Simbi Foundation was designed to provide support for underserved and refugee communities who face challenges accessing quality education.
Identifying lack of electricity, resources, and technology as principal barriers, Simbi Foundation was founded in 2015 to collaborate with our partner communities in Uganda and create solar-powered, digital education initiatives.
Since then, we are proud of the incredible progress we have made in collaboration with our partner communities.
We’re passionate about ensuring all who seek education can access quality education. Here’s the progress we’ve made since we began our work in 2016.
We deploy educational infrastructure and software to those who need it the most.
We co-create solutions with our community partners.
We know that for communities to maintain sustainable access to education, they must have full ownership of the services installed. We work with the communities to develop every initiative, and local coordinators run training programs which support local teachers with the maintenance and integration of technology into their existing teaching goals and learning outcomes.
The result? Community members will not have to rely on long-term Simbi Foundation support and can instead pave their own way forwards, boosting self-reliance.
Our solutions are solar-powered, low-cost, and generate revenue for the community.
Housing a device-charging service, the BrightBox Macro allows community members to plug in their devices and charge them at a nominal cost, generating revenue for the community and ensuring community ownership and project sustainability.
Our approach is simbiotic and collaborative.
Simbi•osis: the mutually-beneficial relationship between different organisms, people, or groups.
Simbi Foundation is rooted in a symbiotic approach that sees communities learning from each other and cooperating to make positive change. Likewise, Simbi reading software combines reading and listening to spark literacy gains.
This value underlines our Think Tank and research process. Researchers have the opportunity to enhance their own research skills all while vertically-integrating their research into Simbi Foundation initiatives, developing mutual positive impact for people around the world.
Every decision is informed by robust research.
Simbi Foundation initiatives are not only designed to respond directly to community needs, but are also informed by our Think Tank team of leading academics and researchers from a vast range of fields of study.
Learn more about our Think Tank.
Sustainability is at the core of what we do.
Not only do BrightBox Macros use solar charging to generate lasting income for the community, but all Simbi Foundation projects also have a five-year timeframe.
This is ensured by a robust teacher technology training program in which teachers recieve training in how to integrate BrightBox technology and Simbi Learn Cloud into their existing teaching goals.
This process also sees teachers giving technology training to other local teachers in the area, enabling full community ownership of the infrastrucutre, the project to run sustainability, and a boost in community self-reliance.
Other sustainability measures that we take include supporting the local community with construction and installation employment during BrightBox installs, and supporting Ugandan and Indian businesses with provide the solar panels, the shipping containers, and other components of our BrightBoxes.
Symbiosis is also crucial in our Expeditions. We work with our partner communities on the ground to make positive changes to the world around them and in their own academic and professional goals.
We strongly believe that by integrating symbiosis and collaboration into all of our processes, we can tackle the barriers to access to education.
Where we work.
Learn more about our operations.
Simbi Foundation is a research-led, non-profit organization that provides education infrastructure for our partner refugee and low-income communities in Uganda and India.
How do you fund your projects?
We at Simbi Foundation use multiple methods for compiling funding for our projects. We host public fundraising events, we conduct other fundraising through Expeditions and the BMO Vancouver Marathon, we gratefully receive donations from our supporters, and we apply to granting opportunities to support our ongoing costs.
Want to find out more? Read our blog post about how an NGO makes money!
How do you choose the communities you partner with?
The process we use to partner with communities varies from community to community. In Refugee Settlements in Uganda, we select partner schools in consultation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), who identify priority schools most in need of support. These identifications are based wholly on community needs.
For remote communities, we engage in a collaborative conversation with any high-population school that faces challenges related to lack of textbooks, other school resources, and internet and technology access. This time of discussion identifies the necessary administrative and operational systems of the school, the school’s ability to take on Simbi Foundation technology, and the optimal ways in which we can adapt our solutions to best meet the school’s needs and requests.
How much control do partner communities have over the projects implemented?
Our partner school communities have direct control over implemented Simbi Foundation projects. Every one of our programs begins with Simbi Foundation-directed needs assessments, focus groups, community discussions, and feedback and request collection. This data then directly informs our program design, and what we include in our solar-powered Learning Labs.
We also ensure that teachers and other school community leaders receive in-depth training sessions on how to use the Simbi Foundation technology, how to integrate it into their existing teaching goals and learning outcomes, and how to maintain and troubleshoot it. Why? Because it allows the community to have lasting control over the infrastructure without need for constant external direction.