“So Kalan: My Class at Home”: The E-Learning Platform in Mali

Labour market insertion
In response to the health crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project "Support Fund for Business Creation by Young People" (FACEJ) in Mali launched a new emergency mechanism on May 1st. Its objective is to enable existing companies to develop their know-how and capacities to respond to the ongoing health crisis.

Planned to last for the duration of the crisis, the new system offers emergency funding, accompanied by a grant, to businesses capable of rapidly implementing actions to help mitigate or fight against the epidemic and/or its direct and indirect effects.

The businesswoman Ada Ouologuem is a 32-year-old Telecom engineer. After numerous meetings with various actors from all walks of life in Mali, she quickly became aware of the major role education could play for the future of Mali. At the beginning of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic added to the social-political problems that forced public schools to close, leaving students with no alternative to continue their education.

"We spoke to many different social groups in Mali and realised that education is really a problem that needs to be addressed," said Ada Ouologuem.

In March 2020, Ms Ada Ouologuem created the "So Kalan: my class at home" project with a team of seven young people.

"So Kalan" is the first e-learning platform designed and implemented in Mali. In partnership with a school in Bamako, Ada Ouologuem and her team created 20-minute didactic modules on exam subjects. Through these short videos, So Kalan gradually gives access to an increasing range of learning opportunities: courses in mathematics, French, physics & chemistry, biology, history and geography.

The emergence of Covid-19 and its consequences on students’ learning needs prompted the young enterprise to refine and strengthen its educational programme. So Kalan will take advantage of this opportunity to make young people aware of protective measures against Covid-19. The "video capsules" are broadcasted on its own online platform and on the Africable TV channel. "So Kalan" also introduces video conferencing software, facilitating interactive communication between students and teachers. In other words, students have the opportunity to ask questions and teachers get a chance to question their students.

In just a few months, more than 500 students have logged in and are taking the courses online. Beyond Mali, the broadcasting of these videos clips on the television channel Africable allows students from Senegal, Ivory Coast and Niger to tune in.

French, History and Geography teacher Antoine Etsey is proud to be part of the So Kalan team.
Ada Ouologuem and her team continue to receive positive feedback on the platform: "I find the idea so good that I think it should continue even after Covid-19."

FACEJ's support enabled Mrs. Ouologuem to transform her project into a real business, to pay her team, and to create new partnerships. Her facilitator, the business incubator "Donilab," continues to accompany and advise her in achieving the future objectives of her company. She plans, among other things, to improve her business model by proposing to partner schools to rent the services of the "So Kalan" platform. The partner schools are responsible for providing the services to their target learners and levels.

"Thanks to FACEJ, we have created new partnerships. Our objective today is to become the best distance learning school in Mali."
Ada Ouologuem
2019 - 2022
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Support for Business Creation by Young People
Mali faces several major challenges related to youth employment. These are: (i) the rapid increase in the working-age population and the difficulties of finding jobs to young people, (ii) the important place taken by informal jobs, (iii) the low proportion of formal jobs in the private and public sectors, (iv) the low human capital accumulation,...