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One of the most frequent answers we receive about g.Maarifa is about the mLearning market. Mobile anything is hot right now in public, civil, and private sectors. Mobile education is no exception. Along with mHealth, it is the hottest of the hot trends. Yet because it is an emerging sector, not a lot of research has been done on it. How many mLearning initiatives are there? Who are they? Who are they targeting? Are they effective?

We decided to focus specifically on the mobile adult continuing education niche. This means both workplace training and uninstitutionalized learning, such as getting educated on maternal health issues and basic financial literacy if you are a borrower. Furthermore, our geographic focus is Middle East and Africa as we have on the ground experience in these two regions and want to be as authentic as possible.

So without further ado, here it is: (click here for infographic).

We also have a database of all the mLearning companies. If you are interested, please drop us a note at evanna@gmaarifa.com and we will be happy to send it to you!

We are officially launching our new website (www.gmaarifa.com) and our born-again blog! Definitely check both out There are still some small tweaks that need to be adjusted, but overall, we are enthralled by how the website turned out. Special shoutout to our guru designer, Youn! And as for the blog, it’s managed primarily by Evanna,

A lot of you have asked us about our .org website. It still works and forwards to http://www.gmaarifa.com, but we are planning on phasing that domain out for the next few months. The reason behind this transition is worthy of a blog post as it is tied with social enterprises and the for-profit v. impact debate.

With the launch of the new website, we have also revamped the blog- not only its appearance but also its purpose. We hope to achieve two main goals with the blog: 1) to update you on the latest from g.Maarifa, and most importantly 2) to offer insights on the latest in the industry. We will update the blog biweekly and with frequent guest posts by influentials in the field. In startup lingo, we will be using this blog as a vehicle for thought leadership and content development. We are definitely not complaining- we are both very opinionated and would love to engage in lively conversations with our viewers and supporters. The more you challenge our views, the more we learn and the more we are able to step in other people’s shoes.

And as always, we are always accessible for opinions, (constructive) criticism, questions, requests, etc. We promise to get back to you within 5 days (unless we are both traveling to places where the power is off more than on):

Andrew: andrew@gmaarifa.com

Evanna: evanna@gmaarifa.com

Dear awesome supporters,

It has been a whirlwind since we updated you last! Not only have we crisscrossed the world a few times to meet with supporters but we have also been feverishly working on the launch of our new product, Orion.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The last time we touched base, we told you that we were in the middle of our pilot testing for our proprietary product (job training, evaluation, and placement). We finished our pilot testing in September to great success! Though the technology was finicky in the first week, by the beginning of the second, we had stabilized the tech and began to add new features based on user feedback and back-end necessities. Overall, 32% of the students were placed in jobs and achieved a 30+ point gain in knowledge in entrepreneurship and professional etiquette. 100% of students strongly agree or agree with the statement that “I am more confident in my job seeking and creation skills because of the knowledge I have garnered from my course with g.Maarifa.” If you are interested in the entire results of the pilot, please don’t hesitate to email Evanna at evanna@gmaarifa.com

Right after the pilot, Andrew and I flew back to the US and did a tour talking to supporters and potential investors and clients. Evanna spoke in front of Engineers Without Borders on behalf of g.Maarifa. From Chicago to New York to San Francisco, we received positive feedback and great enthusiasm for our products. Some of the negotiations are ongoing and hush-hush but we will keep you in the loop as soon as we get the disclosure OK!

Secondly, we are in the process of rolling out our new product, Orion. Because we already have an interactive SMS platform, we figured that it would be a lot more beneficial to license it out to NGOs and other institutions in developing markets who need to reach their own end users, most of whom are bottom of the pyramid, with their own content. Orion is our white label customization platform which means that we work with clients to customize their content, questions, and analytics and then deliver the content and evaluation questions to their end users.

Already we are working with two multinational social enterprise clients on reaching more than 700,000 end users by February, 2013 (contracts worth millions of dollars). One is using Orion to do entrepreneurship training in five provinces in Kenya and another is using Orion to remote-train their field staff and to educate clients on micro-insurance. We are super stoked to work and support them!

Lastly, you might have noticed that we changed our logo and design. Thanks to our awesome volunteer designer and web guru, Youn, we will also be getting a new website which will be launched next month. The website will include a simulation of our tech so folks outside of East Africa can also experience it.

The last few months have been hectic as we finally made the decision to shift our focus to Orion from our proprietary product, Sophia, and as we did our prelim round of fundraising. We are especially grateful for your support which continues to keep us inspired in building this business.

Best,

Evanna and Andrew