Model & Strategy

The Problem
All children have immense potential, but hundreds of millions lack access to quality learning. More than 500 million children around the world are illiterate and innumerate, and 90% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa do not understand simple written text by age 10. Demand for quality education is growing, yet access is inequitable across demographics, with rural children, poor children, and girls suffering disproportionately. The ability to achieve basic literacy and numeracy skills has a transformational and lasting impact on generations of children, as these skills are associated with increases in life expectancy, overall health, and earnings, and decreases in substance abuse and truancy.

The Solution
Imagine’s solutions are scalable, evidence-based, and serve the most marginalized children. Imagine works with top partners to provide learning solutions that empower children with engaging, adaptive content that is pre-loaded onto tablets and delivered in a variety of contexts, both inside and outside the classroom. Their model overcomes the systemic barriers that have historically prevented widespread adoption of edtech in developing countries; the tablets do not require connectivity, a power grid, or a trained teacher. Rather, learning is delivered autonomously with adults playing the roles of coaches and mentors as needed, tablets are solar powered, and the solutions are affordable (<$8/child/year).

Based on these strong results, Imagine is expanding its work in seven Sub-Saharan countries, serving hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, of children. Most notably, Imagine’s work with the government of Malawi — which has formally committed to expanding the program to reach 3.5 million learners annually at scale — has illuminated the path for other countries to follow. Imagine’s work not only delivers gains in foundational learning, but also provides solar power systems to charge the tablets (installing over 600 solar systems in 2023 alone that can provide renewable energy for communities), conducts technical training (upskilling), and catalyzes job creation.

At a Glance
Founded: 2019
Founder & co-CEO: Joe Wolf
Location of work: International, Africa, Asia
Imagine Worldwide
San Francsico, CA
The future of learning.
Meet Joe Wolf

Joe, co-CEO & DRK Entrepreneur, has focused the last decade on launching and leading educational nonprofits. Prior to Imagine, Joe co-founded The Learning Accelerator, a nonprofit connecting teachers and leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to transform K-12. Previously, he had a 15-year career as an investor with Goldman Sachs and RS Investments. His board work has included the OpenUp Resources, the Christensen Institute, Summer Search, New Classrooms, and the New Schools Venture Fund.

Rapelang Rabana joined Imagine Worldwide as co-CEO in 2023. She is deeply committed to education and skills development in Africa. Prior to Imagine, she founded Rekindle Learning, a dynamic edtech company that improves learning outcomes for businesses and educational institutions. She has served as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Entrepreneurship and as a trustee of the Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Education Trust. She was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum 2017.


Multiple rigorous studies have shown positive and meaningful learning impacts on literacy and numeracy across learning settings, languages, and countries. Recent results from Imagine’s two-year randomized control trial (RCT) in Malawi show the following:

4.2 months of additional literacy learning after 13 months of disrupted schooling due to COVID-19

72% attained emergent or fluent mathematics status

50% more children advanced on national literacy benchmarks

Girls performed on par with boys and children’s excitement about school, attendance, persistence, and confidence as learners also improved.