In 2011, I was attending the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) event when the former US president Bill Clinton said to me, “Stay hungry”. I must admit, although I heard the words, it would take a few years for me to understand exactly what he meant. Back then, I was a senior at Luther College in Iowa.
During my years at UWC Red Cross Nordic in Norway, like all my fellow UWCers, I sure was hungry for change in the world. I would later realize that changing the world, while a great motivator, is not an individual task, but a collective social responsibility. What we can each do is allowing ourselves to be the best we can be, and creating the greatest impact we can in our environment, whether we are at work, at school, at home, or elsewhere.
Today I see that same hunger the former US president mentioned, in the eyes of my teammates at Lekòl. They all share a burning desire to ensure that the younger generation of Haitian students gets access to quality education. It is a privilege many members of my team lacked when they were growing up and attending school in Haiti.
We started Lekòl in May of 2017; it is an automated web and mobile testing tool that aims to improve students’ academic performance in Haiti by providing a quick and effective way for teachers to assess students’ understanding of any subject in real time. Through its automated test correction, trended and aggregated results statistics for classes and each student, courses can be more targeted for a maximum class outcome. We believe in order for students to learn effectively and succeed in their studies, their learning process has to involve more than just a classroom lecture. Our goal is to use information technology to bring innovative solutions to schools and other educational institutions in Haiti.
In May 2018, as part of our pilot project, we launched a national competition that allowed students to test their knowledge and understanding in the curriculum and academic subjects that are approved by Haiti’s Ministry of Education. More than 500 students from the capital, Port au Prince, and various provinces participated in the competition. Today, students all over the country are using the platform to prepare for their exams, test their knowledge and learn at their own pace. The tool gives them immediate feedback, and they get a visual presentation of their progress in any particular subject.
Lekòl’s dedicated team of developers invests countless of nights coding under circumstances that would simply make it impossible to work for most people. Although cross-country traveling and transportation can be challenging in Haiti, I am proud to say that no school is too remote for Lekòl’s service agents. Our team has not been discouraged by the discomforts of the country’s limited infrastructure. In fact, the challenges motivate us to keep innovating.
After a few years of offering technology consulting services to global fortune 500 companies and managing projects with Accenture and Equifax, Lekòl is now my ideal long term project. As the daughter of two hard-working farmers who sacrificed everything they could to make sure my siblings and I could attend school, I know what it cost for a child to get access to quality education in Haiti. While the opportunities I had have opened many doors for me, Lekòl has taken me on a path that simply keeps me hungry for more every day.