12 general education resources plus the creation of a supplementary set of resources that could be used as a library at each school. Pilot projects had also been successfully completed in Burayu in the Oromia Region and Chacha in the Amhara Region. Delivery systems have been tested in each school and visits by MOE and Bureau leadership including curriculum and IT staff were made during the visit. A ceremony marking the milestone was held in Addis Ababa on the 16th November. Special recognition of the Support Education staff led by Mulugeta Assefa (Project Director) and Abnet Seife (main development programmer), Henok Tesfaye (programmer and developer), Selamawit Tekeleyared (programmer and developer), Bizuna Takele (Education Consultant and Project Leadership). Some pics of the visit are below.