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How Digify Africa reaches 32,000 online learners with a WhatsApp chatbot

WhatsApp Chatbots
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Digify Africa is an award-winning youth-led digital education organization based in South Africa. Their goal is to educate young people in Africa and around the world about digitalization and social media. For this purpose, they have developed several WhatsApp chatbots that make digital education more accessible.

How can I do online banking on my phone? What's the best way to market my company on social media? Understanding and being able to navigate the digital world is already a critical life skill, and will only become more important in the future. But how can we teach these skills, especially to young people with less resources? That's exactly what Digify Africa wants to do — with WhatsApp chatbots! And the NGO is very successful. One of their chatbots has won the Supersonic New Gen Social Media & Digital Award for most innovative learning app.

Gavin Weale, CEO and founder of Digify Africa explains, how the organization works with WhatsApp chatbots in education, and why the messaging app is critical to the organization's success.

Why is Digify Africa using a WhatsApp chatbot for education?

Digify Africa was founded in 2014, with a clear goal: to help young people in Africa to develop digital skills in order to gain employment and grow businesses in the digital economy. Gavin Weale, the CEO and founder of the organization, believes that it's crucial to make access to digital education across the continent as easy as possible. That's why Digify Africa, supported by different partnerships and organizations, provides free education.

Digify Africa Website
Digify Africa teaches young people digital skills. (Source: Digify Africa)

In the past decade, this education came through face-to-face boot camps, workshops, and trainings. In times of accelerated e-learning, focusing on face-to-face education to teach digital literacy might seem odd. However, the digitalization across Africa has been slower than in the rest of the world. Most learners only have access to internet on their phones, where it's not as easy to provide an immersive and sophisticated experience. In addition, mobile data is expensive in many African countries.

At the same time, it's clear for Digify Africa that e-learning allows them to reach more people, which is why they were looking for creative ways to reach learners on digital platforms. As internet access is limited and expensive, trying to direct learners to a new website or to download an app was an additional barrier. That's why Digify Africa focused on social media platforms to make it as easy as possible for anybody to participate in their programs. "We wanted to reach learners on platforms where they were already present", says Gavin Weale. That's why Digify Africa decided to use WhatsApp.

In South Africa, WhatsApp is one of the most used messenger apps. On average, 93.2% of South Africans use the green messenger app. So, users were already very familiar with the platform, and didn't require additional training, another plus for making education more accessible. Therefore, WhatsApp was the obvious choice for Digify Africa.