LearnAM Storm Oyingbo Market

LearnAM Storm Oyingbo Market

The LearnAM community activation train started at the Oyingbo market, Lagos State. A fitting take off point giving that our target audience are those traditionally excluded from formal education structures; under-served communities that do not benefit directly from formal education, digital and financial infrastructures and development.

As is expected within these settings, we had to ‘wet the ground’ with the Community heads before carrying out any activity within the market. If you aren’t from Nigeria, this is basically tipping those within the market who have the ‘say so’ on any and every thing that goes on in the market. In our case, we parted with some cash that although we were reluctant to let go off in the beginning, we where overjoyed with the impact it bought us at the end.

The “Community head” personally escorted our agents around the market throughout the campaign. It gave us some form of endorsement/credibility, because although those in the market didn’t know us, they knew him and could connect with him.  Such direct affiliation with us lent us a level of trust that would have taken days to build otherwise.

LearnAM branded vehicles were packed at strategic locations in the market blaring the LearnAM theme song (have you heard it??? It’s so catchy, I’m sure you’d find yourself shaking your head).

People around the market could be seen dancing to the song, and a group of children gathered beside our vehicles dancing in circles to the theme song.

A total of 10 agents did the activation at Oyingbo market and went from shop to shop spreading the gospel of LearnAM to everyone in the market.

Each person we engaged had a different reaction but the underlying emotion was that of excitement and wonder. One of such fascinating encounters was with Baba Monica, a frozen food vendor.

Baba Monica  was happy he could learn about the internet in Yoruba. First off, Baba Monica refers to the entire internet as Facebook.

We showed him some courses on the app that could teach him some basic digital skills in yoruba and the childlike wonder on his face was  all the motivation we needed to keep going.

I can close my eyes right now and still see his face, I think I’d always see his face in my mind because it was the very definition of hope.

It didn’t end with Baba Monica, there was a woman selling shrimps who didn’t want to give us audience, she said in thick yoruba accent  “Mio gbo oyinbo”, (I can’t speak English) to with our agent Adebisi responded “mama ko’n se problem” (mama not a problem).

She blushed after Adebisi let her know she could learn in Yoruba.

Her countenance became pleasant.

She granted the team interview, had a group picture with our agents, and promised to spread the gospel of LearnAM to her friends.

Chioma, an ugwu (pumpkin leaf) seller, was fascinated by the idea of learning in Igbo language. She complained about being a victim of cybercrime.

Our agent took her through one of the modules on the LearnAM app that taught on  how to avoid being scammed online.

The amount of prayer Chioma heaped on us was enough to fortify us for the rest of our lives.

The team interviewed a lot of people and this gave us  insight on future features that could be added to the app.

Contrary to our expectations that most people would have just smart feature phones, almost everyone we engaged used an android phone but this usage was largely limited to Facebook and Instagram and specifically to watching funny skits.

Taking them through the courses on LearnAM seemed to open them up to a whole new world of possibilities.

Sukurat (one of the traders we interviewed who was interested in digital skills) captured this perfectly, she said “wetin I bin dey find for Sokoto, dey inside my shokoto” (the thing I have travelled to find has been in my pocket).

This activation was honestly the most stressful day of my time in LearnAM but I type this with the sincerest smile on my face when I say it was the most rewarding, so rewarding in fact that I’m gearing up for next weeks community engagement.

It would be at Ijebu Ode, if you see us, don’t be shy, come over and say hi and honestly, you don’t have to see us. Spread the word in your community, spread hope, spread knowledge because everyone must #LearnAM by force.

Click this link to watch the video