Joel Mwale
Joel Mwale

A young Kenyan social entrepreneur might have solved one of the conundrums of the Facebook generation – how to stop social media getting in the way of studying.

Joel Mwale, a 20-year-old who never completed his own education, has realised the answer is to stop trying to push social media away, and instead embrace it.

More than one million people around the world seem to agree with him, because in the five weeks since his website Gigavia.com went live, they have signed up as users.

Teachers and schools have always faced the problem of stopping students using social media in class, seeing it as a distraction.

But they also know that teenagers are addicted to chatting to each other online.

His website allows schools and teachers to be part of it, so you can sign into class-specific areas of the site where academic materials can be shared.

There is a personal library section where you can share books at a class level, and there is a section for mentoring.

This is all on the same site which you can also use for all the usual personal social media chats and sharing with friends.

Although he wants his idea to be taken up in East Africa, his ambition is global.

His website has been developed with a team of international software developers.

The proof of its success is not only the staggeringly quick take-up by users, but also that they come from around the world.

More than 50% of users so far come from the US, and other countries like Turkey and South Africa have been quicker to sign on than Kenyans.

Gigavia Usage Statistics so far

  • 47 countries represented
  • 493 institutions registered
  • 1, 078 verified registered teachers
  • 352 verified professional mentors registered

Original story posted on BBC