Unplugged: unprepared, without a safety net, taking things as they go along
While the term unplugged usually refers to a band playing without any electric instruments, it is the perfect analogy for the initial Eduix presence in Namibia. While we are convinced that we have what it takes to empower, encourage and uptrain a league of future software developers in Namibia, we realise that we need to make ourselves completely vulnerable to the real circumstances to be able to address the real issues and problems with passion, purpose and stamina.
Eduix Ltd Founder and CEO, author and programmer Rami Heinisuo made a spur of the moment decision in 2018 to participate in the education delegation to Namibia inspired by the University of Turku’s highly SDG-aligned efforts to do kickstart a satellite campus in Namibia, together with UNAM operations. Little did he know that he would end up in the Lady Pohamba hospital instead of having the much-awaited uplifting discussions with the colleagues and peers in Namibia. The meeting with Mr Sebulon David of Glowdom had to be canceled and a slight fear of death crept in instead. End of story, case closed? Quite the opposite.
I missed the chance to meet Sebulon face to face, but luckily we share the same persistent nature and discussions quickly resumed over the internet. The first video meeting between us suffered from a lack of sound and picture, but things progressed steadily after that. Quickly I and Sebulon came to realise that the immense development potential in Namibia could be unleashed by developing a new model for cooperation that focuses on long-term sustainable delivery and deployment cycles.
Digitalisation is a combination of inspiration and perspiration and involves looking at the processes from a completely new perspective. Previously things have been handled mostly on paper, with some support from spreadsheets and simple database applications. When we talk about a pervasive digital transformation we are talking about doing things differently, doing them in ways like never before. We need both quantity and quality – the flexible digital tools need to be used and tried out everywhere.
The cooperation between Eduix and Glowdom may have started from the shared core values of Sebulon and Rami, but the train is now moving and more and more likeminded people are being engaged every day in this initiative. Sebulon spent an intense week of workshops and meetings at Eduix headquarters in Tampere Finland and luckily he didn’t get the chance to be acquainted with Finnish healthcare in turn. The only thing he was exposed to was the expertise, enthusiasm and professional curiosity of Eduix staff members.
Eduix together with Glowdom has agreed to become a founding partner for the University of Turku Future Technology Lab in Windhoek. The opening ceremony was held on 5th November 2019.
The University of Turku in Finland is an internationally competitive University whose operations are based on high quality, multidisciplinary research. University promotes education and free science and provides higher education that is based on research. The University is an active contributor to the international academic community. University of Turku has opened at the University of Namibia (UNAM) premises in Windhoek an overseas campus (UTUW), which is expected to meet sustainable development goals by functioning as a real-life lab for co-designing, piloting and validating future technologies in stable settings.
The aim of the founding partnership structure is to create a platform where both Parties can build the UTU Future Tech Lab (FTL) and its activities together at the overseas campus. At the same time, Eduix as a founding partner gets a permanent presence in southern Africa and gets even more connected with the future workforce, business-networks, potential clientele, and scientific qualitative and quantitative research. Eduix is investing heavily and actively in these efforts.
“It is a privilege for us to be able to actively develop practical common sense digitalisation in the whole of Namibia together with the academia. ” says Mr Rami Heinisuo, the founder and CEO of Eduix Ltd and continues, “This is the first time that a Finnish university is truly aiming for making a long-term impact on things. Namibia and many other African countries have seen enough project tourists, and it is now high time that a more sustainable approach is taken across the board. In-depth and sensible partnerships among entrepreneurs, experts, developers, and researchers are the way forward.”
Glowdom CEO and founder Sebulon David is just as enthusiastic: “The combination of sense, sensibility and business skills of the colleagues at Eduix is astounding. Co-creation and co-development task proceeds from plan to production in record times and the joint creative spirit combined with the hands-on attitude allows for great progress now and in the future. The founding partnership is one of the key building blocks for scalable capacity building in the efforts regarding education development through digitalisation.”
Today Sebulon shared a commentary at the workshop organised by University of Turku Campus in Namibia and UNAM on the importance of imagination and leadership in software development efforts. Namibia needs to transform from software-consuming to a software producing economy. This requires a change of paradigm as well as practical tools, projects and work opportunities. There are lots of problems to solve in Namibia, which provides an ideal environment for nurturing software development as a profession for the future.
The art of programming is something that can only be refined further by doing more of it, with a learning curve. Solving real and tangible problems with software development can give real returns in personal self-satisfaction and self-esteem. We need to throw away our prejudices and start creating completely new African software innovations on top of existing content and data management platforms.