Articles Impact Press

Platform links individuals to organisations for new skills

By  Lewis Njoka – People Daily Online

Marisa Conway the Chief Learning Officer and co-founder of Arifu.

Marisa Conway the Chief Learning Officer and co-founder of Arifu.

The pandemic has disrupted normal life across the globe, affecting businesses and forcing learners to find alternative ways to access knowledge.  Marisa Conway, Chief Learning Officer and co-founder of Arifu, an online learning platform, talks about how their technology is helping solve the problem.

What is Arifu?

Arifu is a Kenyan-based tech company that launched its smart personal learning assistant and content marketplace in 2015 to help people learn new skills from the organisations they trust over any mobile phone.

Our purpose is to place opportunity and information within reach of everyone. Our chatbot is free to our learners and available via any mobile chat application including SMS, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. 

Whom does it target and what does it do for them?

Arifu has two main audience; individuals and organisations. Individuals engage with us to learn new skills or get advice on how to use products and services available to them to grow their income or increase productivity. Topics range from crop and livestock trainings, financial literacy, entrepreneurship education, and informative trainings on a variety of digital products.

For organisations, Arifu provides an end to end solution to help them craft skills or product information into contextualised digital trainings, deliver them over the Arifu platform through SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram, and monitor performance with their personal analytics platform that provides details on learner preferences and progress.

We also work with organisations on different research activities to try and understand the impact of digital information on learner capacity development, behaviour, and outcomes.  

What motivated you into starting this initiative?

I teamed up with our Co-Founder, Craig Heintzman in 2014 with a shared vision to make information accessible to people, so they could use it to better their own lives.

Our approach was to start first with SMS, and create a free digital advisor, or chatbot, which could teach people new skills, offer solutions to challenges, and help them connect to products and services in an informed and safe way.

Over the last six years, we’ve expanded to make content available over Whatsapp, Facebook and Telegram where learning is enhanced with rich media.

How does Arifu differ from other traditional learning resources available to learners in Kenya?

We are topic and sector agnostic. Arifu’s partners work in health, agriculture, financial services, consumer goods, and more and our learners access content and products that meet multiple information needs.

It’s free, which means it’s more affordable than many other training options. It works on basic and smartphones, so it doesn’t require data and is consumable in a format that’s familiar to mobile phone users making it more accessible than internet and in-person training.

Unlike MOOCs and classrooms, Arifu is a digital teacher people can chat with to learn at any time.

How helpful would you say your initiative has been during the Covid-19 pandemic?  

To support partners and learners during Covid-19, we’ve created a starter pack of digital trainings that we are providing for free.

The content includes information to help individuals cope with challenges related to health, business, finance, children’s education, and community. 

We are currently building out more content to help business owners and job seekers navigate and recover from financial challenges resulting from the pandemic. 

Now that schools are re-opening after several months of Covid-19 related closure, how does Arifu fit in?

Arifu’s primary audience is adults 18 and older. However, during Covid-19 we have created content to support parents and their children to do educational activities at home in partnership with Metis, an organisation which develops educational leaders.

That content is part of the Keep Kenya Learning campaign and will be made available to 400,000 Kenyan families. 

On average, how many people do you serve in a month and how many have you served since inception?

Around 45,000 learners engage with Arifu on a monthly basis and 1.4 million individuals have engaged with Arifu since our first content went live in 2015.

How do you finance your activities?

We operate currently on a combination of revenue and investment funding. Our sales model is Business to business and we offer our customers a platform subscription model giving them access to the Arifu Platform.

They can also buy annual licenses to content offered by Arifu and our content partners.

To date, we have raised $2.6million of investment from venture funds and angel investors.  In 2021, we will launch our Series A round to fund expansion across and beyond Africa.

Of all Arifu’s achievements so far, which one are you most proud of?

Through past research initiatives, we have observed and learned that engaging with Arifu content provides first time access to important skills information and has led to adoption of GAP. 

In another independent study, farmers engaging with Arifu contributed four times more to their savings, borrow more, and repay their loans faster by 5.5 days compared to those who do not engage with Arifu. 

What’s next for Arifu?

Arifu will continue to grow the partnerships and content available to learners in our existing 6 countries and expand across Africa and into Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

We will enhance our learner experience with advanced AI capabilities, making the chatbot more conversational and helping learners get to the most relevant content faster based on their needs and existing knowledge.



Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Useful Links


Join Our Mailing List and always be the first to know about what's going on with our organization.
© 2020 Arifu. All Rights Reserved
Articles Impact

Arifu’s use case for logistic companies

By Stephanie Pownall

Logistics in East AfricaWith the growing pains of COVID-19, different economic sectors have been greatly affected globally. The East Africa Business Council report (April, 2020) supports that the transport and logistics sector has been among the most affected due to the restrictions in movement and is affecting trade flows due to transport and logistics disruptions. In Kenya, there are approximately 18 ride hailing app service providers with popular brands such as: Uber, Bolt/Taxify, Little Cab, inDriver, Swvl, Easy Taxi and Wasili, operating in areas such as Mombasa, Nairobi and Nakuru (GIZ report, 2020). Additionally, cargo delivery service providers such as: Lori, Senga, Sendy, PickIT, Ami Truck and Tai+, all aim at increasing their efficiency through logistics optimization. (GIZ report, 2020).

A Logistics management (2017) article identifies that some of the key challenges that the companies face in this industry vertical include: High fuel costs, unaffordable technology strategy and implementation, lower business process improvement, less improved customer service, increasing driver shortage and deteriorating retention, strict government regulations, environmental issues as well as economic fluctuations. On the other hand, some of the challenges faced by the drivers and riders include the lack of: time management and efficient communication skills, professional driving and fatigue management skills, effective fleet/vessel management practices (tracking of delicate cargo such as compressed gases and machinery) as well as access to continued assistance on road health and safety measures. In East Africa, Transaid is a primary example of the impact that in-person training has had on promoting the professionalism of transport and logistics drivers in Uganda, as well as protecting their health and safety. With this in mind, a digital training solution would therefore be an even better and more useful tool to enable such organizations to tackle some of their pressing challenges and simultaneously upskill their drivers or riders especially during these unprecedented times where social distancing is key to safeguarding each individual’s health.

Furthermore, in an article by Aptantech (April, 2020), Uber has taken the necessary steps through digital learning to ensure that it’s drivers and riders take the rightful precautions towards preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya. Arifu in this scenario, is greatly able to support companies like Uber to communicate with their drivers on COVID-19 prevention and resilience. With a click of a button, hundreds of thousands of drivers can start their learning journey and come out of the training with a better understanding on how to secure their livelihoods  and  ensure safety as well as the safety of their passengers or goods.

Arifu is the training solution for you!

Arifu is a simple and easy-to-use chat interface that learners can access either on SMS or mobile apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and Telegram on basic or smartphones. It is an interactive platform that allows a variety of target audiences the ability to gain new useful information that will aid in upskill through incentivized training. Through Arifu, your organization will have the ability to capture data through real-time analytics and feedback as well as support you in driving usage of essential skills and monitoring the uptake and impact that your products and services are making to specific target groups.

For learners, the platform is free of cost and is therefore accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. The information made available to your specific target audience is customizable and personalized to their current educational needs. Drivers and riders from your organization can use Arifu to meet their training needs, which may include:

  • Need for in-depth guidance during recruitment, language fluency, basic financial literacy and geographical map training
  • Customer engagement and time management skills
  • Safe driving or riding skills
  • Health and safety

The opportunities for drivers and riders to learn and upskill using Arifu:

  • Access to simplified and easy-to-grasp customer relationship management training
  • Health and Safety information on how to keep customers and the individuals safe, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Better awareness on safer driving systems and rapid responses to unforeseen events such as car or motorcycle breakdowns and accidents
  • Better knowledge on safer methods for long distance and night time driving
  • Safer handling techniques and better tracking of delicate cargo
  • Incentivized training services through tokens such as certificates of performance among other incentives

With Arifu, your organization will be able to meet your training needs by providing your workforce the ability to learn and understand how to manage their business by simply using their mobile phones. Some of the training needs include:

  • Need for drivers and riders to have better customer engagement
  • Need for improved drivers’ and riders’ confidence
  • Recurrent need for training and skills improvement

Through digital training and helping you meet your training needs, Arifu potentially provides your organization the following opportunities:

  • A low cost and highly scalable training alternative for your drivers and riders
  • A personalized and chat-based tool that allows large scale outreach
  • A human centred approach for customized content design
  • A free data analytics dashboard will be provided to your organization to get feedback from your learners and a chance to monitor their behavior change and uptake of training information as well as adopt new methods that could improve content design

Get one step closer to improving your organization’s learning and development initiatives by reaching out to us at: pownall@arifu.com or sood@arifu.com. We are here for you!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Useful Links


Join Our Mailing List and always be the first to know about what's going on with our organization.
© 2020 Arifu. All Rights Reserved