Oasis Mathare – reducing illiteracy and poverty through technology

Oasis Mathare (‘Oasis’) is a grassroots youth-led organisation that leverages technology to reduce illiteracy and poverty in Mathare slums in Nairobi, Kenya.

Douglas Mwangi, the founder of Oasis Mathare testing out virtual reality equipment that is part of the skills training offered at Oasis Mathare

Oasis aims to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and youth by providing access to safe spaces, quality education, skills and economic opportunities through the following programmes: 

  • Youth Economic Empowerment – Youth without work and no meaningful income are provided with ICT and entrepreneurship skills. They also learn digital skills such as coding, android and web development and graphic design, increasing their employability skills so they can earn a decent income from the skills developed. 
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Design (STEAMD) – this programme targets children with technology skills such as coding, robotics, and design to build their confidence, develop their critical thinking skills, innovation, and leadership skills. 
  • Safe Spaces for Early Child Development – Oasis provides a space for young children below 5 years to learn through play. This is also a form of free childcare that allows their mothers who are mostly young mothers to comfortably find work and earn an income.
  • TextSchool – this programme targets school-going children from grades 4 to 8 with limited internet and hardware accessibility to access learning materials via USSD/SMS for free. 
Brian Ahuga is a beneficiary of Oasis Mathare who went through software engineering skills training. He now trains other youth and has also been selected as a UX tester for Colmena app.

Douglas Mwangi is the Founder and Director of Oasis Mathare. Douglas grew up in Mathare slums himself, he was fortunate to get signed up for online classes and earned a diploma in graphic, web design and development – this inspired him to found Oasis. Douglas is an award-winning technologist, a social innovator and a professional with over 9 years’ experience working in NGOs and in social entrepreneurship. In 2018, he was nominated as a finalist of the Top 100 Young Influential Kenyans. In the same year he was also awarded the Queen’s Young Leader Award for his efforts in poverty and illiteracy reduction through accessible quality of education and skills training. Recently he was named Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert 2019/2020.

Oasis Mathare is among 14 other Youth Ventures Programme (YVP) grant recipients selected to receive project funding and technical support from QCT. Through the YVP, QCT’s support will go towards the expansion of its programmes to reach 3,000 children and youth in the next one year. The funding will also go towards developing the organisation in areas such as financial management and sustainability while growing its positive impact on children and youth in Mathare Slums. 

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