So Kalan: my classroom at home” – Mali’s first e-learning platform

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
To mitigate the economic disruption to Mali’s private sector caused by the Covid-19 crisis, Swisscontact is helping local partners find projects or companies able to react rapidly to the crisis. One of these projects is called “So Kalan: my classroom at home” – the first e-learning platform developed and implemented in Mali.

The web-based platform was founded in March 2020 by the telecommunication engineer Ada Ouloguem together with seven young people. The platform allows schoolchildren to connect with teachers via online video conference, thereby continuing their education despite the school closures. It offers simple access to an extensive teaching curriculum that encompasses mathematics, French, natural sciences, history, and geography. The course content is distributed both online and via the “Africable” TV channel.

Supporting young businesses through partnerships

The FACEJ project (Le Fonds d'Appui à la Création d'entreprise par les Jeunes) works with banks and partner organisations and aims to provide business opportunities to young people through the promotion of innovative business projects.

Given the crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic, FACEJ implemented a new emergency mechanism in May to support the private sector in Mali. The objective is to help growing businesses and start-ups develop their capacities to adapt to the market situation during the crisis. This should mitigate or fix both the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic. The FACEJ team relies on a team of partners comprising incubators, NGOs, associations, consulting firms, and training centres. These entities identify businesses that are already active in target sectors and able to become operational quickly. FACEJ provides its partners with a simplified business plan and pays them a fixed amount for their consulting services.

One of these partners, the DoniLab incubator, came upon Ada Ouologuem’s idea for the “So Kalan” platform and helped her draw up her business plan. The name “So Kalan” in the Bambara language literally means “learning at home”. FACEJ then validated this business plan and advised DoniLab in developing the e-learning platform. The support from FACEJ and its partner organisations made it possible for Ada to turn her start-up idea into a veritable business, pay her team, and build new partnerships. Up to now, more than 500 students have registered and are participating in online courses. The Africable channel makes it possible for students as far as Senegal, Niger, and Cote d’Ivoire to participate. The incubator is guiding and advising Ada to achieve her future business objectives. She also plans to improve her business model by offering her partner schools the option to rent services from the So Kalan platform.

The FACEJ project is financed by the Royal Embassy of Denmark and implemented by Swisscontact in partnership with PlanBørnefonden.

“So Kalan: My Class at Home”: The E-Learning Platform in Mali
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.
Support for Business Creation by Young People