Mapindi App offers an affordable solution to students struggling with science subjects by providing science tutorial videos through leveraging technology. The platform was established in 2020, allowing students to access tutorials through their mobile applications. As part of the “Promoting Impact Technology Tanzania” project, Media Convergency delves into the journey of Mapindi App and its co-founder, Mr. Said Mbondela, who shares their concept of introducing Mapindi Kiganjani to solve the problem of students struggling with science subjects. This initiative showcases how young innovators in Tanzania are using digital solutions and technology to find answers to everyday challenges.
“In the year 2018, it was my first holiday from Turkey, when I arrived at my home village in Kilwa After my stay I realized that there is a shortage of science teachers in schools in which students were facing challenges catching up on science subjects especially in the rural areas compared to urban areas.” says Said Mbondela. He further adds that “I thought of creating tutorials and putting them on CDs nevertheless I came to realize it is very expensive, if you provide CDs, you also need to provide a DVD player and television. And that is where the idea came of bringing a digital platform that can be accessed through smartphones and creating a mobile application so that students anywhere can have access to tutorials which could be easy and cheap”. “So, I and my other colleagues, who are Mr. Yusuf Aboubakar and Mr. Said Nchimbi we came up with the idea of creating the Mapindi App while still studying in Turkey, we saw a problem in Tanzania. We have seen a lot of students go for tuition in Mchikichini and Mapambano and through Mapindi App they can now easily access tutorials on their palm”.
Bridging the Gap
Mr. Said Mbondela, co-founder of Mapindi App, explains that in Tanzania, science subjects have a reputation for being difficult, and there is a shortage of teachers, particularly in rural areas. As a result, many students turn to online resources for help, but most of the content available is from other countries like India and the United States, which may not align with Tanzania’s curriculum. Mapindi App was developed to address this challenge by providing a platform with locally developed and relevant content, specifically tailored to the Tanzanian curriculum. The app’s tutorials cover various science subjects, including physics, chemistry, and biology, and are accessible to students through mobile applications, making it easy for them to study at their own pace, from anywhere.
Bootstraping for Mapindi App
Mapindi App is a self-funded project, and the founders have been investing their scholarship stipends and personal savings to build the platform. In addition, the founders have also received support from friends and family who have made donations towards the project. Despite the financial challenges, the team has remained committed to the project and continues to work hard to provide students with quality educational content. Their focus on leveraging technology to provide local content that aligns with the Tanzanian curriculum has been a key driving force behind their efforts.
Said says, “Before coming up with our idea we looked at the ecosystem and what others are doing, in the year 2020 when Covid-19 was a threat we had a concern, we have seen other platforms displaying notes and we decided to come up with a new idea of tutorials where students can have the same experience as how they are taught in class. There are other startups that are trying to innovate what we are doing however we still have an advantage we have hired well-experienced teachers and our co-founders are good in the field of mathematics and physics.”
He further shares thatAccessing educational content through mobile phones provides several advantages to learners. First, it offers convenience and flexibility as students can access the material anytime and anywhere, as long as they have a stable internet connection. This is especially beneficial for students who live in remote areas where access to educational resources may be limited. Secondly, mobile phones offer a more personalized learning experience as students can choose the content they want to study and go at their own pace. This is particularly helpful for students who struggle with keeping up with the pace of a traditional classroom setting. Lastly, mobile learning can be interactive and engaging, with features such as quizzes, games, and animations that make the learning process more fun and enjoyable.
Achievement and Challenges
“We are the first startup in Tanzania that have science tutorial content, our platform has 1500 tutorials of science subjects from form one to form six. Our platform has 2600 students within two years while we were still studying in Turkey. In the year 2021, Mapindi App was selected among the Top 50 best innovations in education in Africa by the African Union and only two startups were from Tanzania. Lack of funds has been challenging, the Mapindi team has been working on other gigs to earn money that would carter for their needs. The App only becomes effective when students are on holiday once they go back to school, the app becomes ineffective since it is restricted for students to own mobile phones while at school.
Future Plans and final word
Said envisions the platform to become a reputable and reliable education platform for science subject tutorials in Africa in the next five years. To achieve this vision, the platform needs to expand and be accessible on computers, which will not only improve access for students but also enable partnerships with schools. The platform is currently accessible through mobile applications, but by expanding to the web, it will reach a wider audience, making it easier for more students to benefit from the locally tailored content. In addition, expanding the platform to other African countries will provide a solution for students in these countries who face similar challenges in accessing quality education.
To achieve this ambitious plan, the platform will require funding to scale its operations and reach its goals.. He says, “Mapindi App will be one stop reputable and reliable education platform in Africa for tutorials contents in the next five years, by saying so we need funds to expand our platform to be web-based where it can be accessed on computers, which will ease students’ access and that can enable us to seek partnerships with schools. In five years to come we believe to cut across more than five countries in Africa.”The purpose of education has always been to help prepare students to become active members of society who make positive contributions to their surrounding communities. Technological literacy is also essential, creating youth who aspire to explore all that the digital space has to offer needs collaborative efforts in creating a safe and friendly environment for aspiring innovators to thrive. Being an innovator requires more than a creative mind it requires research, planning, being value driven and a risk taker.
To read more about our reports featuring Startups in Tanzania https://bit.ly/ImpactTechTZ2021-Report and http://bit.ly/TECHTZ2022