The Tutudesk Campaign

The Tutudesk Campaign provides durable plastic lap desks, known as Tutudesks, to learners in disadvantaged schools across sub-Saharan Africa who do not have access to conventional classroom desks to work on.
2011South Africa

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
School supportThe Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign CentrePrimaryLower secondaryUpper secondary

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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