Over 95 million school children in Sub Saharan Africa do not have classroom desks to work on. This impairs their academic development and performance as well as their ability to concentrate in class. Conventional wooden desks are expensive and cumbersome in situations where large classes are working in limited indoor spaces.
To address this problem, the Tutudesk Campaign provides portable lap desks, known as Tutudesks, to learners who do not have conventional classroom desks and would otherwise have to rest their books on the floor or against their classmate’s back. Tutudesks rest on the child’s lap, meaning that they have a surface to write on whether they are sitting on the floor or on a chair. They are lightweight, portable, durable, and made out of material that will not break or shatter if the desk is dropped. Because they are the children’s property and can be taken home with them, the Tutudesks also provide a much-needed work surface for homework purposes, since many of these children have no tables or work surfaces in their homes.
Tutudesks are manufactured in South Africa and distributed through partners such as World Vision. Funding is on a per project basis with funders funding a particular roll-out of desks featuring their messaging.
The Tutudesk Campaign Centre employs a lean structure, with a core team who are responsible for strategy, fundraising, and overseeing implementation. Implementation teams are brought in on a project basis for individual roll-outs of the desks rather than being employed on a full-time basis.
In the South African context, a database of schools visited by the Tutudesk Campaign has been created which records where there are desk shortages. Donors can then select the area where they want their desks distributed. Principals in that area are contacted and a handover date is established. The distribution team then load vans with the desks and oversees the handover at the schools.
At handover, the Tutudesk team explain how to use the desk, emphasizing that it is the property of the student rather than the school, so that the children can take their desks home for homework purposes. Schools are then re-visited about a year later to ascertain the use and impact of the desks.
Over one million desks have already been distributed in 24 countries by the Tutudesk Campaign, the aim being to distribute a further twenty million desks to as many children by 2020.
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BeneficiariesOtherLearners from poorly resourced schools. There is an emphasis on ensuring equality between girls and boys, to encourage motivation to stay in school specially among girls.
Aimed at learners from under-resourced schools across sub-Saharan Africa. Schools are visited to assess their requirements.
Over 1 million (including Lap Desks) distributed to over 1 million learners in 24 countries so far. 75 000 – 100 000 distributed specifically by the Tutudesk Campaign Centre since its launch in 2011.October, 2013
The Tutudesk Campaign Centre was established in 2011 and took over from the company formerly known as Lapdesks. The focus and approach shifted to a more NGO-orientated one. Growth has been significant, though more recently it has been impeded by "donor fatigue" in South Africa.
The Tutudesk Campaign is looking at new international markets in the developing world, specifically in India where the imminent roll-out of tablets in schools will mean that learners need desks on which to work. The aim is to distribute 20 million tablets by 2020 globally. Fundraising efforts in the USA and Europe are currently underway in order to finance this future growth.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Schools are re-visited a year after the desk handover to assess how the desks have been used and the impact they may have made. External evaluation has also been undertaken at least 24 months after handover to assess the impact of the program in the schools.Internal assessment performanceUser satisfactionAbility to reach the poorTeacher attendanceStudent attendanceTeacher retentionStudent retentionIncreased enrollmentCost effectiveness/value for moneyYes
Results of an independent field research survey of 426 teachers at 52 schools, representing over 16,000 learners who had been using a Tutudesk for at least 24 months, indicated that:
- 80% of teachers said handwriting easier to read
- 65% of teachers said homework delivery has improved
- 72% of teachers said students are able to write more during a lesson
- 69% of teachers said students’ concentration has improved
- 76% of teachers said students are more motivated
- 76% of teachers said the classroom is more organized
- 80% of teachers said they can interact better with their students