[September 8, 2022, ATLANTA, GA] -- Thanks to a new digital learning curriculum and app developed with the input of students at B.E.S.T. Academy, a public school in Atlanta, with funding support from the Avast Foundation, Atlanta middle school students are learning Swahili, one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in the world.
The development of the Swahili language app, KiSwahili, a free-to-use, interactive, mobile-based learning curriculum was led by the U.S.-based nonprofit The Imperative, in an effort to connect Atlanta Public Schools students with students in Kenya. The Imperative strives to create a deeper understanding of both Swahili and African culture in order to stem the loss of the indigenous African language. As students master basic language skills, they will engage directly with their counterparts in Nairobi, allowing them to practice their knowledge and communicate with peers using a non-colonial language.
“The partnership between Avast Foundation and The Imperative will have a profound local impact – allowing Atlanta public school students to learn new cultures and skills such as app development, coding and linguistics, rooted in their own discovery and exploration of Swahili in a safe and secure online environment,” said Shane Ryan, Global Executive Director of Avast Foundation. “The Avast Foundation is pleased to support this platform as part of our mission to create an equitable and inclusive digital world.”
The app’s curriculum content includes videos, articles, a chat function in addition to courses on Swahili. Students from Atlanta Public Schools and Precious Blood Girls Riruta in Nairobi, Kenya as well as Friends School Kamusinga located in Kimilili, Kenya co-designed the app and its functions.
“Swahili is increasingly becoming a connector of Black people across cultural and geographical boundaries, and we choose to introduce this rich language to students to bring together young Black people across Africa and the Diaspora,” said Ade Oguntoye, executive director of The Imperative. “We are grateful to Avast Foundation for funding this initiative, which we hope will bring the app to more schools across the United States as a critical investment in our country’s young leaders.”
On Thursday, September. 8, B.E.S.T. Academy students, Principal Dr. Timothy Jones and others from the community celebrated the launch of the KiSwahili app with more than 70 students, and members of the community.
“We are grateful to Avast Foundation and The Imperative for providing our students with this unique opportunity to foster new friendships and learning opportunities between students in Atlanta and Nairobi through Swahili,” said Principal Jones. “At B.E.S.T. Academy, we are committed to providing an enriching experience as students learn not only a new language, but a unique understanding of Afro-centric cultures.”
About Avast Foundation
The Avast Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Avast, the global leader in digital security and privacy. Avast Foundation is committed to fostering digital freedom and citizenship globally. Founded in 2021, the global foundation works in partnership with people and communities, NGOs, charities, and educational institutions to tackle issues of digital exclusion, remove barriers to digital access, and champion digital citizenship and civic participation. Its programs are designed to deliver meaningful change and help shape a world where technology plays a positive role in building and sustaining communities.
About The Imperative
The Imperative is a fund that centers the interest of Black people through its grantmaking. By making strategic investments, we increase the wealth, improve health outcomes and promote the social, economic and cultural ties among Black people throughout the Diaspora and the African continent. The Imperative believes the goal of racial equity cannot be achieved if Black people do not have institutions with a long-term view for building culture and leading change. More pointedly, The Imperative serves as a philanthropic institution that will not ask Black-led nonprofits to contort their work away from the true needs of Black communities. The fund will invest in best practices and new ideas that respect cultural traditions.