Washington D.C. - August 5, 2018 - Across Africa, ensuring access to education and nutrition is a key priority—and a significant challenge: Millions of youth are unable to attend school, or suffer from poor-quality classroom instruction. In parallel, millions of families lack secure food sources.
In partnership with Abt Associates, Souktel is working to change these realities: Last month, Abt was awarded the Integrated Community Agriculture and Nutrition Activity, a five-year, $23.2M contract funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Uganda. In parallel, Abt has started work on the four-year "YESA" project with USAID in Malawi. Souktel is honored to support Abt on both projects, designing and delivering custom digital solutions that help strengthen communities and bridge key information gaps.
In Malawi, Abt is working to empower the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, along with teachers and communities, to assess and support early-grade literacy. Since school fees were eliminated in 1994, enrollment in Malawi’s schools has increased dramatically--to near 100 percent. But with many teachers responsible for more than 100 students, providing effective reading instruction has been a challenge and student reading skills remain low.
Abt aims to tackle this challenge by supporting the Ministry to roll out a multi-level reading assessment and remediation system. Souktel will design and build the digital components—ensuring that national reading assessment data and other key indicators can be entered and accessed through an easy-to-use mobile web and audio platform. The platform will allow parents, local community members, teachers and Ministry staff to collect, access and view data online or via voice messaging, ensuring access regardless of their literacy levels.
In Uganda, Abt and Souktel will focus on boosting agricultural productivity and access to markets—in addition to improving household nutrition and strengthening community governance. An Abt-led consortium—which includes Making Cents International, Caritas Kabale, Caritas Kotido, Children of the World, and the Manoff Group—will work with school communities, village-level savings associations, and community groups to support the development of agriculture-based ventures. As part of the consortium, Souktel will support Abt by providing strategic advising on digital solution design, local technology partner engagement, and approaches to outreach and data collection.
“We are extremely excited to be launching these initiatives with Abt Associates,” added Maggie McDonough, Managing Director at Souktel. “In both instances, we will be pairing Abt’s strong technical expertise with our own digital design methodologies to develop a strategy that brings salient data and information to thousands of community members and decision-makers.”