Our amazing Bridge Project is targeting severely under-resourced schools that are plagued by shortages of basics such as textbooks, teaching materials, beginner readers, and novels. We are reaching thousands of students and teachers who have limited or no access to the internet and the wonderful educational resources online. We are “bridging” the well-known “digital divide” by creating Bridge Project Learning Centers (BPLCs), bringing access to a wealth of materials including hundreds of books, reading lessons, textbooks, teacher resources, instructional videos, encyclopedias, coding courses, hundreds of health and development articles, math courses, high school science, and more.
How does it work?
The heart of a BPLC is a Learning Hub – a portable, battery-powered hard drive packed with a large collection (over 300 gigabytes) of educational content, that creates a WIFI “hotspot” capable of serving 50+ devices, providing local access to the Learning Hub’s library of digital “snapshots” of online resourcesand much more (including Wikipedia and Khan Academy). At our pilot projects BP Learning Centers have shown that using these resources not only boost English proficiency, love of literacy, and pass rates, but open doors for curious learners and spark their passion and enthusiasm.
Our process for successfully establishing a Learning Center has four components:
1) The Hardware
At the heart of a BPLC is the Learning Hub, a $600 “RACHEL-plus,” developed by our colleagues at World Possible in California. Each school site has a different mix of wifi enabled devices on site. To keep costs down we supply only four tablets ($80/each) with our basic Learning Center.
- Add ProjectorA projector dramatically boosts impact and utility. Class size at our schools can be well over 50 students and projectors make it vastly more practical and manageable for teachers to use the materials with the entire class. + $500
- Add 12 TabletsMany schools sites have no reliable wifi-enabled devices. A library of 12 tablets greatly expands access to the Learning Center’s materials and makes it possible for teachers to have small groups collaborate and to individuate instruction. +$1,000
2) Awareness campaign
We begin with awareness campaigns so local schools and communities know and understand the Bridge Project. Our in-country team meets with many stakeholders including headmasters, local district officials, provincial officials, traditional leaders, and parent groups. We cultivate a collaborative, cooperative relationship with school sites; though this takes time and resources it’s key to success.
We are fortunate to be working with top-notch colleagues in Zimbabwe, Bridge Project Manager MthokozisiMoyo and Bridge Project Training and Curriculum Manager Tinashe Basa, Mr. Moyo leads us through the crucial steps of securing stakeholder “buy-in” and approval. Zimbabwe’s political and bureaucratic hurdles are high, one reason why our project reaches schools that receive no other support.
3) Training and Technical Support Workshops
The launch at a new site features a half-day workshop, entailing a two-person team traveling to the site to train teachers and administrators. Top priorities include ensuring that everyone, especially teachers, has familiarity with the BPLC, feels supported, and has had their questions answered.
4) Monitoring and Evaluation (“M & E”) and Technical Support Visits
School sites receive ongoing support, part of 5 M & E visits during each subsequent term for 3 years.
How much does it cost?
Supporters of the Bridge Project are able to have an enormous impact for a modest price tag. The budget for bringing a BPLC to a new site is $2,500 and is composed of:
- Hardware Costs:$1,000 (a “RACHEL-plus” model Learning Hub and 4 tablets)
- Awareness Campaign:$500
- Training and Technical Support Workshop:$500
- Five semi-annual visits for technical support and M & E:$1,000
As discussed above, the Learning Center can be made far more robust with the addition of a projector ($500) and/or by adding a 12 tablet library ($1,000)
Who Can Sponsor a Learning Center? A BPLC can be sponsored by an individual, school, community center, business or organization. USACF will work to establish a direct link between the sponsor and the school, including invitations to visit as well as results from M & E visits and photos.
Next steps: Please help us reach 10 new schools this year! Contributions can be made at from this website or via our Go Fund Me campaign Please direct inquiries to Bridge Project Director Bob Rollins (510 919-8968).
Please check out these short (less than 2 minute) testimonials:
- “Things that I found were amazing, absolutely great.”
- “Inspired me to write more poems”
- “3-D Diagrams that have really assisted students”