Michael Wray, February 2023
From the humble beginnings of operating just a few centres in Lusaka in 2015, Edulution has successfully grown over the last seven years running successful digital education pilots in Zambia, Namibia, and South Africa, reaching up to 20,000 children a month living in marginalised rural and urban areas.
Edulution has developed and scaled an innovative and effective learning platform for the developing world enabled by technology, data and incentivised coaches. For this to be a truly scalable solution for millions, Edulution intends to offer its platform and services to different organisations, governments, markets and countries so that they can use and adapt it for their own purposes and needs.
Furthermore, to create a lasting, systemic impact for millions of children and unemployed youth, Edulution must ultimately become a national solution. Governments are going to be our leading clients. Hence, Edulution has been placing an increasing emphasis on public-private engagement and partnerships.
Our public sector strategy in all three countries has been a journey of discovery, but also rewarding, especially in South Africa, where Edulution is receiving funding from SA’s national treasury premium funder (the Jobs Fund) and is engaging directly with the Department of Basic Education at a national level.
In Zambia and Namibia, however, the situation is different. Although Edulution has spent significant time and funding to establish close contacts, and build key partnerships, we have not been able to convert either government into clients.
For all the above reasons, we have concluded that our strategy needs adaptation.
In 2023 & 2024, Edulution's new strategy towards sustainability will focus on:
1. Mobilizing for scale
Commercializing the platform and related content-products for others to use whilst collaborating with the right partners, both public sector and funders - projects include:
Enhance codify, package the platform and product(s) for others to use
Pilot with implementing service providers to demonstrate above
Develop & pilot teacher engagement product to augment existing offering
2. Synergise Stakeholder Engagement
Co-ordinate and network the different Edulution stakeholders - funders, collaborators, and the public sector
Securing/maintaining/leveraging public sector partnerships and foundational funders
Directing the efforts toward the most promising markets, ensuring long-term sustainability
3. Reduce Zambia footprint by 33% and conclude pilot in Namibia
Zambia’s will continue to run 20 centres in marginalised rural and urban areas to demonstrate:
- The efficacy of Edulution’s model in a developing country
- That the programme can be run by local resources with limited ‘strategic services’ support thus proving that
the codification of the model has been a success
Our three-year pilot in Namibia concluded in December 2022 and this is a natural point to re-evaluate our public and private partnership opportunities
4. Focus on South Africa
In 2023, an increased focus will be given to South Africa, where our objectives are to:
Build on our private & public sector engagement
Convert midline results (36% improvement v control) into significant impact at final evaluation
Deliver teacher capacitation program in partnership with DBE
Pilot an implementation partnership agreement with Penreach Foundation
The bottom line
The guiding principle for any social impact organisation is clear: it is not enough to get good results and make a localised impact which can only be delivered by a single organisation.
Sustainable scale and real impact means two things at Edulution:
Having a robust, scalable and effective platform and model that others can use
Uptake of the solution into the education system and government budgets thus enabling the solution to be delivered as a common good
We are encouraged that our strategic pivot has the blessing and support of our existing funders and thank them for their continued faith in us. We have also noted that there is an increasing trend for impact funders to invest in ‘capacity building’ rather than simply delivering a programme to a small group of beneficiaries in need. They likely have realised the same as we have and we are encouraged that this confluence of strategic thinking is attracting the interest of several new funders.
Michael Wray, CEO & Founder of Edulution: "One of our values at Edulution, is ‘Alone we cannot, only together we can’ and never has this been more true."