Learning Equality, a non-profit organization based at the University of California, San Diego Qualcomm Institute, has successfully funded a crowdsourcing campaign to launch Kolibri, an offline education application that aims to enable universal education in areas of the world without Internet access.
Online supporters donated amounts ranging from $1 to $426,000 to fund the campaign, which raised 203 percent of its $250,000 goal. The largest contribution came from GlobalEDU.org, a partnership between Google, The Economist, Khan Academy and the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). One anonymous donor supporting the Kolibri campaign commented that it’s “a very worthy project with a world changing goal”.
Kolibri will provide students and teachers with access to high-quality education aligned to local curricular standards, without the need for an Internet connection. By enabling peer-to-peer distribution to remote communities via low-cost devices like a Raspberry Pi single board computer and low-cost Android tablets, the Learning Equality team aims to break the vicious cycle of poverty and lack of education.
“We’re incredibly grateful to our many supporters, who share our belief in the transformative power of ubiquitous educational access, and have given so generously to help make that vision a reality. We’re excited to move forward with a strong, engaged community as Kolibri hatches and takes flight, bringing new opportunities to millions around the world,” says Learning Equality co-founder Jamie Alexandre.
Learning Equality’s current offline education app released in 2012, KA Lite, has already reached millions of learners in over 160 countries. Sites include an orphanage in Cameroon, where donated laptops running KA Lite, originally intended just for the children, have become a learning hub for the entire community.
By 2018, the non-profit aims to reach 10 million learners worldwide, including children in low-resource schools, orphanages and those displaced by refugee crises. And although the crowdfunding campaign has reached its base goal, the fundraising campaign for Kolibri goes on. With online contributions enabling the foundation to add critical features and reach more learners, Learning Equality hopes to achieve “a world where an entire generation of children has access to quality education”.