Why we don’t have a website, yet.

Hi there, I’m the founder of KUBO. Our nonprofit helps formal schools to bridge the gap from the informal use of ICTs to reliable e-learning environments. With a focus on those who need it most.

A little bit of background

In 2017 I interned at The Swallow, an acclaimed Centre for Emancipating Education in The Gambia. As a Howest BA student in Applied Informatics, I was astonished by the amount of administration which still had to be processed by hand. A task that could be so easily automated.

So I set out to explore how tech could help to free the priceless time of the teachers & the other staff.

Through first-hand experience and by reading through research, I became familiar with the variety of barriers schools are facing when implementing technology: unstable electricity, unstable internet, slow or infected devices, insufficient ICT knowledge, no consistent back-ups of critical data, …

By exploring recent low tech innovations such as Raspberry Pi, I became convinced that the challenge could be solved. I started to tinker, which led me to build an offline school server with a custom-made school platform.

The result was promising. The teachers were able to enter grades, and I could even interface with KA Lite.

We’re only getting started

Now, more than one year later, we have built up sustainable momentum:

  • Three intern students (Yentl Jacobs, Duy & Robby Goetinck) have been working on the product.
  • Juma Baldeh has been assigned as the country manager for The Gambia. Juma is the founder of the HackathonGirls Banjul, is a 25-under-25 awardee by The Internet Society and a Mozilla Wrangler.
  • We’re partnering with Technicians Without Borders in The Gambia to upgrade the infrastructure at our pilot schools.
  • Our Alpha-version is being tested and updated continuously at our 2 pilot schools. We also installed a computer class of 25 devices (locally sourced peripherals connected to Raspberry Pi’s) at each. These devices were funded by intern students at The Swallow and by philantropists.

We aim to start offering our platform as a service from September 2019. It will include automated back-ups and updates. Because we believe that only an end-to-end solution will provide value in the long run.

Technology is what we know best, and that’s where our scope ends. To explore the pedagogical possibilities qualitatively we are partnering with Afrodidact. We’ll share our progress on this soon.

Reaching out

In the process of targeting the barriers, we are gaining a lot of context-specific knowledge. If you are operating in deprived contexts, and you want to know if you could reach more impact by selecting appropriate technologies, then we’d be more than happy to share our experiences.

Now to come back to the original question: as we are working on a tight budget, our focus is currently on developing rather than on marketing. So that’s why we don’t have a website, yet. However, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel inspired!

Our team

Jelle Aarts, Intern Industrial Product Design
Juma Baldeh, Country Manager, The Gambia
Shane Deconinck, Founder / CEO
Robby Goetinck, Infrastructure & DevOps
Yentl Jacobs, Co-Founder / Product Manager