African Edutainment Producer Says Building Brains Is Building Futures

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Nisha Ligon is a screenwriter, filmmaker, and the co-founder and CEO of Ubongo. Ligon tells C.M. Rubin, Founder of CMRubinWorld, that through TV, radio, and mobile phones, Ubongo is supporting kids with “pre-literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning” in the African nation.

Ubongo was founded in 2013 with the goal of closing the learning gap in Tanzania. Today, they give kids low-cost education entertainment with the tools people often take for granted in other developed countries. Akili and Me and Ubongo Kids are two shows created by Ubongo that have 11.2 million households watching across 9 countries in Africa. These shows focus learning on subjects like reading, math, and science as well as on critical behavioral habits like hygiene and nutrition.


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“We’re really focused on impact, and we’re constantly doing focus groups and surveys to measure that and make sure we’re reaching and engaging kids and parents.” – Nisha Ligon

The shows have created a big impact inside Africa. “We conducted an impact evaluation in 2016 in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Public Health, and the results were published in 2017,” Ligon tells Rubin. “The study showed that children who watched Akili and Me in Tanzania experienced 12 percent higher school readiness than kids who had watched other cartoons.”

Nisha Ligon is Co-Founder and CEO of Ubongo, Africa’s leading kids’ edutainment company. Ligon is a social entrepreneur with a background in media and science, and a passion for education. She has produced content for the BBC, the Guardian, online learning platforms, and an award winning documentary, Twiga Stars.

CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers.

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Read the interview here

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