Airtel Africa, Kukua launch new learning model through Sema Run mobile app




Can we convert the time spent by children on the phone playing mobile games into something constructive? Airtel, which has operations in 15 countries in Africa, and Kukua, a startup whose focus is to eradicate child illiteracy in sub-Saharan Africa, certainly seem to believe so.

The two organizations have teamed up to promote Kukua’s unique learning mobile app SEMA RUN which aims to get children to improve their literacy skills while enjoying playing an interactive mobile game.

SEMA RUN is an effective, engaging and culturally relevant App that teaches children between the ages of 5-10 how to read, write and do basic math. The literacy pedagogy used as the backbone of SEMA is designed by world literacy experts, cognitive psychologist and educational specialists.

Once downloaded, Sema Run works offline hence users can utilize the app without requiring internet connectivity and therefore making it pocket friendly especially for parents. The main character, SEMA takes children on a magical adventure while empowering them to learn how to read as she gains technological powers and navigates through obstacles. The interactive app covers all letter sounds to learn how to read, offers a fun way to practice the letter sounds learnt in school and also provides immediate feedback and end-of-level assessments.

In a statement, Lucrezia Bisignani, the Kukua founder and CEO, expounded on the concept behind the Sema Run app. “We combine education and gaming to make our app Sema Run the perfect activity that keeps children busy doing something meaningful and fun at the same time.”

Kukua has partnered with Airtel to distribute instructions on how to download the Sema Run app to over 2 million subscribers via SMS during the holiday season to allow children to spend their free time doing something fun and meaningful.

Lauding the partnership, Lucrezia expressed her excitement in having found a partner in Airtel that believes in the power of education as much as they do and one that can help reach millions of children with quality education content. “The main character of our app, Sema – a courageous and innovative young African girl – is ready to inspire, teach and play with all Kenyan children who are just beginning to learn how to read and Airtel is helping us reach them all. For this we are very grateful and excited.” She added.

Airtel has been actively involved in social welfare initiatives across the 15 countries in Africa where it operates. Working primarily in the field of education, it has also forged strong ties with local communities, various corporate organizations, institutions and the government in its endeavor to reach out to the lesser privileged sections. Fundamentally, the role of education in eradicating poverty cannot be overstated and receiving an education is perhaps a child’s biggest barrier to escaping poverty. Therefore, Airtel continues to partner with like-minded individuals and organizations in order to positively impact the communities that it interacts with.

Kukua is a startup company leveraging new media and technology to empower children to learn through magically engaging experiences. Their global team of visionaries comprise of mission-driven entrepreneurs, game designers, cognitive psychologists and educational experts. They envision a world where any child can learn through an engaging, rigorous and personalized education. According to UNESCO there are 250 million children who are illiterate and teaching basic reading and writing skills could lift 171 million people out of poverty. This would effectively remove 12% of the world’s poverty. Kukua also built SEMA LAND a school version of the App containing over one year of literacy and numeracy content for primary school.




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