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ImpactNetworkJulyLast month, our team lost one of its most beloved and dedicated members – our Operations Manager, Edward Mwale.

I met Edward back in 2013 when he was first hired. We spent a lot of that first trip discussing our families and our hopes for the future of Zambia. Each visit I made, I got to know the man himself a little bit more. Edward emanated happiness and hope, no matter how dire the situation or how difficult the obstacle.

From Edward, I learned three valuable lessons over our two years of almost daily communication. I want to share those with you today, in the hope of honoring his memory and one day fulfilling his goal to help the students of Zambia succeed.

01 | Think bigger than the population you are serving.

When making big decisions for the organization, I used to ask myself one main question: What is best for students? Our goal is to serve our 2,000 students with a high-quality education – to me, the fundamental question was always in relation to the students, but Edward always thought broader than that. In his initial months with the organization, of his own volition, he started a technology training program for our teachers, helping them to grow their computer skills. More recently, he piloted an adult education program for community members and taught them a variety of subjects over the school break. Edward taught me to put more emphasis on questions like: What is best for teachers? What is best for families? What is best for community members?

02 |  Always remember the Joy Factor.

My cousin always talks about the “joy factor” in her line of work, which is also education. However, I never gave it much thought. Yes, having fun at work is a nice bonus, but the work we do is rigorous and serious. So, I thought our attitude should reflect that. Knowing Edward has changed that for me. Edward was part DJ, part chess player, part video producer, part student, and part teacher – in everything he did, he mixed equal parts of hard work and determination with fun. As a result, we learned to smile when things didn’t seem to be going our way.

03 | Be better.

Every meeting I ever had with Edward, he came with a long list of questions, notes, and suggestions for improvements to drill me with, bringing new ideas to every table, and a refreshing energy on a hot Zambian day. He never tired of his desire to improve our programs, better ourselves, and enrich our world. He had the heart and determination to make the world a better place, and always strived to improve the education and opportunities provided to those around him.

Life is so fragile. I cannot tell you how much he will be missed, but I wake up every day, more eager to serve our students, families, and communities because of him and his memory.

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FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe


Editorial Collaborator: Reshma Patel of Impact Network has joined conscious to produce a monthly column to educate us about the processes involved in developing schools within rural communities of Zambia. She points out the many aspects of growing a school and working with the local communities to sustain it. Read our interview with Impact Network here and follow the monthly column here.

 

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