How we improve learning outcomes

The Mwabu Theory of Change

Thu, 14.07.2016

Poor performance in primary schools is a major driver of poverty throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Although there has been an increase in enrolment in many countries, the quality of teaching and learning outcomes remains a serious constraint. Efforts to improve quality are constrained by

(i) shortage of trained teachers, especially in rural areas

(ii) large class sizes,

(iii) limited resources for infrastructure, equipment and other teaching resources. The cost of resolving these problems is high, and even with investment, prospects for substantial improvement in the short to medium term are significantly limited.


In contrast, Mwabu offers an immediately accessible means of addressing the core problems that underpin this poor performance. The Mwabu approach combines a device containing both teaching and learning materials (directly corresponding to the requirements of national curricula), with face-to-face teaching and student activities to promote active and enquiry focused learning. Teachers (including unqualified teachers) are trained in the Mwabu approach, and able to use detailed lesson plans to increase participation and learning in large classes. Pupils, previously bored by rote learning or “chalk-and-talk”, become motivated, enquiring learners.


In this way, the Mwabu approach improves learning outcomes as: 

  • Mwabu training, lesson plans and on-going support build teachers’ capacity to use more effective teaching methods;
  • Mwabu teaching methods and lesson plans enable pupils in large classes to be active, engaged and successful learners;
  • Mwabu e-learning content provides diverse teaching and learning materials supporting the curriculum at every stage of primary school, delivered via the Mwabu tablet.


There is ample evidence from around the world that improved learning outcomes are essential for national development. Better education is strongly associated with poverty reduction, economic growth, and improvements in diverse social indicators including health and nutrition.

Why we believe this:

  1. Regional and national analyses show that shortcomings in primary education are driven by shortages of trained teachers, large class sizes, and lack of resources / equipment. The most recent Education for All report highlights the fact that these constraints can only be resolved in the medium to long term.
  2. Evidence from randomised control trials in different settings supports the argument that using the Mwabu package of tablets, training and support will increase learning outcomes in comparison to control groups with no intervention. Improvements in EGRA and EGMA scores have consistently been found in interventions in rural and urban settings / in Government and community schools in Zambia.
  3. Teachers report that they are able to manage large classes. Learners, teachers and parents have attributed improved attendance, progression and motivation to Mwabu teaching and content.

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