FoondaMate was unveiled in August 2020 in South Africa after they discovered that a huge number of students and pupils in the nation couldn’t learn because of the closure of schools as a result of the pandemic and the absence of required innovation items.
In this way, they made a technique for the younger generation to go on with studies on the internet utilizing WhatsApp. The platform helps students without sufficient access to the web to learn with the guidance of restricted chatbots.
Using and operating the app
On the platform students can browse, download research papers, do straightforward math estimations, and memorize words. They got the name from siSwati, which means “Study buddy“. Boyle portrayed the WhatsApp API as “messaging a very knowledgeable friend“.
To get study materials, search the web, or download practice questions and notices, a connection was made accessible where you’ll see a WhatsApp web-like interface on your screen requesting that you send ‘hi’.
Prospective clients can tap the green “Go to Chat” button and snap on “Open WhatsApp” in the event that they have WhatsApp introduced on their gadgets. Clients will be diverted to visit with Nelson, a chatbot.
What Foondamate hopes to achieve
FoondaMate strives for students to succeed independent of their accessible assets at home or in schools. The organization accepts that ability can be disseminated similarly, however, the opportunity isn’t. The startup intends to change this by giving freedoms to everybody that utilizes the platform.
Most students have cell phones which is a benefit they can use to enhance learning. Customary instructive materials like course readings and gathering mentoring are very costly when contrasted with FoondaMate that will offer similar assistance through WhatsApp.
FoondaMate utilizes WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger that clients previously introduced on their cell phones. This doesn’t need a lot of memory compared with numerous other applications.
It is not a bed of roses with obvious challenges
There is a unique feature as learners have the opportunity to engage with learning content in their local dialects. FoondaMate is accessible in 10 distinctive African dialects, nonetheless, they likewise have their own difficulties.
“Building FoondaMate is challenging because we are not only building a technology but also introducing it to communities,” Boyle says.
It’s quite interesting on the grounds that most of their users have never connected with a chatbot. Along these lines, guaranteeing that they comprehend they are not talking with a human is extreme.
“We had users who wanted to become friends with Nelson, the chatbot, asking to meet up or have phone calls. That indeed is a challenge” Magaluga reveals.
“We have had to change our approach to make sure students actually understand that they are interacting with a bot so that they are not disappointed when they can’t hang out with their new friend,” Boyle explains.
Foondamate is growing and expanding
In any case, the edtech startup has recorded significant growth since its launch in August 2020. FoondaMate has reached more than 130,000 students inside Africa, Latin America, and Asia, who have downloaded over 1.8 million practice questions. However, South African have the highest number of users, be that as it may, individuals in other African nations like Eswatini, Lesotho, Zambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi, Angola, and Kenya likewise use FoondaMate.
FoondaMate’s users likewise come from Latin America like Colombia and Brazil, while users in Asia are from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. What’s more, FoondaMate is making plans to expand operations to these areas.