Staanoi supports KUKUA to eradicate illiteracy in Africa

A team of best-in-class educators, entrepreneurs and technologists to build smart (phone), literacy and numeracy solutions.


Staanoi is supporting Kukua in their mission to fight illiteracy in Africa. Kukua was founded by STAANOI’s President, Lucrezia Bisignani, along with an international and globally distributed team.

KUKUA is building a mobile­-game called “SEMA” that will allow illiterate children between the aged of 5-10 living in Sub Saharan Africa to teach themselves how to read, write and do basic arithmetics, while playing.


Today, 250 million children – 200 million of which attend school – are still illiterate. In Sub­Saharan Africa, where two thirds of illiterate children are located, 67% of students drop out before finishing primary school, and another 20% graduate illiterate. Consequences are tragic: children who aren’t reading and writing by age 9 accumulate learning deficits and never quite recover, perpetuating the vicious cycle of illiteracy and poverty.

It is well known by now that mobile is eating the world. Sub­$40 smartphones, such as the Datawind PocketSurfer 5x and the MTN Steppa, are already invading the market, and following Moore’s law we expect that price to drop significantly in the next 2­5 years.

From 2013 to 2017, global smartphone adoption will go from 1 billion to 3 billion phone and in Gambia and South Africa, Kukua’s field research showed that simple web-­based technologies like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are driving smartphone adoption, even amongst low­income communities.

Kukua’s aim is to harness the rise of smartphones to give every child a chance to acquire functional literacy skills and escape the cycle of poverty. Kukua is building a quest­-based adventure game that takes learners on an exploratory journey inspired by local culture, myth and folklore, and through which they learn how to read, write and count in only 12 months. Built for Android, the predominant smartphone platform in SSA, Kukua’s game will rest on a compelling storyline to drive curiosity and awaken a love of learning in our learners. Initially built in Swahili as well as English, this game will be easily changeable to other local languages.

STAANOI is proud to support KUKUA in the first phase of this project and it’s efforts to promote literacy in low-income communities and give each child the chance to escape the cycle of poverty.


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