Can Mobile, Non-Formal Learning Address Sustainable Development Goals?

Can Mobile, Non-Formal Learning Address Sustainable Development Goals?

By Willice Onyango

For most youth in developing countries, formal education is costly, inaccessible, exclusive, and based on Western educational systems. Formal education systems are limited in their ability to adapt to the needs of underprivileged students, only leaving these youth further marginalized. This falls short of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is to provide equitable and inclusive quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all. With 1.8 billion youth around the world who currently do not have access to education, a unique and accessible learning platform has the potential to empower so many.

By leveraging innovation and new technology, UN-Habitat, Eliademy and other key partners have developed Eminus Academy to address the need for an inclusive, affordable, and adaptable educational platform. Eminus Academy is a unique program which uses online e-learning courses as a platform. By integrating technology, internet based curriculum, and applied empirical learning, a virtual global classroom using state of the art digital media provides free, non-formal education to youth that do not have access to education due to a number of barriers.

Samsung C&T has provided Galaxy tablets to selected participating youths to support the Eminus Academy initiative. The use of mobile devices is also becoming common and ubiquitous in developing countries which will increase the accessibility of Eminus Academy for youth.

The e-courses are designed with collaborative learning methods in mind, requiring students to engage in online discussions, participate in online group projects, and attend real-time virtual lectures and presentations. Students are also instructed to upload and share assignments as well as engage in dialogue amongst themselves, thereby sharing experiences, successes, and challenges. Each week students are assigned an activity requiring them to engage with their community and work toward applying their new knowledge to community projects. On-going courses include; marketing and e-marketing, community mapping and digital storytelling, and urban agriculture: seeds to market. The program consists of 4 social enterprise courses and 4 business courses. In order to successfully complete the program and earn a certificate, students must complete a total of 4 courses with a minimum of one course from each of the two branches. Each course is composed of 10 modules and runs over a period of 13 weeks. Students who successfully complete the program will gain the skills necessary to increase the quality of their livelihoods as well as create and operate socially responsible enterprises that will contribute to the development of their communities.

Upon completion of the program, Eminus Academy awards graduates a certificate of achievement by UN-Habitat and its partners. The certificate increases opportunities for youth who seek to contribute to the sustainable and equitable development of their communities and their countries.

Cherie Enns is an Associate Professor at University of Frasier Valley and Program Manager, of Eminus Academy(

Willice Onyango is the Chaiperson of International Youth Council of Kenya and Facilitator at Eminus Academy(@owillice)

Image showing Eminus Academy graduates holding granted certificates

Learn more about PreScouter at

Never miss an insight

Get insights delivered right to your inbox

More of Our Insights & Work

Never miss an insight

Get insights delivered right to your inbox

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter.

Too many subscribe attempts for this email address.