/ 29 April 2023

Learning is easier, with young Cameroonian’s app

The warehouse of the future will be shaped by trends in society and technology
The warehouse of the future will be shaped by trends in society and technology

Mbah Javis was in his final year of high school in Batibo in Cameroon’s Northwest Region in 2016 when war broke out in the countries two English-speaking regions —Northwest and Southwest. 

The war shattered lives, businesses and institutions, and his school was no exception. 

Javis had to stay home for two years because of battles between the Cameroon military and separatist fighters.

“There were no signs of classes resuming in Batibo, so I moved to Bamenda, the Northwest regional capital, which was relatively calm. I enrolled in Government Bilingual High School Ntamulung, where I obtained my GCE O Level and GCE Advanced Level,” Javis said.

He was later admitted to study computer science at the University of Buea in Southwest Region and, while there, started looking for ways to solve the problem he had in 2016. 

The outcome was Dimoly, an artificial intelligence (AI) assistance study app.

“My motivation to build Dimoly came from my experience. I couldn’t go to school every day because of insecurities. At the moment, the situation is not any better, and a lot of students are unable to go to school and attend classes, so I was prompted to build something that students can use from anywhere at any time to study and prepare for exams,” said Javis.

The startup’s name comes from two words — didactic and moly. Didactic means designed or intended to teach people easily and moly is a magical herb in Greek mythology. 

“This means the app is designed to teach people in a way that will make them understand things like it is magic,” he said. 

Dimoly can provide accurate answers if the user asks a question with enough information, including the specific subject the question is coming from. 

“So basically the more information the user provides, the clearer the answer the AI assistant gives.”

At 14, Javis began teaching himself computer programming. Six years later, he has worked for several companies in Cameroon and abroad as a software engineer, building software products mainly for cellphones and the web, with some having artificial intelligence functions. 

In 2019, Javis was a finalist at Africa’s annual programming contest, Google Code. In 2022, he was among the winners of the Cameroon ICT Innovation Week challenge, organised by Cameroon’s ministry of post and telecommunications. It took him four months to build Dimoly.

If a child cannot attend classes, they can still prepare for exams using Dimoly. 

“After downloading the app from the Google play store, a student needs an email account to complete their registration before using it,” said Javis. “Currently, the app has over 6 300 registered users. The feedback from them has been great.”

Keming Thanks Njoko is a secondary teacher in the Northwest Region. In 2022, he came across Dimoly and was thrilled by the app’s features.

“You know, not everybody is perfect. A student may ask a tricky question when I am teaching, which requires me to do some sensitive thinking. I will give room for other students to answer while I consult Dimoly for an answer. It has made my teaching so flexible,” said Njoko.

Aside from using the app to help his students comprehend subjects easily, Keming has been going to other schools promoting and encouraging the use of the app to improve learning.

“When I found the app, I saw something that I have never seen in others. I was so amazed about it, and the thing that really caught my attention was the artificial intelligence of the application. When you search something there, it is highly specific to your level of education and the response is automatic,” he said.

According to him, his students have also benefited greatly from using Dimoly. He said the app would easily bail them out when they encounter a challenge in classes.

Njuabe Favour is one of the users preparing to write the country’s GCE Advanced Level examinations next year. 

The 15-year-old said Dimoly provides her with past GCE questions, which she uses to answer and prepare for exams in school.

“What I like most about the app is that it can answer all school-related questions and best simplifies the answers to my question so that I can understand better. The AI assistant is like a home teacher to me,” she said. “I have been using this app for the past three months or so, and it has been of great help to me.” 

Dimoly was also able to help her create a study timetable and study flashcards.Javis said he was happy that the app was making learning much easier. — bird story agency