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Welcome to Silicon Overdrive!

Building Tomorrow – Empowering Education with AWS in Uganda

About the Customer

Building Tomorrow is a nonprofit organization that supports community-powered foundational learning in rural areas of Uganda, where more than 83% of learners in 3rd grade lack the ability to read, write, or perform basic math. Building Tomorrow gives these learners the basic skills to stay in school and unlock their full potential by delivering literacy and numeracy programming in classrooms and community spaces alongside local Community Education Volunteers.

In pursuit of their vision of literacy and numeracy for all children, Building Tomorrow developed a proof of concept for a distance learning platform which provides 10-15 minute numeracy lessons via interactive voice response (IVR) technology on basic 2G phones. The platform offers free, on-demand access to personalized numeracy lessons in one of several local languages. Through constant comprehension checks and their associated logical flows, learners participate in lessons tailored to their level of understanding and advance across the four basic math functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Building Tomorrow

The Challenge

Building Tomorrow embarked on the initiative for primary school-aged children in Uganda to develop a middleware system that acts as a dynamic logic engine. It connects their Salesforce database and a telecom company. The primary goal was to equip Building Tomorrow with the flexibility to build and customize their logic flows to cover enrolment, assessments, levels, and lessons in multiple languages. The solution systematically records and store all interactions, specifically managing student/user data within Salesforce, while facilitating smooth API communication with the telecom company.

Having already embarked on a PoC, they experienced challenges rolling it out in Uganda with consistent low latency, response times, and a good user experience. They required assistance implementing a smooth Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Application.

There was also a need to improve their applications and workloads further to align them with AWS best practices. As a result, they would build a secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure possible for their applications.

The Solution

Previously students had to be registered by an Admin user, the application now allows the student to register on the platform by dialling a USSD code on their mobile devices. This enables a guided assessment process to determine the student’s learning level and provide appropriate lessons and questions to commence and the sound files are played in the students chosen language.

Silicon Overdrive used varied strategies and relied on important AWS Services. They set up multi-AZ EC2 instances and a reliable Aurora MySQL database for high availability and scalability. They used AWS CloudFront, WAF, and Load Balancer to improve content delivery, increase security and balance incoming traffic.

For storage, they used AWS S3 for scalable and durable object storage, including media files associated with the website.

Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail was implemented for comprehensive monitoring, logging, and performance tracing. Lastly, they used AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Key Management Service (KMS), and Amazon GuardDuty and AWS Backup and AWS Simple Email Service (SES) to enforce stringent security controls, ensure data encryption, monitor compliance posture, detect threats, and facilitate secure email communication.Trend Micro Cloud One™ – Conformity was run.

The Outcome

Building Tomorrow reports significant improvements in both end-user (student) experience and platform administration. Building Tomorrow can register and onboard more students via a faster, student-initiated process. The improved student experience has increased active participation on the learning platform and the course completion rate. Initial feedback from students and parents indicates excitement for the interactive learning the platform provides.

Additionally, adjustments to the administrative elements of the platform have enabled Building Tomorrow to develop a more efficient and iterative workflow for curriculum development.

Building Tomorrow has a flexible infrastructure capable of seamlessly scaling to accommodate future growth and demands. The AWS services have enhanced security measures, safeguarded sensitive data, and effectively mitigated potential threats. This proactive approach ensures the integrity of their data and security.

“Silicon Overdrive has been an excellent partner in development of Building Tomorrow’s distance learning platform. From project initiation to post-project support, Silicon Overdrive has demonstrated a tremendous willingness and ability to understand our platform needs and a relentless determination in implementing solutions. We’re excited to utilize the platform to improve the numeracy skills of thousands of children in Uganda and Silicon Overdrive played an integral part in advancing that vision.” – Building Tomorrow Director of Innovation, Eric Smolen

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