The power of audio learning in the age of COVID-19

In this time of LOCKDOWN, many of us as parents and teachers have turned to screens as a way to connect our children with the world and and educate them.

We may be using technology like ZOOM or MICROSOFT team classes on smart devices. We may be using spaces like Google classroom or resources on YouTube channels. We may even be watching the good, old-fashioned TV.

We also jumped onto the online bandwagon!

In the first 4 weeks of hard LOCKDOWN here in South Africa, Wriggle and Rhyme released weekly musical episodes on our YOUTUBE channel, called MUSICAL FUN WITH FROGGY.

Musical fun with Froggy

You can access these episodes here –

Over the past 7 weeks, we have spent time exploring online technology too, to give parents learning options during this time of COVID-19 and lockdown.

But, for many communities, this just isn’t viable.

In order to use screen-based learning, people need to have access to expensive technology. That technology isn’t just the devices themselves, but also the data required to access and stream the content.

Enter Lifelife Energy

As a mission-driven non-profit social enterprise, Lifeline Energy designs, manufactures and distributes solar-powered and wind-up MP3 players and radios for classroom and community listening. No one does what they do. Their technology goes where others can’t or don’t.

Lifeline Energy NGO

In 2016, Wriggle and Rhyme’s Founder and Programme Director, Kirsty Savides attended a conference for African Women Entrepreneurs in Cape Town.

At this conference, she met Kristine Pearson, the CEO of Lifeline Energy.

That day, a connection was made and an interesting partnership was born.

Kristine was speaking at the conference and sharing her journey as a SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR of the past 20 years. Through her mission-driven NPO Lifeline Energy, the LIFEPLAYER was developed.

The LIFEPLAYER is a solar-powered radio and MP3 player.

Reaching African children with educational content

Imagine a community. No electricity. Many children. All of different ages. One teacher.

Then imagine a LIFEPLAYER loaded with hundreds of hours of fun, interactive school lessons. Able to tune into the radio and directly record programmes. Or record children’s voices. All powered by the sun!

Sharing what we have to help others

Never before, as a global community have we been so aware of the necessity to lift each other up and share our resources.

Africa has a concept called UBUNTU – which means “I am, because we are”

Ubuntu children

In other words, strength comes from working together and sharing whatever resources we have, for the benefit of the whole group.

Music lifts us up!

Wriggle and Rhyme is working as one of LIFELINE ENERGY’s partners to provide educational audio content to fuel the LIFEPLAYER. 

We don’t have the capacity or technology to reach the children that LIFELINE ENERGY can. But, we do have musical resources to share! 

Refugee camps in Kenya

The importance of pre-school is recognised by most African countries. In Kenya, pre-school aged children of refugees at the KAKUMA refugee camp attend pre-school classes free of charge.

Pre-school children using Wriggle and Rhyme music at the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya

However, the classes are impossibly large.

Have a look at the image below to see the size of this pre-school, where there are only 10 teachers for 1,370 pupils.

To make it even more challenging, the children are from 5 different countries and don’t share a common language.

Class register in a refugee camp in Kenya

Introducing Christine …

This is Christine. She is grade 1.

There’s a Wriggle and Rhyme song called “The Big 5 Jive” which centres around Africa’s “big five” animals.

After Christine’s class listened to the song on the LIFEPLAYER, the teacher used the song to teach the children about the big five. 

Christine was asked to spell “lion” which she did, correctly.

The role of radio in a pandemic!

We tend to think of radio as an outdated technology. But, what LIFELINE ENERGY is doing, proves the tremendous value that radio and auditory learning resources continue to bring in the 21st century.

More than ever, we need innovative ways to reach people with information. We need to be able to share our resources in ways that best fit their context.

It’s a huge privilege to be partnering with LIFELINE ENERGY, even in a small way, to share the resources that we have with the children of Africa.

God bless Africa

Guard her children

Guide her leaders

Give her peace

Photo credits – (c) Lifeline Energy