The number of forcibly displaced persons around the world currently stands at around 68.5 million. Europe, in particular, has seen a rapid influx of migrants since 2015, posing a host of opportunities but also new challenges in relatively uncharted territory. Tech startups across the world are taking those very challenges and working to solve them with new and innovative ideas. One such startup is Funzi, a for-profit social enterprise that uses the power of mobile phones to give migrants access to skills to enable them to build better livelihoods, contribute to their new communities, and work towards a resolution to the refugee crisis.
Funzi is a Finnish startup that creates series of learning packages designed to help refugees build new lives in Finland. These learning packages include information courses for refugees settling into the country, livelihood courses to help improve learners’ employability and entrepreneurial skills, and courses that teach refugees how to become better global citizens and live more sustainable lives. And the icing on the cake? Funzi does all of this through mobile technology.
“The classic education system is ill equipped to handle the change in our world,” says Aape Pohjavirta, co-founder of Funzi. “Mobile is the great equalizer. Using its power to give everyone access to quality education and learning is a global game changer.”
A secondary aspect of Funzi’s work is to “funzify” the learning content through gamification to make learning not only easily accessible on mobile devices but also fun. Currently working with UN Systems, NGOs, public organizations and private sector enterprises, Funzi now has nearly six million users, mainly from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
“Funzi was founded to use the power of mobile to give everyone on our planet access to skills that enables them to have a better livelihood . . .” says Pohjavirta. “We want to continue helping communities and governments reach all UN SDGs well before 2030.”