Obialunanma Nnaobi: Empowering access to education in West Africa
“Africa is a continent endowed with untapped talents scattered across several cluster communities. Our vision is to provide a platform where these talents can be empowered to achieve their dreams” – Obialunanma Nnaobi.
Obialunanma Nnaobi is a 2017 YALI RLC alumna and Programmes Director of Meluibe Foundation where she leads the team in initiating programs geared towards empowering women and youth to have more sustainable livelihoods. She is also the Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Vilsquare, a tech for a good organization aimed at creating sustainable solutions across African communities, through empowerment and the use of technology.
Here, she works with a team of vibrant minds including Obasegun Ayodele who is a 2018 YALI RLC Alumnus and Cofounder of Vilsquare. He leads the technology development team in developing tech-based solutions to improve access to education and empower African youths.
Earlier in June 2020, the team in a bid to address the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on education in Africa, launched a low-cost, high impact STEM learning platform, VoltSchool to support out-of-school students in Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Serra Leone, and The Gambia.
The learning platform curates audio-visual resource materials that support learning in a fun, interesting and engaging way. Asides, supporting asynchronous features to help students or learners that are hearing impaired, the platform integrates a digital microscope to help students connect theoretical learning with real-life lab exploratory experience. The microscope designed for home use, helps VoltSchool learners explore theoretical concepts in their science-related subjects which are being learned on the platform. This platform offers a basic learning scheme that is free to all students in the 5 west African countries mentioned earlier.
“Our main focus at Vilsquare and Meluibe Foundation has been to empower learners and teachers with the right digital tools and resources to facilitate both learning and creating learning materials”.
To enhance the learning process, the team also integrated a social interactivity and networking Chat Module with cutting edge features on VoltSchool that enable learners to easily interact with their classmates and teachers on the platform. This communication tool has increased learners’ interest by over 70%.
The learning platform has also been designed to run on a light-weight 2G internet. This will enable any student with a digital device (a low-cost smartphone or tablet or desktop/personal computer) and a minimum of 2G internet to learn on the platform. No fewer than 1000 students across the five West African countries are currently benefiting from the platform today.
VoltSchool is one of the many initiatives implemented by Obialunanma and her team in line with efforts to promote sustainable development.
Other programs organized by the team include the National Hackathon Series (wherein participants were trained to collaboratively design and develop tech-based solutions addressing specific needs within a short time frame), EnviroSense Hack Series 2019 (a set of science outreaches to primary and secondary schools in Abuja), AI4Good Makeathon and the Digital Security Awareness Campaign which was also executed nationwide.
By levering on technology, Vilsquare and Meluibe Foundation strives to increase access to education and develop the capacity for knowledge transfer.