For the first time in everyone’s living history, including the young people that populate the hallways of the Africa Digital Media Institute, the whole world is united in fighting a common cause, namely the Corona Virus pandemic, or COVID-19. The Government of Kenya ordered all learning institutions to close by 20th March, and so ADMI closed its doors to students on that Friday, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. We have since been transitioning to an online learning based institution. As an organization that believes strongly in the power of digital media, and the adaptability of African youth, this has been a true test of our resilience.
It was a Sunday when the Directive was announced, and ADMI and ADMF jumped into action to come up with an action plan that would be as least disruptive as possible to the young people that come to ADMI every day to receive world-class education as part of a thriving community. First we had to inform all students that there would be no physical classes from the next Friday, and also share with them the measures in place to allow them to continue with their learning experience, albeit at a distance. For several years already ADMI has been using Google Classroom to share class materials, presentations, extra reading, and assignments, and to allow students to interact with each other and with members of faculty. We therefore took the opportunity to expand our use of this tool, and the full suite of Google functions, with Google Hangouts allowing for screen sharing and classroom-style presentations, amongst others.
One common issue in Kenya is the lack of reliability of internet infrastructure, which can be unpredictably disruptive to students trying their best to learn from home, and teachers trying to teach from home. This calls for a lot of patience and also flexibility, with our teaching staff taking the time to understand individual students’ various predicaments, and helping those facing the biggest obstacles to not be left behind.
As a Foundation we have also had to adapt. All of our team is now working from home, and fully adhering to social distancing guidelines. This also calls for us to use technology even more than usual to communicate, and to share work and ideas. With the extraordinary position that ADMI and ADMF are put in, as is almost everyone else involved in education and non-profit work across the world, an immense amount of flexibility and adaptability is required, to constantly adjust to a rapidly changing environment. Our priority remains meeting the most pressing needs of young African creatives, and we will adjust our work as necessary to continue in this pursuit.