2020 showed how fragile global systems providing access to education for children are and how quickly progress that has been made in the recent past can experience significant setbacks.
According to UNESCO, the education of 1.7 billion children in 188 countries was heavily disrupted in 2020. Education continued to be disrupted for millions of children into 2021 and beyond, and a large percentage of children affected by this disruption will never have the opportunity to go back to school.
There are many efforts around the world to create and establish new ways of providing access to education, often including online options. In remote areas of this planet, and even for many inner-city children, access to internet, to tools such as laptops and smartphones, and even to electricity remain challenging, and often elusive.
RMF Global, in partnership with RME, its social enterprise arm, has an established IT hub in Kenya, including an existing online platform (anYmo), and, through its Kenyan team, a very solid and respected community network in remote areas of the country. We believe it is essential for longer term success and sustainability to allow the community to make decisions, and to guide and lead any new endeavors.
Invited by the community and its leadership in Baringo County, we established a pilot program for online access to education for children. In Baringo County, as in many other counties around the world in 2020, children had to stay out of school for more than a year, with very limited options to continue their learning and education.
Our program takes into account the remoteness of the area, often only intermittently available network access, frequent electricity challenges, and several other factors common for remote and underserved regions.
In addition, we have successfully created, established, and completed highly effective digital computer trainings for both primary and secondary school teachers. Some of these teachers have been in this profession for decades and our trainings provide a powerful step to overcome hesitancy and fear of the unknown, and to tackle the future of education.
A Music & Arts Forum to support, discover, and develop existing and new talent in children and youth is a further component we are envisioning to add. Access to music and art for children and youth remains nonexistent in many regions in Kenya and around the world.
Considering the significant demand to expand and scale these education programs and trainings, we decided that the revenues of the first Africa Music Festival, one of our social enterprise endeavors, will benefit access to education and trainings for the children, teachers, and communities of Baringo County, Rift Valley, and beyond.