Women In Tech: Meet Award-Winning UI/UX Designer And Founder Of Skooqs
Many schools in Africa lack essential creative skill learning resources and materials. Most African schools do not have any ICT (Information and Communication Technology) infrastructure to implement most EdTech solutions. The situation deprives students of the benefits that EdTech can bring to the classroom, including keeping learners engaged and progressing at a pace tailored to the student. If African schools had manufacturing partners providing laptops, desktops, and internet facilities at an affordable price, it would go a long way. The education system would see more willingness to embrace technology and skill-based learning in a few years.
Before that time arrives, one founder disrupting the educational sector like Clifton Manneh and Rudolph Ampofo is Oluwadamilola Soyombo.
Oluwadamilola Soyombo is an award-winning UI/UX Designer with seven years of experience working in the technology environment and three years of experience creating user-friendly digital-focused products. She works as a design educator across several industries on three continents. Oluwadamiloa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria.
Dami is the founder of Skooqs, the first online learning platform where African children can access technology and creative courses at a young age. She is also the founder of TCKZone, a not-for-profit that reaches out to underserved children with no funds and trains them in Technology skills, thereby increasing the number of young minds in technology and preparing for the Future.
Dami is a strong advocate for early childhood education and hopes to see millions of African kids introduced to 21st-century skills. Her company, Skooqs, provides African children between the ages of 5–18 years with access to technology and creative courses at a young age. “So when you think about your kids learning 21st-century skills, Skooqs is your go-to platform.”
“School taught me courses different from the skills needed for the actual jobs available. This made me realise that the country’s high unemployment rate was caused by this vast difference between our education/school curriculum and the application of skills in jobs. The situation empowered me to start a not for profit education technology company TCKZone to train children without funds in technology skills, and we got corporate organisations to fund it three years ago. With 2M naira in corporate sponsorships, we reached over 4000 kids in different underserved communities.”
“And guess what? COVID came, and everybody started going online. And we realised that we could actually do this online for every child. And that was how we went online and came up with the Skooqs e-learning platform for kids aged 5–18years to learn technology and creative skills,” Dami expressed in an interview with DT Africa.
“We train kids by giving them access to access to learning opportunities outside of children’s traditional classroom while leveraging videos, online classes, and one-on-one tutors. On technology courses like coding, design, game development as well as creative courses like music, photography, catering and so on.”
Skooqs is currently active in Nigeria with plans to expand to other African countries as it grows. Dami claims her product has benefitted over 100 children, positively changing curriculums in a few months of operation.
The edtech company has successfully raised grant funding through the WITI program by Standard chartered bank and won pitch competitions by SME100Africa sponsored by Softcom and a price from Injini Africa. Furthermore, Skooqs works closely with SME100Africa, Softcom, Injini, STEMeIn Standard Chartered Bank, EDC-Pan Atlantic, Shecluded, StartupLagos, etc.
“It’s been doing great so far, with multiple parents and schools indicating interest and also signing up. Also, in our closed community of Skooqs parents, we have a long list of skills and courses our parents would love to see on the platform in which their kids are eager to learn,” the designer added.
“We intend to give teenagers access to internship opportunities during their summer holiday, so they can have real work experience and applications of skills learnt. We also plan to support those who would like to venture into entrepreneurship with access to resources they might need.”
Individuals can get onto the site and start their learning journey; all they have to do is:
- visit www.skooqs.com,
- create your account/register,
- browser through the courses,
- pick a subscription plan
- start learning
- watch videos to attempt your quizzes and assessments.
- submit your final project
- get your certificate