Mar 18, 2022

Ghanaian Entrepreneur Is Providing Mobile Solutions For Learning and Social Communication Delays, Including Autism And Education In Africa.

Rudolph Ampofo is one of three co-founders at Craft Education, a bootstrapped social enterprise located in Accra, Ghana. He has been working in the education sector for close to a decade contributing to teacher training, learning skills development, open educational resources, and special needs education. 

Rudolph and his co-founders are keen on creating an Africa where children with learning or social communication delays, including autism, can have equal access to the quality care and education they need to thrive in school and life. The educational inclusion he’s creating is through Craft Education.

Craft Education was founded to support nonprofits and other education technology providers to implement their solutions in Ghana.  After working with Eneza Education, as the implementing partner, to deliver curriculum-aligned content to Ghanaian learners, Craft Education shifted its focus to behaviour therapy and special needs education in Africa. 

Research shows that children can make significant progress with early and intensive interventions. But, unfortunately, African families spend more than five years looking for the care and support their children need to succeed for some reasons, including the high cost, which marginalizes 85% of Africans today.

Over the next five years, Craft Education wants to give 3 million African children with social communication delays, including autism, a better quality of life.

“Our core function today is to tap into the potential of African parents and teachers to support children with social communication delays by combining research, evidence-based approaches, and smart messaging technology,” says Rudolphto DT Africa.

According to the GSMA Mobile Economy report, over 400 million Africans subscribe to a mobile service. These subscriptions are estimated to grow by 19% in 2025, reaching half of Africa's population. 

“These two things bring us to one conclusion, to deliver a solution that will work for everyday Africans, it needs to be based on their behavior and the things that are familiar to them. And we are doing just that.”

“We leverage mobile technology like SMS, Voice calls, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger to deliver training and support to African parents and teachers. Using this technology makes it easy for anyone to use our service.”

“All they need to do is have an active mobile subscription, and they are good to go within minutes of subscribing to our service,” the entrepreneur mentioned.

Craft Education is currently piloting its behavior therapy and special education needs platform Ghana with plans to expand to Kenya and South Africa over the next five years. Its pilot has reached 155 families in Ghana over the past six months. These families have delivered more than 100,000 minutes of therapy in the home or school. 

“We want to become a companion to African parents and teachers of children with learning and social communication delays, including autism. We want to empower every home and school to celebrate children with challenges and help them realize their full potential.”

Last month, the RewirEd Summit, a global platform with a clear vision to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future, was hosted at the Dubai Expo 2020 summit. At the summit, the edtech company secured $100,000 in grant funding from the African Union after winning first prize in the Innovating Education in Africa 2021. 

According to the company, the award indicates the commitment of education stakeholders to make education truly inclusive and equitable for all in Africa. In addition, the award comes with the opportunity of working with governments across Africa, nonprofits, educators, healthcare providers, and researchers to help African children with social communication delays, including autism, have a chance at succeeding in life after being ignored for so long. 

Most importantly, the award means that parents and teachers do not have to be alone in providing the proper education and support impacted children need to thrive. Craft Education will be their companions throughout their journey, even if it is life-long.

Over the next few months, the Craft Education team will improve their product, making it easier and faster to onboard parents or teachers and match them with certified professionals, including behaviour therapists, through their mobile devices. 

The team also plans to add new messaging channels like Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and SMS, in addition to WhatsApp. The team will prioritise content translation to multiple African languages, expand their therapy team, and make it easier for parents and teachers to access the continuous training and support they need to give their children a better quality of life.

With support from the African Union, Craft Education aims to roll out in public and private schools with the support of the Ministry of Education in various African countries, starting with Ghana.

“Our goal is to move from the pilot stage and make our services open to all parents and teachers by July 2022.”

“We currently have partnerships with an autism diagnostic centre and a therapy centre in Ghana. In addition, we are in the process of building partnerships with education providers, therapy centres, and researchers to make it possible for them to deliver support to impacted children across Africa,” Rudolph finished.

Source: Digital Times Africa

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