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In Kenya, 6 million of the 9 million students now in primary school will fail. In rural areas, more than 2/3 fail, with more than 80% of girls failing. Millions of kids are powerless without basic skills to find viable jobs. Within rural areas 3-5 million students are without basic school resources. Class sizes are more than 60 students per teacher, personal attention is absent, and schools have no student data until it’s too late. Communication among stakeholders is often nil. Other developing countries mirror this problem. From the hundreds of teachers I’ve worked with and as a teacher myself, I’ve found that what schools need is quality resources and a simple means to communicate. Why not mobile phones?
To date MPrep has: 1) Sold educational content to over 8,000 users at over 400 schools across Kenya, and we’ve sold 15 school accounts. 2) Sold one customized platform and are currently working on 3 additional customized platform bids. 3) From our initial impact study, we’ve proven that MPrep helps students increase their exam scores in English, Math, Kiswahili, and Science more than the average student. 4) We’ve raised $80,000 through competitions to date and have recently closed $200,000 in seed capital in order to expand our product capabilities and reach across Kenya. 5) Our partners include Safaricom, the Kenyan Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA), and biNu, and we have strong supporters within the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, the Kenyan Secondary School Heads Association (KSSHA) and iHub community. 6) We’re also being incubated at the m:Lab in Nairobi.
I’m the co-founder and CEO of MPrep, but I will ALWAYS consider myself a teacher at heart. I was a Teach For America corps member and program manager in New York City, a writing teacher at Harlem Village Academies, and in 2008, I helped start a successful educational program in rural Kenya called WISERBridge. The program quadrupled the passing rate of students from 2008-2011. After living in a hut for a year, I also became incredibly attached to rural areas. In 2011, I was searching for ways to replicate this success across the country, and I ran into the idea of leveraging mobile phones to do so. Seeing a huge opportunity to reach remote areas like my “dala,” (home in Luo tribal language,) I decided to drop out of business school and pursue the idea.
I’m the founder of MiliQi Networks, a web application development proprietorship and the co-founder and CTO of MPrep. I love to create applications that take extra attention to things that clients - their users - didn’t know they had. I’m always looking for new ways to replace problems with software, and I have developed a keen interest in mobile apps. Out of this interest I met MPrep.
MPrep’s Co-Founders are Toni, Teach For America alumni with 7+ years of teaching experience, our CTO, Kago has 8+ years experience in technical development. The rest of our full-time staff consists of 11 “overachieving rebels,” as we like to call ourselves; we work long hours and stop at nothing to make MPrep a success. We have three teachers on our team, but we also get advice from hundreds of local teachers. We’ve also partnered with Safaricom, biNu, the principals association, and have advisors within the Ministry, TFA and Pearson.
$1,394 at the end of Day 3 and 29 sponsors. WOW. We're blown away by all the social media attention and kudos we've been getting.
Know anyone else that is interested in contributing? Send them our way!
Also, if you'd like to donate via M-Pesa, follow these instructions:
1. Use the Pay Bill option from your Safaricom Line
2. Enter the Business number 531300
3. Enter the Account number MPREP
4. Enter the Amount, your PIN...
5. Let us know if you want your name posted or if you'd like to be kept anonymous.
If you want to contribute in cash, stop by the office in the m:Lab and we'll post your contribution for you!
And don't forget to check out our facebook page for more funny pics/videos of the MPrep Team: http://facebook.com/MPrep
A great BIG thank you to all of our early supporters!! We raised $771 on our first day and are looking forward to keeping the momentum going. With your help, we'll be scaling MPrep to the kids that need it most in no time!
Want to help even more?! Email our campaign link to a friend and ask them to contribute too. Better yet, SMS them the link. Or the best -- tell them about it in person! If there's anything I learned from teaching, it's that a little personal attention goes a long way.
Thanks again and spread the education love!
P.S. We will be posting funny pics/videos of the MPrep Staff on our facebook page as another thanks for contributing. Check it out! >> http://facebook.com/MPrep