The foundation for a SMART Community

The context for our SMART Community design is putting ‘wise and compassionate living and leadership’ at the centre of each child's education. Using the I - C.A.R.E. Action Leadership model (Integrity, Commitment, Awareness, Responsibility, and Empathy), each child learns key leadership and changemaker skills. Through this process, each child feels that their life is meaningful and contributory. The approach to learning is project based learning and thus highly experiential and grounded in real issues that the children face.

In this way, every enso school acts as a catalyst for sustainability and social harmony in its community. As well as the vital I - C.A.R.E.  qualities of heart, children develop:

  • An appreciation for cultural differences
  • An ability to understand and consider multiple perspectives
  • Respect for other genders, religions, nationalities, tribes
  • Tolerance for different view points
  • Comfort with ambiguity and change
  • An understanding of locally and globally significant issues and feeling part of the solution
  • A strong sense of feeling empowered to make a difference

There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living. The other should teach us how to live. - John Adams -

The SMART Community’s key components

    • Edtech

    • Edtech

      Leveraging the benefits of technology, children spend an hour per day using tablet computers. The tablets are supplied with literacy, numeracy, science, and English apps including  Mwabu, OneBillion, The Khan Academy, Opportunity Education, and particularly our Consortium Partner Maths Whizz. All are currently being used successfully in Africa. Also part of our edtech-based curriculum are Skype in the Classroom and the School in the Cloud for further academic work and global citizenship learning. Broadband internet is supplied to the schools and the local community via Consortium Partner Avanti satellite dishes. 

    • Nutrition

    • Nutrition

      School meals are a highly effective means of providing children with critical nutrition for their health and growth. Enso schools base their school meals on the food grown in their own climate smart school gardens.  As part of their changemaker curriculum, the pupils themselves operate these  food gardens and rainwater harvesting. We have two world class consulting partners: The Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) which has produced extraordinary climate smart agricultural initiatives, including the famed Loess Plateau project with the World Bank;  and Growing Power, championed by Michelle Obama. 

    • Healthcare, including WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)

    • Healthcare, including WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)

      Our Consortium Partner Access Afya's Healthy Schools programme provides termly health checks, a full health report for parents, de-worming and other vital healthcare interventions. Preventive healthcare is key: each school retails hygiene products: Unilever soap, toothpaste, and detergents. We also sell bottled branded water in 5L, 2.5L  and 1L reusable bottles with an approach based on the IFC's blueprint. 

    • Empowering Women and Girls

    • Empowering Women and Girls

      Supporting such initiatives as the Clinton Global Initiative’s “No Ceilings”, we pay particular attention to girls’ enrollment and retention e.g. through Girls Clubs and access to sanitation for pubescent girls. Our retail operations (solar, water, hygiene and technology products) are primarily staffed by women. They are empowered both through extensive business and leadership training,  and also through having the autonomy to build out their own franchises.

    • Solar Energy

    • Solar Energy

      Schools are a proven and effective approach to solar distribution. As well as the schools’ own energy needs being met through solar energy, each school ground includes a retail outlet staffed by women - primarily  mothers of the schools’ own children -  trained in solar energy micro-enterprise. They  sell pay-as-you-go solar systems to the local community. Our Consortium Partner BBOXX, a fast growing solar engineering company which already operates successfully in East Africa and elsewhere, provides the hardware, and also considerable software expertise through its CRM.

    • Social Cohesion

    • Social Cohesion

      An important part of our intention is building cohesive, harmonious, and resilient communities. As we build our first schools, our aim is for a minimum of 5% of the children from each catchment area to attend the school, and to develop strong social and economic relationships with parents and other local adults through food, water, enterprise, and energy. The saleswomen's training includes the  I - C.A.R.E Action Leadership programme to multiply the social impact of their relationship with the community. 

    • Recruitment and Training

    • Recruitment and Training

      The enso approach is to recruit and train our own teachers and managers, using our own methodology. As educators, it is our experience that the most important quality for a teacher is deeply caring about their students, and strong commitment to having them learn and develop as human beings. Those qualities are key in our selection criteria. For teaching staff, because much of the subject matter teaching is done through edtech, the role of the teachers is more one of mentors and coaches. They are there to 'hold the space' for learning through inspiring, encouraging, and supporting their students. 

    • Construction

    • Construction

      Highly scalable building design is an important success factor. We are partnered with DesignPartnership, a Kenyan architectural firm, which also designed the new M-PESA Academy, created by the Safaricom Foundation. Our buildings are made of light gauge steel and built by Techno Construct with FRAMECAD technology. This allows for rapid construction, low environmental impact, and high resilience to physical shocks such as earth tremors.

    • Big Data and Payment Technology

    • Big Data and Payment Technology

      Throughout, we leverage big data to continually evaluate and maximise impact in each area. Parents pay for enso's services using mobile pay-as-you-go systems, such as MPESA, which are successfully used by our consortium partners and also other school chains in Africa (e.g. Omega Schools and Bridge International Academies).

Enso’s vision

We are developing the groundwork for our first SMART Communities in Kenya, intending to develop a highly impactful and scalable model. From there, we will expand throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

International interest in the EnSo model

  • WAFA Awards, Kuala Lumpur, October 2015
  • Oxford University Said Business School, Skoll Foundation, February 2016
  • Seed and Chips International Summit, Milan, May 2016
  • Oxford Africa Conference, UK, May 2016
  • EdtechX Europe, London, June 2016
  • The Africa Business Angel Forum, September 2016
  • Africa Impact Investing Leaders Forum, October 2016
  • BoP Convention, Singapore 2016
  • EdtechX Asia, Singapore, November 2016
  • WAFA Awards, Beijing December 2016