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Give It Forward Trust (GIFT)’s visit of Edulution South Africa by Sophie Pelka

On November 25th 2021, I spent a whole day with Edulution in Durban, South Africa. The day started with the visit of three schools in the Inanda region with Michael Wray, the founder and CEO of Edulution was also visiting these centres for the first time and Vusi Zikhali, Edulution South Africa’s program manager, accompanied us. I was very impressed with Vusi and his leadership skills. He is perfect for the job.

I captured some of my experiences with Edulution in this short video.

When meeting the principals of each school, we heard the same feedback: (1) we are incredibly happy that you are in our school, (2) the school and the children absolutely need your program, (3) Edulution’s program has an impact on the attitude of the learner which is noticed by the teachers and the parents and (4) can you enrol more children in the catch-up program. After speaking to the principals, we sat in an Edulution session and witnessed some of the other activities offered by Edulution such as the Energiser: some really motivating outdoor exercises to get the children moving. I had the chance to interact with the coaches and the children and experience first-hand how the platform is used. The feedback from the children was also very positive: they clearly enjoy the use of the tablet, the ability to progress in a fun and supportive environment, and the rewards they receive when they master a level. From attending these sessions, it became clear that Edulution’s platform enables the children to go from dependent to self-directed learners. I also saw how the live information dashboard of the coaches helps them optimise the learning of each individual child.

After the visits, we went back to the hub, i.e. the office managing all the centers in the region. I met Mike Clarke, responsible for operations and marketing and Sharon Panicco in charge of coaches training and recruitment. As GIFT’s outcome funding is based on the development of the analytics platform, Mike took the time to show me the improvements they have made and how data is gathered and analysed. I was excited to see quantitative measures such as retention and test results added to the dashboard. The data is presented in a very efficient and user-friendly way. Innovative graphs and colors instantly help the reader understand the impact the catch-up program has on the learner. The development of that evidence-based analytics platform is a key asset of Edulution and very impressive.

The third part of the day was dedicated to attending a coach training session given by Michael Wray. The 33 coaches of South Africa were present and very engaged. Michael talked about leadership, struggles, personal growth, believing in oneself, and other key psychological development topics. I was incredibly impressed with the presentation but also how Michael engaged with the coaches and made them interact and be curious. The values of Edulution are also a key driver of its success.

Edulution really combines human development with technology to change the way children learn. Their goal to revolutionise education in Africa is an ambitious one but one thing is for sure: they do transform lives meaningfully, not only the lives of the learners but also those of the coaches. In addition, their unique model is highly scalable. I feel very clearly that it is a privilege for GIFT to support such a high-quality impactful organisation.


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