students from an Ivory Coast school standing in a library in front of donated computers from World Computer Exchange

World Computer Exchange provided 22 computer sets in its first shipment to the Ivory Coast last year, making it the 54th country where we have sent computers. This shipment was in partnership with Impactful Education, a community-based organization driven to create transformative ripple effects across communities, engaging youth as leaders and influencing positive change through the power of education. Thanks to a young woman named Katy Ballo, the computers went to the largest public high school in Anyama, Lycee Moderne d’Anyama, to build an education hub. For Katy, who is dedicated to improving child literacy and closing the digital divide, this was just a small step in her plan to build a school in her former homeland.  

Katy Ballo, the Founder and President of Impactful Education has dedicated her time and efforts to providing resources for the young people in her community with a commitment to improve child literacy and close the digital divide. Inspired by personal experience from growing up in the Ivory Coast during a civil war, she reflects on witnessing the dreams of her friends fade away due to the devastating effects of war on the education system. In the wake of this hardship, Katy was motivated to become an agent of change. She envisioned a space where young generations could access free literacy technology and learning resources that she lacked growing up in the Ivory Coast. Katy believes education is “the greatest equalizer of our time. Through it, we can rebuild communities and break the cycle of poverty, improving the quality of life for future generations”.

Katy’s early education in the 2000s coincided with a civil war. This marked a period of strife and uncertainty for her family and many others. In 2013, Katy’s family moved to the US where she finished high school. While attending Skidmore College, she was announced as a winner of the Davis Project for Peace to build the first library in her hometown. In 2021, Katy started her nonprofit, Impactful Education, and returned to the Ivory Coast in the summer to build a library in her previous high school.  Some of the French books in the library came from the US nonprofit Books for Africa, a group with a pre-existing relationship with WCE. Through their introduction, Katy collaborated with WCE to make her visions a reality.  

She spent a year and a half researching and finding candidates to serve on the board of Impactful Education.  Now that the library is an educational hub for the school and community, Impactful Education is planning to start some special programs, including “Impact Leadership”, “Impact Girls” and “Closing the Gap”.  

During our interview with her, Katy stressed the importance that young people, like herself,  “have leadership skills because it helps us to stand up for ourselves”. The hub allows them to find space in a patriarchal society where many people think that girls belong at home, or they have to be married at a young age. So, this is giving them that space to tell them “Oh, listen, you matter, we need you. 

Katy now works in New York City. After committing several years of work at Lycee Moderne d’Anyama to help get more insights into the needs of the education system in Anyama, Katy’s dream for the next 5 to 10 years is to develop a mobile library to bring literacy and technology to more communities in the region! It is a pleasure for us to continue our partnership with the organization and support its belief in the transformative power of education in creating a brighter future for their community.