Science and technology

Open supply house academy opens in Nairobi

Nairobi’s Tunapanda Institute has been utilizing open supply instruments to offer expertise, design, and enterprise coaching in East Africa since its inception in 2013. Next yr the college will launch a “space academy” to encourage younger folks to consider among the most important challenges going through humanity on this planet and past.

Tunapanda’s founders imagine that everybody ought to have the chance to assist form the long run, and to ensure that that to occur there have to be studying supplies and instruments which are open, shareable, and unrestricted in order that anybody, regardless of their monetary or instructional background, can be taught and be impressed.

Tunapanda Institute goals to bridge the digital divide by making digital period studying extra accessible for younger individuals who have the need and fervour for studying IT however lack monetary sources and entry to high quality coaching applications. Kenya’s rising Information and communication expertise (ICT) sector and demand for expert staff, mixed with a big youth inhabitants, gives an ideal alternative. However, the nation’s training system lags market wants. Lack of apparatus, excessive bandwidth prices, and an absence of expert lecturers additionally issue into the equation.

Education on a tough drive

To bridge this hole, Tunapanda’s first initiative was “an education on a hard drive.” The workforce arrange offline laptop labs in rural areas of Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda, utilizing a customized modified Edubuntu distribution designed to be used in areas the place web service is sparse or costly. The system was loaded with pre-downloaded software program and supplies that guided younger folks by studying pathways that may allow them to earn an earnings in Kenya’s rising IT ecosystem.

Resources included video tutorials, KA-Lite, offline Wikipedia, and coaching guides for open supply software program comparable to Inkscape, Gimp, Blender, WordPress, and Synfig Studios. The concept was that learners with little to no expertise in IT might rapidly grow to be proficient in abilities comparable to graphic design, net growth, pictures, and video modifying, whereas additionally being launched to extra complicated abilities comparable to programming (beginning with Scratch and KTurtle).

It rapidly grew to become clear, nevertheless, that the accessible curricula have been largely tailor-made for a Western viewers and for college-level studying with lengthy timelines for proficiency. It was additionally clear deal with “soft skills” comparable to teamwork, communication, and problem-solving was wanted (Kenya’s training system is closely test-focused, valuing particular person achievement and rote memorization).

Tunapanda realized that it wanted to design a brand new curriculum that was extra related to the native context. In 2014, the college opened its personal coaching facility in Kibera, Kenya, which has supplied greater than 200 younger women and men with digital-era abilities. Nearly 100 extra college students have graduated from a companion facility launched by Tunapanda graduates within the Turkana area of Northern Kenya. Graduates have gone on to seek out employment in tech corporations, do freelance IT work, and begin their very own companies utilizing the abilities they realized at Tunapanda. Since the curriculum and software program is sort of fully open supply, different organizations have been in a position to copy Tunapanda’s mannequin (in complete or partially) to deliver related data to their very own communities.

The group and coaching program in Kibera is now operated principally by graduates of this system. These grads full an apprenticeship program the place they proceed to develop abilities and educate incoming college students whereas additionally working for purchasers on duties comparable to constructing web sites and doing person testing, buyer analysis, graphic design, and so on. This work helps Tunapanda workforce members earn an earnings, and it additionally helps to maintain the core coaching program (which is free for learners). The group runs on Holacracy (based mostly on agile growth) to offer workforce members with alternatives to start out their very own tasks, discover completely different roles inside the group, and suppose critically about how organizations of the long run could be structured.

Following the success of its coaching program, Tunapanda goals of constructing a studying neighborhood that doesn’t simply adapt to market developments however helps to form them. To assist handle the numerous vital challenges going through native and international communities, Tunapanda plans to open the Kibera Aeronautics and Space Academy (KASA), which can create and ship curricula based mostly on a few of these challenges. All curricula might be overtly licensed and free for copy, adaptation, or distribution. KASA will present hands-on, related programs that may educate precious abilities whereas additionally providing alternatives for earnings technology.

Topics will embrace:

  • The way forward for meals

  • Energy sources of the long run

  • Exterior and inside design

  • Rockets and the historical past of house exploration

  • Basic STEM fundamentals

  • Governance and decision-making (together with blockchain protocols)

  • Robotics and human-computer interplay

  • Communications, networking, and satellites

  • Staring into house (discovering our place within the universe)

All of those subjects can have an effect on the world as we speak and sooner or later. Creating an area the place college students can use creativeness and creativity to resolve actual issues opens new prospects and permits constructive change for learners and communities alike. Tunapanda is raising funds for KASA. If you want to assist this initiative by monetary or different means, please contact

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