Updated May 06, 2019

Darakht-e Danesh Digital Library

darakhtdanesh.org

Lauryn Oates

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Free and open educational resources for Afghanistan

The DD Library currently houses more than 3,700 resources in over 360 subjects, in seven languages: Dari, Pashto, English, and the Afghan minority languages of Nooristani, Uzbeki, Munji and Swaji (in fact, we are the first website EVER in the Munji language!). The Library runs in 17 teacher colleges in Afghanistan, at the Ministry of Education, and in numerous other schools and institutions in ...
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The DD Library currently houses more than 3,700 resources in over 360 subjects, in seven languages: Dari, Pashto, English, and the Afghan minority languages of Nooristani, Uzbeki, Munji and Swaji (in fact, we are the first website EVER in the Munji language!). The Library runs in 17 teacher colleges in Afghanistan, at the Ministry of Education, and in numerous other schools and institutions in both its online version and the offline version, DDL Lite. Besides teachers, the Library is widely used by people from all walks of life, and the collection is in continuous expansion in response to their demand for new topics. The resources are translated or adapted from English OER by bilingual volunteers in Afghanistan and in the diaspora who have specialized subject knowledge. We also have content sharing agreements with several partner institutions. Users can also submit their own content, so that teachers can share useful materials they've developed with other teachers. All resources are professionally edited and designed. This volunteer-powered system has created a collection that would otherwise have cost thousands of dollars to develop. As at 03/28/19, the library was visited 114,784 times in the last 30 days alone. At almost any given moment, a teacher is downloading one of our resources.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

The Library went live in 2014, initially focusing on developing high quality content. After a couple of years, we switched to focus on attracting users and enabling widespread access. We are now ready to reach greater numbers and add new features.
Registered in Afghanistanin Afghanistan

Focus Areas:

Education, Digital Inclusion & Connectivity and Crowdsourcing and Open Source

Education, Digital Inclusion & Connectivity and Crowdsourcing and Open SourceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Afghanistan

AfghanistanSEE LESS

101,100
Lives Impacted to Date
2
Key Partners
1
Country Implemented In
100,000
Customers
5
Employees
$500,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

In Afghanistan, 200,000 teachers are trying to teach under challenging circumstances: no libraries or science labs, sometimes no textbooks, and often no formal training; in fact, many teachers have no post-secondary at all. It can be difficult to find local language quality resources for learning and teaching, and many teachers have limited access to information on the subjects they teach. As a result, they lack confidence and rely on rote learning, and students have poor learning outcomes.

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Solution

We are a multilingual digital repository of more than 3,500 open educational resources including lessons, exercises, experiments, backgrounders, work books, curricula, full texts such as children's stories and other resources for Afghan teachers to develop their knowledge on a subject or use in their classrooms, as well as general information on a range of subjects, in Afghan languages.

Target Beneficiaries

Darakht-e Danesh -- which means "knowledge tree" in Dari -- was created for teachers, students, and anyone with a curious mind who wants to learn more on a particular subject. We try to make the path to knowledge shorter for people who can't easily access traditional sources of information, like university, college, school, the Internet, or a library. We put information in their hands, and are reaching individuals in even the most remote and insecure parts of Afghanistan through innovative tech.

Mission and Vision

The Darakht-e Danesh Library aims to increase access to quality resources for Afghan educators, encourage teachers to consult a wide variety of resources in their practice, to use these tools to adapt their own, and to share their own resources with other teachers through this open-source collection. We believe that digitalization can make more out of less by pooling materials, and nurtures teachers' independent learning. In turn, this leads to meaningful classroom learning by their students.

Competitive Advantage

We have worked hard to create and grow a sizeable collection of high quality learning materials in local languages, including minority languages that are not standardized and have no online presence yet. At the same time, we innovated around access challenges, finding ways for people in areas without Internet connectivity to use the Library, by installing DDL Lite, the offline version of the library on networked computer labs that can be periodically synched with the main server through mobile-based 4G connections. Our staff travel throughout Afghanistan to run workshops that teach teachers, student teachers, and teacher college faculty how to use the library, how to use OER in teaching, and even how to make their own OER. We have taken best practice from the OER world and localized it for the unique context in which we work, harnessing the power of OER to meet the challenges facing Afghanistan's education sector. Balancing focus on usability, content and access is our secret sauce!

Planned Goals and Milestones

Our next dream is to add full courses to the library platform in the form of MOOCs. In addition, we hope to: create and add more video lessons; to create and add more content in minority languages; to share our code (which is open) for replication in other multilingual countries and identify partners in 1-2 new countries; to work with educators, writers and illustrators on content creation in Afghanistan; and as always, to grow our numbers of users.
Funding Goal1,000,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,000,000
Recruit1 developer, 1 development manager, 3 curriculum writers, 1 editor, 3 linguists
New FeatureAdding MOOCs courseware to the platform

The Team Behind the Innovation

We are a team of Afghans, Canadians and Afghan-Canadians who have brought to bare our collective expertise together in education and learning materials design, coding and digital literacy, open education and OER, and impact assessment, along with our knowledge and experience of working in Afghanistan's unique implementation environment, and our passion for creative solutions to the country's development challenges.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Dec 2018
Lives Impacted
100,000
Date Unknown
Funds RaisedPENDING
Unknown Amount
Date Unknown
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Afghanistan