I find it very interesting how a concept can be ahead of its time in a most frustrating manner. In late 2003, a youth development consultant friend of mine and I were doing the rounds selling an alternative education platform that would run off Moodle and would help harness the real world knowledge that can not and will not be found in regular learning institutuions.
This we pitched hand in hand with the concept of drop a lab, where we would deploy engagement of experience centers that will be run off a central data and management center, essentially creating what would be the largest non institutionalized school in Kenya. Word got to Tanzania and Uganda and people got excited.
This turned out to be a 3 year merry go round with lack of funds and or commitment by stakeholders such as government. We grew tired of endless meetings at Egov offices with periodic change of guards, meetings with multinational IT oriented firms, who of course looked after their own interest – who can blame them. As such we shelved the project to await better times.
Better times came last week when a friend of mine, bwana Mugambi inquired about the Tanzania deployment which I had asked his participation of awhile back. I reminded him of things called bills and company commitments, but at the end of the day he convinced me to exhume the project.
The name we wished to use then was Elimu.co.ke and we proceeded to place a request for the same…shock! A request had been placed only 2hrs earlier for the same name.
Hence why we settled for soma.co.ke
The gist of soma.co.ke is that we will collect alternative education content from all sectors. This will them be made available at minimal cost to people who want to get real world knowledge to improve on their existing skill set. Tests, exams and tutorials will be available and even a form of certification with time – think Brain Bench, but the aim will be knowledge transfer and not examinations and tests.
My classic example is – Munguku the famous chicken farmer from Central province will share some of his best practices and methods on soma.co.ke. A certain young man from coast province will access this information for a minimal fee and implement it on his 5 chicken strong brood. Empowered by this newly acquired knowledge, he will grow his brood and improve on his earnings! Who knows he may become the king of chicken I his home area.
More updates as we progress.
Ohh! we are also thinking of exhuming our original drop-a-lab concept…juicy stuff