Following the sixth call for proposals of the Wehubit program, implemented by Enabel, the Belgian development agency, 5 EdTech projects (all with a duration of 18 months) have been selected: In Tanzania, Helvetas aims to improve the free digital vocational training application VSOMO, developed by the state-run Vocational Education and Training Authority and the telephone operator Airtel.
Unemployment remains high among Tanzania’s young population, while the market for innovative vocational training courses is limited. Many, especially rural youth do not finish secondary education. Often, practical vocational education (often, if even acquired, through informal apprenticeship), is the only hope for attaining an income and improving their life. However, many disadvantaged youth, especially women and rural youth with low education level are lacking access to vocational education and training (VET), due to high costs and distance to training centre. This shortage is increased by the lack of suitable training material and equipment, as well as the lack of trained staff and reliable updated teaching and learning infrastructure.
VSOMO is the first project of its kind in East and Central Africa which facilitates the provision of Vocational Education Training (VET) through a mobile phone platform. The main goal is to accelerate youth employment in Tanzania by utilising interactive e-learning technology to deliver market-demanded vocational skills and increase digital literacy skills. The app offers a theoretical part for free, accessible 95% offline. For users living in remote areas with no access to a smartphone, the digital content can be accessed at a partnering digital hub. If the student successfully passes the exam, he or she can register to join the practical sessions in the nearest VETA centres. The courses will be improved through gamified, personalised and interactive learning content, reducing the amount of text readings to improve the motivation and knowledge transfer, but also increase digital literacy skills by specific tasks.
The Wehubit Programme was launched in 2018. It looks for and supports actors that aim to deploy and scale-up existing digital solutions. The programme primarily supports tested solutions that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The grants are awarded to public organisations or civil society organisations that support digital social innovation projects. Currently, the Wehubit programme supports 27 very varied projects (including the 5 new ones) in twelve of the partner countries of Enabel. Calls for proposals are regularly launched on the Wehubit website (wehubit.be). Since 2021, the programme has a new component: the Knowledge Exchange Network and the e-Library. They were created with a view to facilitating the exchange of good practices, lessons learned and knowledge deliverables.
The Wehubit program aims to stimulate digital social innovation and is primarily targeted at public sector and non-profit organizations. In our sixth call for proposals, we have a diverse panel of partners:
— Helvetas Swiss Cooperation
— Vocational Education and Training Authority – Kipawa
— Information and Communication Technology Centre (VETA KIPAWA ICTC)
— Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
— Capital Space Limited
RESULTS / IMPACTS
The project aims to develop gamification elements for at least three courses for increased interactive learning, including one entrepreneurship course. At least 50’000 youth (predominantly in Dodoma and Singida) will be informed about the platform via media (social media, radio, newspapers, etc.) campaigns and 10’000 download the VSOMO application to their phone. Thanks to the app upgrade, at least 600 youth should successfully finish the digital learning course and practical vocational course.