SoE and the KKC effect

Together with Seeds of Empowerment (SoE) – a non-profit organisation – Good Work Foundation (GWF) experimented with the SMILE Program (Stanford mobile inquiry-based learning environment) at the Hazyview campus for five days late in July.

To read Kate’s SMILE feedback blog that was published shortly after the workshops, click here. This was (and is) “edutech” at its best.

What follows is a recent article by Neha Taleja, Executive Director of SoE, who facilitated those initial sessions:

“Folks say it takes a village to raise a child, but the Seeds of Empowerment (SoE) project with Good Work Foundation (GWF) in Hazyview Digital Learning Center (HDLC) represented a new transformational adage – it takes an entire community to uplift a generation!

The work at HDLC involves the entire community – the leadership, the teachers at the center, the students from the public schools, the public school teachers, educators and staff members at HDLC. Our goals for the pilot were to develop a deep understanding of the challenges, the culture and introduce digital learning tools and innovative pedagogies contextualized to address the needs of the community. HDLC does a fantastic job of bridging the digital divide by introducing several flipped learning methods through an after school program. SoE’s role in this project entails developing capacity through teacher empowerment, developing critical thinking, problem solving and creative writing skills through its SMILE (Stanford mobile inquiry-based learning environment) and 1001 Stories program.

SoE adopts program cohesion ratio method which considers situational specificity, eco-systematic sensitivity, theoretical applicability, structural integrity, self-sustainability and scalability metrics to evaluate the success of the project. GWF-SoE pilot project at HDLC was evaluated with a positive score and the delta of progress will be monitored during several phases of the project. The key reason why we were able to kick start this project with success is because of the powerful KKC effect.

The first K – Karl Kornolf

Thanks to Karl Kornolf, SoE team (Suzanna Sim and I) got the opportunity to work with GWF to implement SMILE – Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment with learners at HDLC. Karl was the first one to envision that innovative pedagogical methods such as SMILE would be incremental in enhancing learning experiences and developing critical thinking and problem solving skills of children in Hazyview. His generous support and encouragement jump started the project with HDLC. Thanks Karl!

Our second K – Kate Groch

Kate Groch’s vision, CEO of GWF, to empower underserved communities in South Africa by providing access to the digital age tools and skills is revolutionary. The beautiful drive from Nelspruit boutique airport to get to Hazyview brings you to HDLC, a model representation 21st century learning center. She helped our team understand the contextual challenges, the concurrent programs that are helping to address the challenges and shared her ideas of how SMILE can be effectively integrated within the existing structure and the ingredients we need to make the program self-sustaining. Thank you Kate!

The third K – ‘C’rispen

Crispen, the head teacher at HDLC is the star of the program. He is deeply invested in helping students learn, retain and apply what they learn. His effective communication, class management style, engaging personality and passion for teaching helped us in integrating the immersive inquiry based learning activities at the center through SMILE. Without Crispen’s empowerment efforts, students would not be as engaged and involved in their learning as they are with SMILE now. Thank you Crispen for helping children SMILE!

Reach out to me to get more insights on SMILE at