The Corporate Partnership Bringing Education and Technology to Rural Ghana
by Tori Utley, Forbes.com Contributor
Many girls in rural Africa lack access to education due to factors like gender inequality and familial poverty. But for the past 10 years, a social entrepreneur and former educator in Ghana has been working to change that.
After observing the difficulty many young girls have while trying to access education and stay in school – as well as the lack of innovation in the educational system – social entrepreneur and Ghana native Kafui Prebbie believed he could improve education through technology – so he did.
Prebbie founded TECHAiDE, a technology company working to digitally deliver educational content to those typically unable to access education in Ghana.
TECHAiDE provides affordable hotspots, servers, mobile devices, interactive educational software and community computer labs to deliver educational lessons, videos and other content that can be leveraged in rural communities that traditionally lack these resources.
Recently, Prebbie launched the company's newest product – ASANKA – a mobile hotspot and content delivery system named with a dual meaning: Community Bowl, a Ghanaian reference, and an acronym for All Subjects and New Knowledge Access.
Founded 10 years ago, Prebbie shares the company has reached more than 100,000 students in Ghana. And while TECHAiDE's reach validates need, Prebbie wanted to take his technology to a new level – leveraging personal mobile devices to bring education to even more young students across Ghana, a goal that required the help of a strong corporate partner.
Enter the IBM Corporate Service Corps.
A Partnership Formed
The IBM Corporate Service Corps is IBM's philanthropic program similar to the Peace Corps and allows employees to travel to different countries across the globe, using their expertise to help social entrepreneurs, governments, nonprofits and NGOs increase their impact.
According to IBM's Vice President of Corporate Citizenship, Gina Tesla, once internal IBM teams are selected, the company works with worldwide nonprofit partners to select social entrepreneurs to partner with.
In February 2016, 12 employees were deployed to Ghana to help with local initiatives. A team of 6 staffers partnered with Prebbie, helping him with a marketing and product development plan for ASANKA. According to Tesla, the support offered to TECHAiDE holds a market value of more than $400,000 when considering the talent, time and expertise offered from IBM – skills including finance, sales, engineering, legal and more.
To learn more about IBM's Corporate Citizenship, review the IBM 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.