Updated Apr 01, 2019

Dost Education

Dost Education is a nonprofit that empowers parents of any literacy level to take charge of their child's education.

https://www.dosteducation.com/

Sneha Sheth

Send Message

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

In 2017, Dost launched in India, which has an urgent need for high quality early childhood education. From 300 users, Dost has impacted over 30,000 parents through a network of Dost Champions and partnerships with schools, companies and NGOs.

Registered as a Non-Profit in United States.

Focus Areas:

Education, Gender and Technology

Education, Gender and TechnologySEE LESS

Implemented In:

India

IndiaSEE LESS

1
Country Implemented In
30,000
Customers
6
Employee
$400,000
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding
?

Problem

Low-income parents are motivated to give their children the best education, but struggle to do so, particularly during the early years. Their children enter primary school behind and never have a chance to catch up. The scale of the problem is enormous, especially in India, where there are 150 million illiterate women and by 5th grade, only half of children can read at a 2nd grade level.

}

Solution

Dost’s program solves everyday parent problems and nudges them to promote cognitive development, socio-emotional skills, and school preparedness. The program consists of 1 minute podcasts delivered via phone calls four times a week (“phonecasts”), a parent counseling hotline, and community-based workshops. Digital plus offline support in local languages allows us to reach parents right where they are and build awareness, empowerment, and motivation to take charge of their child’s early learning.

Target Beneficiaries

Our end beneficiaries are children whose mothers have usually attained a 7th grade education or less and whose households earn $5-10 a day. Our primary users - mothers - tell us that Dost serves as a daily reminder, cheerleader, and idea bank on how to engage with their children in positive, educational ways. Our “customers” are often large NGOs with an existing operations and distribution network to low-income families, who have a shared aim of increasing access to early literacy curriculum.

Mission and Vision

Dost Education is innovating to get every child school ready in India. By putting parents at the center of early childhood development, our vision is to unlock every child’s full potential, regardless of where they were born. Our first mobile product puts parents at the center of their child’s early learning, a period when 90% of brain development occurs. Currently launched in India, Dost reached 10,000 families in its first year and aims to turn 1 million homes into learning labs by 2020.

Innovation Description

Dost, or “Friend” in multiple languages, is a mobile platform that helps low-income moms in developing countries engage in their child’s education. Through short, prerecorded voice messages delivered via a call to feature mobile phones, Dost offers parents a low-cost and highly scalable approach to access the knowledge they crave and unleash their child’s potential. The Dost web platform allows the Dost team to add new users and user attributes (i.e. user phone number, preferred time for call, region), assign users to a content module, and automate call deployment. This platform makes it possible for Dost to scale quickly and add new users daily.

Competitive Advantage

We consider most “competitors” as peers or allies, and some are even partners. Other Indian non-profit organizations (i.e. Key Education Foundation, ToyBank, Saarthi, Saajha and Meraki) also work on parent support and/or the early childhood education space. These organizations provide support through community efforts or in-school programming. Dost is unique in its ability to develop low-cost digital experiences that give parents a joyful, convenient and play-based approach to promoting early learning at home. Moms love that Dost conveniently fits into their daily routine. Dost works because it pairs daily digital support with real, human connection. We are the only organization that designs products and services for a less literate parent (especially mothers).

Planned Goals and Milestones

By 2021, we will scale our “phonecast” product to 1 million families, work with researchers to refine the model for deeper impact, and innovate on new, rich-media prototypes for low-income families who are increasingly gaining smartphone access. We are also training an AI model to transcribe and classify hotline voicemails to understand parent requests in real time, automate issue resolution, and get the right hotline counselor to the right user ASAP. AI will reduce counseling costs by ~2/3rds.
Recruit1 operations, 1 engineering, 2 sales
New FeatureCreate rich-media content for low-income families to be accessed via smartphone access.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Dost was co-founded by Sneha Sheth (CEO) and Sindhuja Jeyabal (CTO) in 2015 when they were graduate students at UC Berkeley. Upon graduation, they were accepted as a nonprofit into Y Combinator and funded by the Mulago Foundation in 2017. Dost's team is a mix of teachers, engineers, and entrepreneurs who share a passion to get all kids ready for school.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestones

Apr 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
TITLEApplicant
Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
TITLEDost Education recognized as one of three winners of the Next Billion Prize 2019
Feb 2019
In the News
TITLEFour Indian Education Tech Startus To Compete for Next Billion EdTech Prize
Sep 2016
New Country Implemented In
India
Jul 2016
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Unitus Seed Fund StartEdu4 winner
TITLEUnitus Seed Fund StartEdu4 winner
Jul 2016
Created