Straight Talk partners with UK’s Thare Machi Education Trust to make educational DVD lessons

(write up courtesy of TME website –}

First lessons to be made in Africa

We’re really proud to report that in the last few months we have been able to establish our first lesson production team in Africa. Yann Hausammann, who’s previously worked in our UK office, travelled to Kenya to set up the computers and train some volunteers – here’s his report…

“Going to Kenya for a month was definitely a challenge for me, but knowing it was for Thare Machi Education, I was quite confident. Up until now our local partner in Kenya, Edward Odhiambo, has been translating and recording lessons in his own language, Dho Luo, then sending his recordings to the TME office in the UK so we could work on the DVD authoring process (adding the new audio to an existing template) and make the final DVDs. My main goal for this month in Kenya was to teach local people how to do that DVD authoring process so they would be able to create a new lesson for TME, starting from an English script, going through translating, voice recording, and finally DVD authoring.

My first stop was with Edward, in the town of Ndhiwa (in Homa Bay county, in the west of Kenya, near Lake Victoria). There were some significant challenges there, first finding students who would have time and be interested in doing the training and willing to continue after I left. However, the main problem was that the power supply to Ndhiwa was unreliable, often down for hours at a time. It was not possible to run the computers, so we decided that Ndhiwa was not the right place for this part of the project. While I was there, though, we were able to make a number of new recordings in Dho-Luo, which was good.

Once we’d realised that we could not do the training in the west of Kenya, I went to Nairobi to meet up with Kenny Kaburu and his team of Straight Talk Foundation (another of our partner organisations – they have a small recording studio as part of their work involves radio broadcasts). I ended up teaching to only one student, but one VERY passionate one! It was an intensive few days, but I can gladly say that the student I have been teaching to is now ready to author DVDs on his own and will even teach other students how to do the same! The name of that student is Edwin Njue, I’m pretty sure you will see his name again soon in one of our reports, talking about the first official DVD made in Africa!

It’s for these kinds of stories that I am always happy to take a part in the work TME is doing.”

We are so grateful to Yann for giving up his time to take this big step of travelling to Kenya to do something that had never been tried before. It’s amazing to think that it’s now possible to produce lessons almost completely in Kenya, and we look forward to growing our relationships with all our partners there in the months ahead (reply to this email if you’re in Kenya and want to be more involved!) Yann will be staying in touch with Edwin to give him ongoing support as he trains other volunteers at Straight Talk Foundation Kenya.


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