When we think of technology in education, the natural assumption is to assume the topic is around bringing more technology into the classroom. However, one tech firm, TECHAiDE, is turning things around and instead focuses on how technology can be used to bring the classroom to more pupils.
TECHAiDE was founded 10 years ago by Kafui Prebbie with the mission to use digital technology and the internet to bring educational content to young people in Ghana for whom it was difficult to access traditional classroom education. Over the past decade, Prebbie and TECHAide have used affordable internet hotspots and mobile devices to over 100,000 students in rural Ghana. There has been a particular focus on girls who are often the victims of gender inequality and family poverty when it comes to access to education.
Now, a new partnership with the IBM Corporate Service Corps is helping to increase TECHAide’s reach. 6 professionals have been donated by IBM’s philanthropic arm to help the social entrepreneurship company with it’s new ASANKA product, bringing finance, sales, engineering and legal skills. The IBM staff are helping TECHAiDE build new partnerships with other local non-profit organisations, local banks and the Ghana Ministry of Education. The banks are helping to provide the finance to help rural schools purchase TECHAiDE’s technology and establish internet hotspots so that they can use it.
However, one of the most important elements to the partnership, Prebbie believes, is the inspiration that both TECHAiDE employees, and girls using the technology to gain an education, have received from seeing strong female leaders at work for IBM. The TECHAiDE founder commented:
“We’ve made a deliberate attempt to employ women as a key part of our process. We were inspired to see strong female leaders come to Ghana from IBM, and it helped us rethink how we inspire women.”
“It’s important to us to empower women – they become role models and mentors to girls who might not have seen these as jobs they could do in the past.”
Part of the company’s new ASANKA product is the ASANKA Girls Network, whose aim is to inspire rural Ghanian girls to learn to code.
And it seems that the partnership has benefits that work in both directions. IBM’s involvement in companies such as TECHAiDE and projects like ASANKA is helping the company attract and retain top talent. The opportunity to spend part of a career, even just a year or two, assigned to the Corporate Service Corps, can help IBM stand out as a career choice in a tech world where the top companies are in fierce competition over talent.
Another benefit proving the merit in the intersection of technology, education and the empowerment of women.