Angaza Vijana, a Nairobi-based nonprofit focused on healthcare, humanitarian assistance, and education, is a Mozilla IRL Fund Awardee. Its Mbele Pamoja project helps students access the internet and high-quality online learning materials. We spoke with Program Director Mark Moriama about his goal of moving Kenyan children “forward together”
- A 2022 UNICEF report estimated that 67% of all children in Kenya ages 12 - 17 have access to the internet
- But middle- and higher-income schools and households are much more likely to have regular internet access than their lower-income counterparts, who often struggle with the costs and other barriers to connectivity
- Angaza Vijana’s “Mbele Pamoja” (which translates to “forward together” in English) project provides nano-servers to schools that lack internet connectivity, giving children reliable access to online educational materials through a mobile platform
Many Kenyans from smaller, rural, or economically disadvantaged areas lack reliable access to the internet. When the pandemic shut down schools in 2020, Kenyan students and teachers moved to virtual classrooms, but the digital divide between students immediately became more apparent and urgent. Angaza Vijana’s initial survey found that 70% of its target student population aged 7 and below had no reliable access to the internet or smartphones. These students couldn’t access quality educational materials and resources without an internet connection.
Angaza Vijana Program Director Mark Moriama comes from a long line of teachers; early in his career, he combined his belief in the transformative power of education with his faith in technology as a problem-solving tool. Moriama saw how the pandemic underscored and deepened educational disparities in Kenya, which sparked the idea for Mbele Pamoja. Moriama and his team built and distributed nano-servers to schools, which resemble small computers with rechargeable batteries. (The batteries are important because some locations also lack reliable electricity.)
The nano-servers provide an internet connection, akin to a Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows students to access the program’s educational materials in places that previously lacked connectivity. “Our project is like a magic box that brings the internet to places that don't have it,” Moriama said.
Our project is like a magic box that brings the internet to places that don't have it.
Mark Moriama, Angaza Vijana Program Director
Once connected, the servers synchronize with a partner organization’s educational materials, providing students instant access to digital lessons and books based on the national curriculum. The project has already reached more than 1,500 Kenyan students, with plans to expand to as many as 500 schools in the future.
Angaza Vijana is one the first awardees of Mozilla’s “In Real Life” (IRL) Fund. The Fund supports community-serving organizations in Africa that are advancing digital and human rights, both on and offline — with a particular focus on Eastern and Southern Africa. This grantmaking mechanism is part of the Africa Innovation Mradi, a program that leverages Mozilla’s role as stewards of the open web to promote innovation grounded in the unique needs of users in African countries. Mbele Pamoja is using the grant funding to cover staff hiring and salaries and to buy essential equipment to run the nano-servers in the schools.
"We will know our work is done when every student in the communities we serve has equal access to quality education and digital resources, regardless of their geographical location or socioeconomic background. Success means empowering individuals with the digital literacy skills they need to thrive in the modern world, bridging the digital divide, and creating a brighter future for the next generation."
“Rapelang Rabana, a notable figure in technology and entrepreneurship, is a hero and inspiration to me. She has made significant contributions to the tech industry. Rapelang co-founded Yeigo Communications, a pioneering mobile VoIP company. Her work providing access to affordable communication has been particularly impactful in regions with limited access to traditional services.
"As a successful woman in the tech industry, Rapelang is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, proving that it is possible to break barriers and thrive in a male-dominated field. Rapelang’s achievements, her contributions to technology and entrepreneurship, and her commitment to education make her a hero in her field and an influential figure for many. She inspired me to make a positive impact through technology and innovation.”