WHO IS MISHECK MUTUZANA?
Intelligent, inspiring, and impressionable. These three words describe Misheck Mutuzana, a jack of all trades from Zambia working to expand its education system. As World Computer Exchange’s Field Associate, he is responsible for coordinating Inspire Girls coding boot camps and helping get more computers in schools. To date, has trained 250 (+330 with the current group undergoing training) girls in coding boot camps and counting.
Mutuzana was first drawn to computer science in his education. Drawing from his creative abilities and hobbies of reading academic and professional books, painting, drawing, watching, and playing soccer, he began towards the field of computers and Art/Design. He earned two undergraduate diplomas in Zambia, and soon after pursued higher education in the Netherlands. During this time, he traveled to a multitude of countries, allowing him to make connections to fuel his work in Zambia. Aside from his education, Misheck has also earned several awards of recognition for his work internationally. He has earned the Fulbright Teacher Excellency Achievement and is a certified master teacher in creative arts with iEARN USA. Since his repertoire of accomplishments is plentiful, his wide scope of interests and diverse skills are what make him the perfect candidate to work with World Computer Exchange to create sizable impacts on his community.
WHY INSPIRE GIRLS?
The reason that Inspire Girls is so important to Mutuzana is the focus on developing the presence of women in a learning environment. Misheck shared that in his culture “we think that tech is only for boys or men, so in Zambia particularly our culture mostly has girls stay at home and do chores.” Because of this, he shared that Zambian women in turn don’t have an interest in pursuing education. His goal with the Inspire Girls coding boot camps is to bring girls in and out of school the “insight so they can understand that even girls can do it.” What he has found over teaching these 250-330 girls is that they have proven to do well with technology, and many have gone on to pursue further education. By providing skills for web design, productivity tools like spreadsheets, and accessing databases, Mutuzana has played a pivotal role in advancing technological education for the women of Zambia.
WHAT HAVE WE ACCOMPLISHED TOGETHER?
When discussing the positive outcomes of the boot camps, Mutuzana shared “It is also helping them do well in universities,” adding that “ the skills that they learned from the boot camp is helping them a lot with critical thinking, computational thinking, skill development, communication skills” which all help them on their course of learning.
Since beginning the Inspire Girls project, Mutuzana has seen a tangible improvement in both skills and drive to learn amongst Zambian girls. Not only are those who left the program better educated in many facets of life, but they also provide an inspiring example to their community. Misheck shared that the skills learned from these coding camps can help women socially and in every aspect of life; however, this doesn’t mean the work is done.
While improvements have been made, Misheck is driven to accomplish more. He shared that physical distance from learning centers is one of the most common issues preventing Zambian girls from getting an education today. Many girls come from poor families and may be required to walk up to 90 minutes each way to school. The lack of nutrition accompanied by the physical demands of accessing an education discourages many women from learning their potential, and his next goal is to seek a way to combat that issue by centralizing education or funding some sort of shuttle. While WCE has created an amazing impact on closing the digital divide in Zambia alongside Mutuzana, continued funding from supporters is what makes these developments possible.