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Passing on the torch: Enabling the next generation of Zambian change makers

Edulution encourages young people to dream. We are firm believers that investing in Zambia’s youth is an investment in Zambia’s future. Over the summer, Edulution welcomed Silivan Munguarakarama and Anthony Maniko to join our Ed-Tech Development Team as Interns; two young people that wish to use their computing expertise to make the world a better place.

For Silivan, the Internship was a full-circle moment, as years ago he was a Learner signed on to the Edulution Numeracy Programme. While contributing to Edulution’s Ed-Tech system enhancement, code programming and technical support issues, Silivan reflected on Edulution’s profound impact on his personal and professional trajectory;

“Throughout my life, Edulution has provided me with the space and support to explore my aspirations as a student and professional. I'm on track to graduate from Whitman College with a job offer from Microsoft as a software engineer. I credit Edulution for helping me build my resume and develop essential teamwork

and independent work skills.” – Silivan

Edulution is more than a learning solution provider. We invest in previously unemployed local youth to be our Coaches, training and upskilling them for a career in education. Furthermore, this youth investment extends beyond Learners and Coaches to our Technical and Strategic Services Teams, including internship projects.

Edulution prides itself in our partnership with Whitman College; the Washington liberal arts college that advocates for its alumni to “care about community and aim to become citizens of the world”. Adhering to this aspiration, Silivan and Anthony were easily integrated into the team, as their internship manager, Kapya Sakala, attests:

“During their internships, Silivan and Anthony were exposed to Edulution's operations in both rural areas and inner-city townships, along with the various challenges faced by both Coaches and Learners…They understood how Edulution’s tech ecosystem serves the operations at centres, and both Interns showed immense passion for creating solutions to problems closer to home.” - Kapya

Both Silivan and Anthony reached out to Edulution, motivated by their background and desire to use their skills to give back to communities tangibly. Silivan was born in Meheba, a refugee camp in the North-West of Zambia. He attended school at a Pestalozzi Education Centre in Lusaka, and it was here that Silivan was placed on the Edulution Numeracy Programme. Michael Wray, Edulution’s founder, noticed Silivan’s interest and talent while he interacted with the Programme technology, and made him a student assistant, responsible for ensuring that technology worked smoothly during sessions. Silivan continued working with the Tech Team after graduating and was soon offered a scholarship to study in Costa Rica, later moving to study Computer Science at Whitman College.

Anthony reached out to Edulution by connecting with Silivan at Whitman College. As a Zambian national, Anthony was inspired to see his coding knowledge have a real-life impact in his country of origin, an environment he describes as a “place full of energy”. In a society where only 10% of children have foundational learning skills, Edulution can be the difference between a child dropping out early or staying safely in school and graduating with better prospects. On-Programme Learners advance their schooling, on average, by 122% every year.

Anthony was awarded the Whitman Internship Grant to complete his research and eight-week internship, and truly valued the opportunity to learn from and contribute to a diverse and supportive team. Anthony describes his work over the course of the internship as pushing him out of his comfort zone but with enough positive mentorship and expertise to guide him in his work.

For example, Edulution operates offline and offgrid to serve Learners in rural, remote areas that have limited or no access to electricity and the internet. This is crucial to our operations and to provide educational equality, but it can present challenges for our tech support staff, who must service and operate tech in harsh environments. The Interns were able to adapt to these challenges and benefit from research experience working with data using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Bootstrap.

“To the entire Edulution team, I extend my gratitude for fostering a culture of teamwork and continuous learning. Your collective dedication has transformed this internship into an indelible chapter in my professional journey…. After everything else, I carry with me not only the skills and knowledge I've acquired but also the connections I forged and the treasured memories.” – Anthony

The same kinds of sentiments were shared by Silivan, who also reflected on the strong connections forged in the team, particularly with his supervisor, Kapya Sakala, described as a “fantastic mentor, providing guidance and autonomy to learn at my own pace, in true Edulution spirit”.

This Edulution spirit was experienced first-hand by the Interns, who sat in on sessions, noticeably filled with eager Learners, energised and excited for their sessions. The Interns developed a deep understanding of Edulution’s vibrant and innovative model that combines advanced technology and a well-established learning pedagogy that centres children’s well-being and development.

In the years ahead, both Anthony and Silivan will graduate from Whitman College, equipped with the skills to be change-makers in the tech and development field. Both young men are inspired by the Edulution Programme and Whitman College to use their expertise for good, as noted by the Department Chair of Whitman Computer Science, Janet Davis;

“Internship experiences are invaluable not only for Whitman students to learn new technologies beyond those taught in the classroom but to see how ideas from the classroom are applied in a real-world context. Students gain experiences working with a team, being mentored, exploring possible career paths, and seeing how computing can make the world a better place.” - Janet

Edulution wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to both Anthony and Silivan for their fantastic contribution to the Edulution Team, and our best wishes for all their future endeavours. We look forward to possible further partnerships with Whitman College, as a leading educational institution that encourages young people to consider themselves global citizens.

One of Edulution’s organisational values isAlone I cannot, together we can, and we welcome all that share in this vision to transform learning.


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