Ubongo Kids is a Tanzanian edu-cartoon series, designed to help children "discover the joys of math and science through fun, local stories, and songs". Produced by Ubongo, a social enterprise based in Tanzania, the show premiered in January 2014 on national television and can also be viewed online. In partnership with Edume, Ubongo have released a mobile learning platform so that viewers can continue to learn throughout the week, answering questions via SMS and winning callbacks and songs from their favorite cartoon characters. Ubongo Kids currently broadcasts in both Kiswahili and English, and is airing on TBC1 in Tanzania, NTV in Kenya, RTV in Rwanda and Star Swahili across East Africa.

Communication Strategies: 

Designed for childen at pre-school level, Ubongo Kids follows Tanzanian cartoon kids Kibena, Kiduchu, and Koba as they use their minds and math skills to solve problems in their village, with the help of their talking and singing animal friends: Mama Ndege (a math whiz bird), Uncle T (a rapping giraffe), and Da Chura (a frog who explains important vocabulary).

Each episode uses stories to help students understand a basic math concept.The producers seek to help students understand the underlying concept through the story, rather than just memorising the methodology. Catchy songs and colourful imagery are also meant to help the learning process. Students can interact with the television show with basic mobiles, answering multiple-choice math questions posed during the show via SMS and scoring points to win prizes. They also get feedback and encouraging messages from the cartoon characters. Interaction is also made possible through the Ubongo Facebook page.

For the online versions, the producers break down the episodes and put shorter stories online as webisodes. These can be viewed on Youtube and on the Ubongo Kids website.

Ubongo Kids currently broadcasts Saturday and Sunday at 9am on TBC1 in Tanzania, Saturday at 10am NTV in Kenya, Saturday at 9:30am on RTV in Rwanda, and 4pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday on Star Swahili across East Africa.

Development Issues: 

Children, Education

Key Points: 

Ubongo is a Tanzanian social enterprise that creates localised edutainment for learners in Africa. "Ubongo" means brain in Kiswahili, and the organisation works to find fun ways to stimulate children and the young at heart to use their brains.

Partner Text: 

Ubongo, CRDB Bank PLC

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