Learning new competences and skills is becoming easier and easier with the help of digital platforms. However, lack of basic requirements such as functioning internet access can hinder a learning experience. The atingi4Ag project in Benin has created an open-source Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution, as part of the atingi ecosystem, to enhance accessibility and inclusivity in digital learning.
In collaboration with three local agricultural associations, the Ministry of Digitalization, and the Ministry of Agriculture in Benin, the project aims to provide learning content to 90,000 farmers and small businesses through basic mobile phones or smartphones. Given the farmers’ lower literacy levels and limited internet connectivity, the IVR solution ensures equal access to learning content, regardless of individual circumstances. It also allows learners to personalize their learning path, providing a tailored learning experience.
The IVR tool employs interactive stories and problem-based learning to engage learners and encourage them to explore new agricultural methods and techniques. Essentially, farmers call a designated number and listen to stories or problems that help them acquire new skills and improve their livelihoods.
Furthermore, the project has partnered with the local telecommunications provider Moov Africa to provide SIM cards and discounted rates for accessing the IVR courses. Training sessions were conducted with the agricultural associations, Ministry of Digitalization, and Ministry of Agriculture to develop learning content and prepare partners for deploying and maintaining the IVR solution. The official launch of the IVR learning campaign took place on July 21, 2023, when the solution was handed over to the partners in Benin.
The open-source nature of the atingi IVR solution allows for scalability beyond the Benin project. A second pilot project is already being considered as part of a project on the subject of ‘Empowerment of Women’ in Pakistan.