|Founder – Steve Nguru|
“Education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela. I honestly could not agree more. Moving forward as a continent I believe this should be the foundation of all development. Public funded schools on the continent are characterized by overpopulated classrooms and insufficient resources. SwapKitabu in Kenya (Kitabu means book in Swahili) is trying to eliminate at least part of the problem. It is an online platform where parents can buy and sell used textbooks from other parents.
UNESCO’s official stance is that quality education demands that learners are adequately resourced with textbooks that are context specific, cost effective and available to all learners. However this is not the situation in Kenya. The average pupil-to-textbook ratio in primary schools is 1 to 4, and worse still in rural schools the ratio is as high as 1:7. Can you imagine trying to do your homework when you are sharing a textbook with 7 other people? The figures are as depressing as they are because the majority of Kenyans make less than 40,000ksh (roughly 450USD) a year while the cost of textbooks for one school year is 6500 per student. Social enterprises on the level of SwapKitabu are critical to make a dent in these pejorative ratios. All one had to do is take the textbooks that their textbooks their children no longer use and exchange them for those they need. This is where SwapKitabu comes in as the parents use this platform to connect with one another, for a flat rate of 200ksh per year.
SwapKitabu is sustainable and based on the human tradition of hand-me-down. The Start-up is the brain child of Steve Nguru who has not lost sight of this dream. Additionally it has been well incubated by NaiLab which has enabled them to possess the level of professionalism demonstrated thus far. Since its launch on March 1st2014 they are growing slowly but surely and the future is most definitely bright for them.
Photo Credits: swapkitabu.com, twitter