STEAM BOX: Nigerian hub takes mobile learning to rural areas
Technology-driven education unlocks the potential of the human mind to create both custom and adventitious solutions - this fact is one of the major morales behind the Steam Box, an innovative brainchild of a Nigerian technology hub, the Civic Innovation Lab, based in Abuja
The idea behind the Steam Box is pretty basic and straightforward - take innovative education in the form of Science, Tech, English, Arts and Maths (STEAM) to kids in Nigeria's rural communities, with the goal of unlocking their potential(s) and giving them a bankable chance at a future
Reading the many innovative parts that make up this idea, one part that strikes deeply is the fact that this education made available to these kids, both tech and basic, is offered in native language.
Imagine dispensing digital and programming skills, like SCRATCH and other STEM basics, in Hausa or Fulfude. The mere thought of it behooves one to give due accolades to the intentionality of this idea.
The record of immersion and assimilation this has offered the kids for example, is largely highlighted via the quite gripping story of a 9-year old beneficiary, Abdullahi Aliyu.
He is a son to one of the herders in the rural areas that has benefitted from the STEAM BOX, and in barely weeks of getting STEAM education, he already wants to build an App to stop cattle rustling via tracking
Think about that for a minute. If his dreams come to life, valid as they are, he'd have successfully initiated a course towards creating a lasting fix to the farmer-herdsmen clashes that have perennially plagued agrarian communities across Nigeria for years.
Watching his testimony via official handles of the Civic Innovation team, Aliyu's story isn't only intriguing, it also stings you with immediacy
The immediacy of impact that has been dented on the trajectories of these rural based kids. With success stories of Aliyu and many like him, the challenge of a lack of access to basic primary education and the consequent susceptibility to destitution, crime and poverty is being tackled at an unmistakably noticeable rate.
As already said above, Aliyu, just like the other beneficiaries, is a walking KPI, a testament that validates the need to deploy innovative education as a veritable tool in our common drive towards a developed future.
The fact that he has been able to apply the knowledge gotten so far from the STEAM BOX classes to identify, ideate and incubate a tech-driven solution to address an everyday risk faced by his community, shows the wealth of possibilities waiting to be harnessed from the minds of these children irrespective of where they are.
It reinforces the reason why every child truly counts.
“Considering the rate at which technology and relevant knowledge has been growing, especially of late, we have identified the need to prepare our kids for the future of work, one of the major reasons why STEAM BOX is a key initiative of our hub. Our goal is to reach at least 200,000 kids across Nigeria's rural communities via the donation of 200 STEAM boxes in 5 years”, the founder Mosope Olaosebikan enthused.
With this goal, one can only imagine the amount of ‘good heat’ that the STEAM BOX would have created across Nigerian communities, its ripple effect on the proliferation of relevant education, and the attendant impact on the lives of the benefiting kids in immediate future.