Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”-Malcolm X

The 4th Sustainable Development Goal puts emphasis on Malcom’s quote as it aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Quality Education is a crucial element in achieving the other sixteen sustainable development goals. It breaks  the vicious circle of poverty, reduces inequalities and encourages collaborative efforts focused on the growth and development of individuals and world economies.  Which  is why Fundie came into existence, to help promote education 

According to the Abridged Postal & Telecommunications Sector Performance Report for the Second Quarter of 2019, 95% of Zimbabweans access the internet via their mobile phones. 

Fundie, a Zimbabwean educational virtual assistant and material resource is making use of this fact by providing students with textbooks, past exam question papers, and tutorials straight to their WhatsApp inboxes.  The platform is an Artificial Intelligence based system which can adapt and customize user experience based on historical data. This neural network enables students to download textbooks without using too much data. The increasing cost of data limits access to material so learning via Whatsapp is not only revolutionary, it’s also inclusive and affordable. 

The brain behind Fundie is 2019 Youth Connekt Start-up Tour Bus Mashonaland East winner, Blessing Phiri, a Mechatronics Engineering student at Chinhoyi University of Technology. One day whilst researching for an assignment, Phiri found himself out of data bundles, a situation many Zimbabweans students can relate to. As a result,  Phiri decided to conduct some research on how one could  access search engines like Google via WhatsApp. His passion for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning coupled with his tenacious research & hard work led to the development of Fundie. 

Since 1 April 2020, Fundie has received over 11,000 downloads. During the Covid-19 pandemic these individuals have taken advantage of Fundie’s vast pool of over a million books to learn and to find out more about the virus and how they can keep themselves safe. Fundie also has over 2, 000 new novels, magazines and other books to keep its audience occupied during these trying times. 

By simply saving the Fundie Bot’s contact number an individual can access Fundies’ pool of content. Phiri believes in developing solutions that solve Africa’s social problems. He describes Fundie Technologies as one of the many entrepreneurial endeavors he’s undertaking and is keen to develop more to help aid in the growth and advancement of the continent.

To get in touch with Fundie please visit their social media platforms noted below:

Facebook: @fundietech, Twitter: @fundietech, Instagram: @fundietech

What do you think are the best ways of ensuring that initiatives such as Fundie also reach our rural communities? How can we improve the way knowledge and education is shared? What do you think is the future of online learning in Zimbabwe ? Share in the comments below: