Meanwhile in Namibia

Digital transformation in education and mindset

The co-operation project with Haaga-Helia, Eduix Ltd and Glowdom has progressed to first concrete pilot tests. During February, Altti Lagstedt had a very busy time in Namibia, together with Sebulon David of Glowdom. They met interesting groups, refined the Ahaa-ecosystem model and planned the pilot tests of both FormJack and Wihi -products with education representatives. They also attended the Python conference “PyCon Namibia 2020”, where Altti was a keynote speaker and Sebulon had a “light talk” presentation.

One of the main achievements of the week was refining Ahaa-ecosystem. Since the software development cluster is still small inside Namibia, it has been typical that education systems have been acquired from abroad during the last decades, according to the model represented in Figure 1.


Figure 1. The traditional software implementation model

Even if this model is simple, it has shown to have certain structural challenges and problems: 

  • Purchased software has been taken in to use “as it is”, i.e. the software was not suited or tailored to local needs – nor during the implementation, neither later, during curriculum changes for instance.
  • There haven’t been local support or help desk to answer the questions and organizing training. There hasn’t been local maintenance either, so, if a software supplier abroad loses their interest (or goes bankrupt), the software has been abandoned and sooner or later something breaks and the system becomes useless.

To be a really useful and working ecosystem, it is vital to address such challenges and problems: systems have to be suited to local needs and maintained properly. There has to be someone local who is able to collect requirements from all stakeholders, do tailoring in the implementation phase, make changes whenever is needed (for example, when curriculum changes), and act as a helpdesk and train the users for the system. In addition, there has to be some guarantee for continuity: if the original company developing the software loses its interest or goes bankrupt, it has to be possible for the local company to continue to maintain, update and further develop the software. These considerations are represented in the Ahaa-ecosystem model (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. The Ahaa ecosystem

During this cooperation project, we concentrate on the products of Eduix Ltd, but the idea is that the ecosystem is open for other software developers as well, as long as they are ready to follow the same rules. This Ahaa-ecosystem is planned to be an efficient way to get rid of “project tourism”, i.e. projects done only for outside funding without any kind of economical or other kinds of sustainability. In Ahaa-ecosystem there is a local company, which benefits mainly from the maintenance and helpdesk -phase, and this brings a clear economic sustainability aspect to the ecosystem. In addition, when the localization and tailoring are the local company’s responsibility, it helps to grow the software development cluster in Namibia: Glowdom is not planning to do all by themselves, but they are actively looking for partners inside Namibia. Even though in this project we concentrate on the education sector, Ahaa-ecosystem is not bound to education solutions only, it can be applied in other sectors as well, for example in healthcare, agriculture, transportation, and governance.

Mr. Sebulon David, CEO, Glowdom
Dr. Altti Lagstedt, Senior lecturer, Haaga-Helia

Eduix – Unplugged in Namibia

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.

Breaking news: Future Tech Lab Founding Partnerships

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.

Sebulon David at the ceremony representing Eduix Ltd

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.”

Workshop and meeting with teachers at UTU Future Tech Lab

Glowdom developers from different regions across Namibia started a workshop in the morning where Sebulon introduced the participants to the Ahaa co-operation model and to the concept of using software development skills wisely focusing on solving the customers’ problems and achieving the goals with the best and simplest process management tool available.

Klaus explained the architecture and the philosophy behind the Peppi software ecosystem. We also had a quick tour of the core functions of the system and its role-based desktops.

After lunch, various EdTech enthusiasts comprised of teachers and principals from different schools around Windhoek looked at a digital service builder and shared their sense of urgency views to integrate digital tools in education to resolve critical challenges related to the scarcity of data for planning, development, and implementation. Both groups have strongly agreed that the power of greatness is when educators and software developers join forces to digitalize core education processes in Namibia.

UTU Future Tech lab is an abroad campus of Turku University. It is located at the University of Namibia (UNAM) in Windhoek. Many thanks to UTU for providing the facility for advancement of education in software engineering. Stay tuned.

Mr. Sebulon David, CEO, Glowdom
Mr. Klaus Nylamo, Senior Partner, Eduix Ltd

Glowdom and Eduix joint presentation

Sebulon and Klaus shared the stage today at the embassy of Finland’s education event in Windhoek. The purpose of the presentation was to present Glowdom and Eduix’s successful cooperation short and long-term goals, the progress made so far and steps taken in order to build a working model of Namibia-Finland cooperation to an audience comprised of local and international players from public and private educational organizations.

The two companies shared their cooperation philosophy which is primarily based on a Yin Yang concept in business where two forces complement each other to create win-win business benefits through a relationship based on trust and solid core values. Sebulon and Klaus explained how their memorandum of understanding is highly driven by the purpose of developing a society with software as well as creating real and tangible outcomes.

Over 412 teachers with a potential of impacting 12,000 learners in 10 out of 14 regions across Namibia have already interacted with the Eduix digital service environment and through case-by-case, local software developers and school principals are capacitated through knowledge transfer workshops on how to design and implement customized digital services for Namibian schools.

In the coming days, the work continues in the workshops where Glowdom and Eduix will evaluate the platforms and tools already installed. The goal is to – by migrating some chosen real-life manual processes in the digital environment – recognize suitable models to use as we proceed to help actual customers to overcome their digitalization challenges. Stay tuned.

Mr. Sebulon David, CEO, Glowdom
Mr. Klaus Nylamo, Senior Partner, Eduix Ltd

Sebulon David of Glowdom commenting on software economy in Namibia

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.

Glowdom and Eduix: Leveraging the digital ecosystem for Education in Namibia

Glowdom and Eduix have joined forces to provide a national-grade education digitalisation ecosystem for Namibia. Eduix has decades of experience in the education sector as well as a modern and modular platform which shortens the time it takes from development to delivery. Glowdom has in-depth knowledge about the pitfalls, caveats and possibilities in the market and a hands-on experience on delivering local solutions. 

We have now a year of discussions and preparations behind us and all the pieces are coming together. We currently provide:

  • The Peppi education process digitalisation platform
  • Scalable and secure server facilities
  • Modern software development and delivery facilities
  • On-site and off-site training of the system administration
  • On-site and off-site training of systems development, together with the programming schools initiatives

Our goal is to completely and rapidly change the way how school and student management and related services are done in Namibia. We pave the way for modern and simple to use digital platforms as genuine tools for self-leadership, where each stakeholder can enjoy up to date and highly accessible information and base their decisions on the facts they draw from that information.

Eduix is the leading software platform developer in Finland within the realm of education. Our digital contributions solve day-to-day problems and challenges and no challenge is neither too big nor too small for us to tackle.

Knowledge transfer is the essential scalability element in any context, but especially so in remote cooperation. Eduix has a full training programme to empower the current and future developers in Namibia and to take their skills to a whole new level.

We named our ecosystem in Namibia as Ahaa since it was those aha! moments that were a defining factor in our discussions. Heureka! would perhaps have been a bit of an overkill at this stage. In Finnish, Aha is written with two consecutive vowels, hence ahaa. We trust that you as a stakeholder will have the same kind of aha moments in the future. Stay tuned.

Best wishes,

  • Sebulon David, CEO and Founder, Glowdom
  • Rami Heinisuo, CEO and Founder, Eduix