Meet 4 education ‘changemakers’ in Africa

Vera Chipatso Mlia with her students in Malawi (Courtesy of Trevor Noah Foundation/OM Films)

Successful societies need educated citizens.

That’s why the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Trevor Noah Foundation teamed up to fund Education Changemakers. The program is implemented by the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa.

Meet four Changemakers alumni. Each in their own way seeks to improve education in communities across the African continent. Their creative approaches include apps, animation, mobile technology and other innovative tools.

Vera Chipatso Mlia, Malawi

Vera Chipatso Mlia (Courtesy of Vera Chipatso Mlia)
Vera is the founder and managing director of Studio4humanity, an illustration and animation social enterprise that produces and distributes early childhood development learning materials in Malawi.

As part of the 2020 Education Changemakers cohort, Vera received a grant and business coaching from the Trevor Noah Foundation to develop her Toon Notebook project. Inspired by 3D games and cartoons, the innovative backpack-notebook combination includes activities to teach children to become independent learners. Through this work, she addresses the shortage of quality pre-primary school learning materials.

Kabelo Mahlobogwane and Bonang Motsapi, South Africa

Bonang Motsapi, left, and Kabelo Mahlobogwane (USAID)
Kabelo and Bonang met at the YALI Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa and conceptualized The Marking App. This mobile app automatically evaluates assignments using handwriting recognition software and gives students instant feedback on their work.

This reduces the time teachers usually spend on administrative and grading tasks, allowing them more time to create lesson plans and help students.

Jocelyne Marie, Seychelles

Jocelyne Marie (Courtesy of Jocelyne Marie)
Jocelyne is a teacher and head of the English Department at Anse Boileau Secondary School in Mahe, Seychelles. She also is the founder of the IamSafe App, a platform where students can anonymously report bullying and learn self-awareness.

With the app, students can find tips on how to deal with bullying. They can take a survey to help determine if they are being bullied or if they are a bully themselves. Students also have access to counseling resources and can anonymously chat with their school counselor.

“Without organizations like USAID, Trevor Noah Foundation, YALI and other local partners, this project would not have materialized,” Jocelyne said.