Quality basic education: an essential human right that nearly 61 million primary school aged children are left without each year.1 With current technological advances and such widespread internet access available around the world, why are so many learners being left behind?
At Avallain AG we asked ourselves that same question and after years of committing our time, resources and expertise to finding solutions, we are officially launching our contribution: Avallain Foundation.
Seeing people beyond profit margins
Avallain AG is a Swiss-based digital education company that has been solving digital education and publishing challenges worldwide since 2002. While serving millions of learners across five continents, we have regularly encountered places where quality education is unavailable and profitability too low to attract investment.
We recognised this deficiency early on and were determined to contribute to a solution. With the goal of unlocking education in mind, Avallain AG opened a daughter company in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009. Through this endeavour, we collaborated with target users and relevant local authorities over the course of seven years to develop locally-relevant educational products that can be accessed free of charge.
For example, iAFYA, a mobile app created in partnership with Google and Bupa, educates the public with easy-to-understand health tips regarding topics that range from healthy living to the early identification of symptoms of life-threatening diseases. iKilimo, also a mobile app, supports African smallholder farmers in their everyday tasks with tips on both land farming and livestock keeping. a-ACADEMY is an on and offline learning platform that takes primary school students and their teachers through a learning journey full of rich interactive activities aimed towards helping children succeed in their education. These products have been used by people who might not otherwise have had access to digital education. iAFYA alone has distributed more than 1.6 million health education tips across over 10 countries in Africa.
Ensuring the continuity of successful projects through Avallain Foundation
In the process of implementing different projects, we realised the successful ones had two important outcomes. First, they produced and delivered high-quality educational content via cutting-edge technology to people in great need of it, and second, they created job opportunities while also engaging teachers, governments and local authorities.These positive outcomes further fuelled Avallain AG’s determination and we decided to launch an independent organisation, Avallain Foundation, aimed at managing sustained and further educational outreach. Avallain AG donated the previously developed products to the Foundation to support it in its beginning stages, and together with our employees, founders and private donors, we contributed significant funds to enable the Foundation to continue to develop high-quality local content and support its distribution. To secure the Foundation’s continued stability and success, Avallain AG is committed to covering the administration costs, making sure that each donated dollar goes directly to those who need it most. Avallain Foundation is a fully established 501(c)(3) nonprofit organisation based in the United States with offices in New York and Nairobi, Kenya.
Unlocking education from the United States to Africa
Avallain Foundation works to improve learning and increase digital literacy hoping to bridge the digital divide and eradicate poverty. As Miriam Ruiz, Executive Director of the Foundation points out, “The existing new technologies should enable access to universal education, but that is not quite the reality today. Many stakeholders provide infrastructure and vast generic content collections, but there is a lack of locally-relevant content that is compatible with existing school systems and multiple environments. That gap must be filled with high-quality digital content.”To help fill that gap, the Foundation’s focus is on implementing projects in four main areas — child education, emergency education, literacy and education in the United States for those who have no easy access to the system such as ethnic minorities or immigrants. We want to reach and include those left behind and, as founder Ursula Suter says, “contribute with our best, to unlock education for those who need it most.”
If you want to learn more about Avallain Foundation and our projects, or if you’d like to get involved, please visit avallainfoundation.org.
1 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Education: Number of out-of-school children of primary school age. UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://data.uis.unesco.org/. Accessed 26 Sept. 2016.
Daniel Seuling, Head of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org