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“We offer one other place for knowledge”

In the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi, Jospin Hassan didn’t have access to the academic opportunities he was on the lookout for. So he decided to start out his own.

Hassan knew that the booming fields of knowledge science and artificial intelligence could provide his community with job opportunities and help solve local challenges. After securing a spot within the 2020-21 cohort of the Certificate Program in Computer and Data Science From the MIT Refugee Action Hub (ReACT), Hassan began sharing MIT knowledge and skills with other motivated learners in Dzaleka.

MIT ReACT is now Emerging Talent, a part of the Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) at MIT Open Learning. Currently serving its fifth cohort of worldwide learners, Emerging Talent's year-long certificate program includes high-quality computer science and data analytics courses in education, skilled skills development, experiential learning, apprenticeship, and networking opportunities with MIT's global community of innovators. Hassan's cohort honed their leadership skills through interactive online workshops with J-WEL and the 10-week online MIT Innovation Leadership Bootcamp.

“My biggest takeaway was networking, collaborating and learning from one another,” says Hassan.

Today Hassan's organization ADAI circle offers mentoring and academic programs for youth and other job seekers in Dzaleka refugee camp. The curriculum encourages hands-on learning and collaboration.

Launched in 2020, ADAI Circle goals to advertise job creation and reduce poverty in Malawi through technology and innovation. In addition to courses in data science, AI, software development and hardware design, their Innovation Hub provides web access to anyone in need.

Do something different in the neighborhood

Hassan first got here up with the thought for his organization in 2018 when he encountered an obstacle in his own educational journey. There were several programs within the Dzaleka refugee camp that taught learners how one can code web sites and mobile apps, but Hassan felt that the scope of those programs was limited.

“We had good equipment and web access,” he says, “but I desired to learn something latest.”

Together with co-founder Patrick Byamasu, Hassan and Byamasu set their sights on the longevity of AI and the way it could create more jobs for people of their community. “The world is changing every single day and data scientists are actually more in demand in various firms,” says Hassan. “For this reason, I made a decision to expand the knowledge I even have acquired and share it with my fellow refugees and the encompassing villages.”

ADAI Circle is inspired by Hassan's own experiences with courses, community and training opportunities for young talent at MIT. For example the MIT boot camps The model is now standard for the ADAI Circle’s annual hackathon. Hassan first introduced the hackathon to ADAI Circle students as a part of his final Emerging Talent Certificate Program experiential learning project.

The ADAI Circle’s annual hackathon is now an interactive – and effective – strategy to select students who will profit most from its programs. Local school curricula, Hassan says, may not provide enough academic challenge. “We can’t teach everyone and accommodate everyone because there are numerous schools,” says Hassan, “but we provide one other place for knowledge.”

The hackathon helps students develop skills in data science and robotics. Before they start coding, students must persuade ADAI Circle teachers that their designs are viable by answering questions comparable to: “What problem are you solving?” and “How will this help the community?” A community-oriented mindset is equally necessary within the curriculum.

In addition to the sensible skills Hassan learned at Emerging Talents, he leveraged this system's network to assist his community. Thanks to a social media connection Hassan made with the non-governmental organization Give Internet after certainly one of Emerging Talents' virtual events, Give Internet enabled web access for ADAI Circle.

Bridging the AI ​​gap to unfulfilled communities

In 2023, ADAI Circle partnered with one other MIT Open Learning program, Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education (RAISE), leading to a pilot test of a project-based AI curriculum for middle school students. The Responsible AI for computer-aided motion (RAICA) curriculum equipped ADAI Circle students with AI skills for chatbots and natural language processing.

“I liked this program since it was based on what we teach at the middle,” Hassan says of his organization’s mission to shut the AI ​​gap to succeed in unfulfilled communities.

The RAICA curriculum was designed by education experts from the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP Lab) and AI experts from the MIT Personal Robots Group and MIT App Inventor. The ADAI Circle teachers provided the RAICA team with detailed feedback on the pilot. During weekly meetings with Glenda Stump, education researcher at RAICA and J-WEL, and Angela Daniel, teacher development specialist at RAICA, teachers discussed their experiences, prepared for upcoming lessons, and translated learning materials in real time.

“We try to create a curriculum that’s global and accessible to students who typically have little or no access to technology,” says Mary Cate Gustafson-Quiett, curriculum design manager at STEP Lab and project manager for RAICA. “Working with ADAI and students in a refugee camp challenged us to design in a more culturally and technologically inclusive way.”

Gustafson-Quiett said ADAI Circle's curriculum feedback helped inform how RAICA provides teacher development resources to accommodate learning environments with limited web access. “They also uncovered places where our team’s Western ideals, particularly individualism, crept into classroom activities and conflicted with their more communal cultural beliefs,” she says.

Eager to introduce more AI resources developed by MIT, Hassan also shared MIT RAISEs AI Day Curricula with ADAI Circle teachers. The latest ChatGPT module gave students the chance to enhance their chatbot programming skills acquired within the RAICA module. Some of the advanced students take the initiative to make use of ChatGPT API to create their very own projects within the education field.

“We don’t wish to tell them what to do, we wish them to give you their very own ideas,” says Hassan.

Although ADAI Circle faces many challenges, Hassan says his team is tackling them separately. Last 12 months there was no power at their Innovation Hub, but they solved the issue. This 12 months they managed to get a stable web connection that’s certainly one of the fastest in Malawi. Next, they hope to secure more devices for his or her students, create more jobs and establish additional hubs throughout the community. The work isn’t done, but Hassan is starting to see the impact that ADAI Circle is having.

“Let those that wish to learn data science learn it,” says Hassan.


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