FoondaMate set to revolutionise education in South Africa

FoondaMate has developed a life-changing solution for learners in grades 10 to 12 who struggle to download educational information or past papers from the internet. Compounding the problem is a lack of facilities at schools, which makes printing study materials, for example, nearly impossible.

FoondaMate was developed by Dacod Magagula, who grew up in Mbombela, and Tao Boyle, who grew up in Cape Town.

“For many South African learners, a lack of access to the internet is a massive concern,” says  Magagula. “The financial commitments associated with owning a computer, coupled with the excessive cost of data, have left many students at a disadvantage.

“Now, with FoondaMate, all a student needs is a smart phone with a small amount of data to access a world of information.”

Use of the service is free.

FoondaMate creates AI-powered WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger chat bots that deliver study notes, research information, past papers and even solve algebraic equations in plain text format. And it does all of this in less than a minute.

“It’s like having a 24/7 study buddy on your phone,” says Magagula.

“Most learners are already using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger on their phones,” says Boyle. “We’re building on top of the apps they already use and turning them into educational tools.”

Over the past year, FoondaMate has seen over 350 000 students using its chat bots.

Magagula says, “We’ve seen that students are tired of spending their time figuring out how to get study materials. They want to spend most of their time studying. FoondaMate helps students spend less time and money on finding resources, and more time actually studying.”

For teachers, the platform offers an easy way to teach students research skills, set homework assignments and ensure their learners get help preparing for tests.

The service works on a single phone number or via the Facebook page @foondamate.

Students wishing to set up a profile should simply WhatsApp the word “Hello” to 060 070 3213, answer a few questions about themselves, and start asking questions. If they want to use the Facebook Messenger version they should just DM @foondamate on Facebook Messenger.

FoondaMate helps learners in all 11 of South Africa’s official languages, plus Shona.

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