Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) has emerged as one of the winners after a 6-month incubation programme at the recently concluded 2023 UNLEASH Rwanda Dragons’ Den Pitch for FastTrack.
The AREAi team led by Gideon Olanrewaju, its executive director, participated alongside 1000 young change-makers from 136 nationalities in Kigali, Rwanda, to pitch its FastTrack solution and emerged as one of the winners, receiving the Mastercard Foundation Prize of $5000.
According to Olarenwaju, the pitch received special attention due to the innovativeness of their solution that leverages the combined strength of three different learning approaches to support beneficiaries in acquiring literacy and numeracy skills.
“With this fund, we will be investing in the professional development of our community- based facilitators and enlist additional 200 beneficiaries to our program’s coverage,” he said
FastTrack is a technology-enabled and self-assisted accelerated foundational skills development program designed to enable out-of-school refugee children to acquire foundational literacy and numeracy skills which are vital, indispensable and required for further education to lead an empowered and self-determined life.
This solution, currently reaching over 4000 children, and is backed by rigorous evidence that points to teaching students at their ability and right level, rather than at grade level curriculum, revealed as one of the most cost-effective interventions at improving basic literacy and numeracy.
As one of the winners of the UNLEASH Plus Innovation Lab, AREAi was awarded the grant of $5000 for its innovative solution.
This global win further validates FastTrack as one of AREAi’s innovative solutions and the organisation’s commitment to championing foundational learning as we continue to address these gaps in the education development of children and youths across Africa.
Olanrewaju, having triumphed in a global pitch, said that their victorious sojourn through the UNLEASH Plus experience has shown them the transformative potential of their impact beyond borders.
“Over the next 12 months, we plan to scale FastTrack into 7 additional states in Nigeria and into 3 neighboring countries,” he said.
UNLEASH Plus is a 6-month incubation program for early-stage social entrepreneurs who have great ideas and phenomenal teams. The program supports teams who are uniquely qualified to solve their particular problems identified but need access to the skills, tools, mindset, networks, and resources that will push their solution from the minimum viability to the product market.