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Imagine Worldwide

Using Data for Transformational Impact and Long-Term Sustainability

Rapelang Rabana and Joe Wolf, Co-CEOs, Imagine Worldwide

Reflecting on an incredible two weeks spent with our team in Malawi, we’re compelled to share a few key learnings. To start, while Zoom is a tremendous tool for the work we do, you simply can’t beat the experience of being together in three dimensions. We’re immensely grateful for the time we had with this amazing team, which spans nine countries and eleven time zones.

Imagine Worldwide is not your typical NGO. From day one, we have prioritized building solutions that are financially, operationally, and environmentally sustainable within existing government and community structures. To this end, three significant areas of focus emerged from our team’s recent time together:

  • Fostering long-term sustainability. We believe that systemic change must be driven by governments and local actors to have lasting impact. Imagine’s role is collaborative and temporary. We tap into the talent of local organizations and communities to strengthen the capacity, expertise, and infrastructure of government systems before stepping away for long-term local ownership. As we scale to over 1,000 schools in Malawi this year, the alignment and coordination with our government partner with a path to long-term sustainability is absolutely critical.  
  • The importance of a robust repair and maintenance network. In Malawi alone, we’re deploying nearly a million tablets and over 6,000 solar systems in the next five years — essential equipment in the effort to transform primary educational systems. However, the harsh operating conditions and constant use necessitate a robust repair and maintenance ecosystem that can quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively fix equipment and return it to the schools. By cultivating local repair networks, we not only reduce costs and e-waste but also create technically-oriented jobs in severely economically-challenged regions. If we do this well, we will drive down unit costs to well under $5 per child per year while ensuring the longevity of our impact, stimulating the economy, and protecting the environment.
  • Building data-driven excellence. At the heart of our mission lies a commitment to serve all children and communities, including those that are most under-resourced and hardest to reach. Recognizing the limitations of traditional in-person monitoring and measurement methods, we are using data to revolutionize how we monitor, improve, and adapt our program. Through remote monitoring and continuous data collection, we refine our programs, tailoring them to meet the evolving needs of the children we serve. It’s through this data-driven approach that we can truly differentiate our instruction, ensuring that every child receives the tailored support they deserve.

Imagine Worldwide’s approach paves the way for government-led sustainability, efficient repair networks, and data-driven innovation. Our ultimate goal is to leave behind a legacy of transformational impact that transcends our organization’s existence.

Rapelang Rabana and Joe Wolf, Co-CEOs, Imagine Worldwide