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Yiya AirScience Selected As A 2020 Solver with MIT Solve

Kampala, Uganda, October 8, 2020 - Yiya Solutions, a Ugandan education NGO and implementing partner with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI), was selected to join the MIT Solve 2020 Solver Class, specifically for its AirScience pilot program. Yiya was one of seven teams chosen in the Learning for Girls & Women Challenge.

Yiya Co-founder Samson said, “Joining Solve as a Solver team will help unlock registration for millions of young people to join the YiyaAirScience program to freely access high quality interactive STEM education without requiring smart devices.” Co-founder Erin says in follow-up that “We are excited to leverage the Solve community to build key partnerships that Yiya needs to scale the Yiya AirScience program.”

Mr. Makara Arthur, the Commissioner for Advancement and Outreach of Science, Technology and Innovation at MOSTI said, “Congratulations upon this achievement. It is what we prayed and strived for, supporting you to achieve. Now, it is time to get to real business.”

The Yiya AirScience pilot project based out of Lira, Uganda is ongoing with almost 20,000 youth registered and hundreds more joining daily. It has all the components of an online class, but it does not require internet or smartphones. Youth need only a radio and a basic keypad phone to participate. This groundbreaking remote education model allows for interactions between teachers and students in regions that lack access to smart devices and internet by leveraging USSD, FM radio, automated calls, and SMS to give youth feedback on their submissions. Secondary school youth participating in the Yiya AirScience pilot unit are learning about the widespread agricultural challenge of post-harvest food storage, and are creating solar food dryers at their homesteads using locally available materials.

Ugandan children are still not in school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but prior to the pandemic only 24% of young people were enrolled in secondary school. The AirScience program aims to transcend the pandemic and open up hands-on STEM education learning to all of Uganda’s youth, as a complement to classroom learning, or to fill the gap where youth are not in school. It is a convenient way for vulnerable communities, especially girls, to learn STEM by accessing lessons at their own convenience.

Yiya has been providing experiential STEM education in Uganda since 2016 and has established relationships with schools, teachers, students, NGO partners, and government. Their mission is to develop resilience and creative problem-solving in African youths.

Co-founder Erin Fitzgerald is a New Hampshire, USA native and an MIT alumna who works alongside co-founder Samson Wambuzi, a Ugandan teacher of physics and alumnus of Makerere University.

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