Online learning has made significant strides in Africa over the past decade, but access to resources and high data costs remain a persistent challenge for young people in marginalised communities. This means that many are still not able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital world. Digify Africa partnered with Facebook to create a WhatsApp learning bot that addresses this challenge.
Named ‘Naledi‘, the learning platform offers accessible, low-data-cost online learning for young people on the African continent who may have limited access to connectivity and devices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an accelerated move towards a digitized world, placing even more urgency on the need for solutions to tackle the existing digital divide. Naledi offers a practical learning alternative suited to the African context – literally putting the solution into the hands of learners via the platform they use most: WhatsApp.
Naledi aims to create Facebook Digital Marketing experts through interactive learning material. The WhatsApp bot focuses on Facebook products as a digital marketing tool, especially for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
It features engaging content and an immersive learning experience that includes study groups in a self-paced learning journey that allows the participant to upskill themselves at their convenience, and get help if they are stuck. Naledi was first piloted with a group of UNISA postgraduate students in 2020.
The project is a collaborative effort along with expert partners Techys, Clickatell, and talented youth from Geekulcha.
Naledi is now available to young people across the African continent. Participants will be able to acquire the skills they need to pursue a career in digital marketing and gain a deeper understanding of how to grow as entrepreneurs using digital tools.
Digify Africa has been at the forefront of upskilling young people across the continent since 2014. The company has trained over 100,000 people through various free training programmes such as the award-winning Digify Pro, Boost with Facebook, and Ilizwe Lam.
Naledi is part of a series of learning bots that Digify Africa will be launching together with Facebook to deliver digital skills and knowledge to a wider audience across Africa. This is not only an innovative addition to our offering but also a testament to our commitment as an organisation to driving digital inclusion across the continent.
“I am thrilled to see this example of homegrown innovation from the African continent come to life,” says Digify Africa CEO Gavin Weale.
“Using WhatsApp to deliver learning has been an ambition of ours since we built an early demo in 2019, on the basis that using a free and widely-spread application like this has the potential to reach the highest number of learners at the lowest cost possible. The challenge has been figuring out how to make the experience of learning on WhatsApp seamless and valuable, and this partnership between Digify Africa and Facebook has allowed us to deliver the first exciting iteration of that.”
“Facebook is committed to empowering the next generation of marketers and entrepreneurs in Africa. Digify Africa have been long-term partners in helping us drive scaled education. When Covid-19 struck and we were no longer able to deliver training in person, we started investigating using WhatsApp as a delivery channel – and Naledi was born,” says Elizma Nolte, Facebook Regional Marketing Manager for Africa.
“We are continuing to scale this impact to the world. Not only building on Naledi’s reach but also seeing how we equip all our education partners to empower a whole new generation of mobile entrepreneurs.”