About the Project
This project is one of the 2020 WISE Awards finalists.
Dɛngbɛ Bide mobilizes indigenous communities in Cameroon to create homegrown preschool programs in their local language and style. We serve the Baka, an indigenous forager people whose identity is deeply connected to a disappearing forest. A Baka father said his daughter needs both forest-based and school-based educations to thrive, but that pursuing them is like “chasing two rabbits at once” – if you try, you will lose both.
Dɛngbɛ Bide means “Two Rabbits” in Baka, and we bring both “rabbits” within children’s reach. Dɛngbɛ Bide is co-implemented by US-based nonprofit Two Rabbits and Cameroon-based nonprofit ASTRADHE. Our method has three pillars. First, we engage community members to create songs, stories, and games in the Baka language. Second, we record our curriculum onto crank- and solar-powered mp3 players. Third, we train local youth to serve as teachers, using the recordings to bring learning to life despite their own low literacy levels.
Dɛngbɛ Bide has served 1,400 children and empowered 60 teachers in 20 villages to date for under $50/child/year. Our learners have skills that are 33% higher in literacy, 22% in math, and 32% in motor skills than non-participating children. Ninety percent of Dɛngbɛ Bide teachers meet international instructional quality standards, and caregivers of participating children have greater cultural pride and confidence in their children’s learning abilities.
With our curriculum complete, scale is as simple as training and equipping youth in countless villages with mp3 devices. Around the world, indigenous, refugee, and minority children are caught between worlds and must master both home and host educations. Our feasibility test in a Myanmar displacement camp indicates Dɛngbɛ Bide’s effectiveness among children in crisis. We have proven it is possible to bring high-quality, low-cost, culturally affirming education to children on the margins of society, and we are prepared to expand to new contexts.