Impact Network's 2016 Year in Review

This year, we created a Virtual Reality experience to bring Impact Network's schools to you.  I Am Because of You is a stunning 360-degree film that allows you to step into a day in the life of Janet, a 10-year-old girl with big dreams.



2016 Year In Review


2016 was a year full of milestones for Impact Network. We could not do this important work without you! These are some of the highlights you helped us achieve:

  • We built three new, much-needed upper primary schools to house our older students at Joel, Mkale, and Zatose, thanks to a generous grant from the Japanese Embassy in Lusaka.
  • We received funding from the German Embassy in Lusaka to create VIP latrines at two of our schools as part of a pilot project to improve hygiene and health outcomes for students. Watch our students performing a poetry slam from the workshop here.
  • We piloted and expanded a Reproductive Health & Life Skills pilot program to better serve students in the Upper Primary Grades.

Building on these successes, we are planning to expand in Eastern Province next year.  Follow our journey here

We continue to rely on your generosity to serve 2,200 students every day in Zambia. Thank you for your continued support and Happy New Year!



Highlights from the Web

Board Members of American Institutes for Research visit Zambia

AIR board members made the long trip to Zambia to visit our schools in May. They were the largest group of visitors yet, and spent three days touring Joel village, observing Impact Network classrooms, and learning about our students.  Read more about the trip in UPenn's press release >


We are so impressed with the humor and maturity of our 6th grade students, who recently completed Impact Network's first class on reproductive health. One class even performed a poetry slam demonstrating what they learned. Check out the video >

Our First Graduating Class!

Mnyaula Community School graduated our first class of grade seven students! Over three dozen students sat for the National Examinations this fall under the guidance of their teacher, Maxwell Mbewe. Read more about the students here >


Chefs for Impact Guests Step Into Zambia with VR at 2016 Gala

We hosted our largest-ever Chefs for Impact gala at the Eventi Hotel, where guests enjoyed a 6-course tasting menu from top NYC chefs and experienced our VR film set in rural Zambia. Check out our article on creating VR in Huffington Post >


Day in the Life: Petros Banda

Petros Banda is the longest-serving teacher at Impact Network and was recently promoted to Teacher Supervisor for Zone B. Petros is very kind and works hard to help teachers improve week by week. He always wanted to be a teacher so that he could share his own knowledge with the pupils and help educate a new generation of bright students. Do you want to know more about Petros and his work as a Teacher Supervisor? Keep reading!

Could you tell me about when you joined Impact Network? 

I was actually the first teacher to join Impact Network in 2010. After I completed school, I applied and went for an interview and I have been here since. At that time, we did not have the same technology as we do now, so I have seen the whole process. I have also done several trainings and received certificates. 

How do you get ready for work? 

Firstly I have to prepare all the items I need during the day and I also need to check that the motorbike is in good shape. I have to check the tires and that I have enough petrol to go to the school. When I became the Teacher Supervisor I had to learn how to ride the motorbike - the previous Implementation Specialist taught me, and now I am even able to drive with a passenger! 

Do you have a favorite class or grade? 

My favorite subject is science and I like to work with Grade 1, because you can learn a lot from the young students. My favorite school is Kanyelele, where I worked when I first joined Impact, but now it is not in my Zone.

Do you like using the tablet? 

Yes, I like using it - it is very easy to use. Sometimes I have to help new teachers with the technology and demonstrate how to use tablets and projectors properly. 

What is the most meaningful thing about being a teacher supervisor? 

I like to include learners (pupils, teachers) and see them improve. I also enjoy our Teacher Trainings, when I hold a presentation and discuss the topics with the teachers. 

Do you have any funny stories from your time as a teacher? 

Yes! When I worked as a teacher, the students really liked my classes because at the end of the day I would tell a story. However, I would not tell the whole story - I would tell them that we would continue the story the following day. Therefore all the children would come to school the next day to hear the end of the story!

What did you want to do when you grew up when you were little? 

Since I started school I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. School is very different now from when I grew up - for example, now the pupils are learning a lot about technology. Previously there was a shortage of schools and teaching materials, but at Impact Network the pupils receive all the materials they need. 

Do you tell your family about your day at work? 

Yes, sometimes I call my mother during the day. My mother is a farmer and during the holiday I help her in the field. She grows ground maize, cotton, onions, beans and tomatoes and we also have some chickens on the farm. 

What do you like to do when you are not at school? 

I go to church and sometimes I watch sports or traditional dances. My favorite sport is football, and my team is called Chipolopolo, which is the Zambian national team. 

- Camilla

The Nyau

In this post I would like to tell the readers about a very impressive dance performance I was witness to a couple of weeks ago. In eastern Zambia, along with southern Malawi and western Mozambique, there exists a secret society called the Nyau. The society is for initiated members only and thus secret to the outside world, but the members are just normal people from the villages. 

On a Sunday afternoon we headed up to Joel village where the Nyau was set to perform. Many of the local villagers were there waiting excitedly, as the Nyau always draws a crowd. 

The drumming started and the crowd gathered in a circle, then a few young Nyau dancers appeared in the middle. After a while, more and more of the Nyau dancers appeared, waiting outside the circle for their signal to perform. Their performance was quite impressive! The Nyau dancers (all male) respond to the drumming and singing, determining the dance. The dance includes a lot of intricate footwork and kicking of dust into the air. 

As you can see in the picture, the dancers wear masks to conceal their identity and are understood to be spirits of the dead or animals. Most masks are made of wood, but some consist only of straw, usually worn by the newly initiated members.

Both the drumming and dancing performances were impressive, but personally I thought the best part was the Nyau on stilts. It was incredible to see their balance! They were walking like it was no effort and didn’t fall once.

It was such an experience to witness their performance. I can only imagine how many hours they must practice. They can dance for several hours and the Regional Director told me that what we saw was not even half of what they can do! 

- Camilla

A Day in the Life: Teselia Tembo

This week I would like to introduce readers to Teselia Tembo. Teselia has been working for Impact Network since 2012 and for the past two years has been the Teacher Supervisor for Zone A. Teselia is a very smart, hard-working woman that loves teaching.

Can you tell us about when you first joined Impact Network? 

I joined Impact Network in 2012 as a regular teacher at Chivuse Primary School. The teacher in charge at Chivuse actually spoke to the management team and told them how impressed he was with my teaching. After just one month my students in grade 1 were able to read and write! 

What were some of the challenges you faced when you became a Teacher Supervisor? 

We conduct monthly trainings for our teachers and as a Teacher Supervisor I usually give a presentation on the day of the training. At first I thought this was very hard, and I did not know how to come up with the topics for the presentation. I learned that when I observe the teachers, I can look for issues that they struggle with and try to make a presentation from this. I usually visit the Resource Centre in Katete to find more information on the topic, so my presentation will be better. For example, on the last training I did a presentation on “Classroom Behavior”. 

How many classes do you supervise per day? 

I try to visit all the schools every week, and at every school I have to observe all the teachers. I usually visit one school per day and observe five or six different teachers. 

How do you get around to visit all the schools? 

When I first started the job someone would drop me off at the school in the morning and pick me up in the afternoon, but it affected my work and sometimes I would arrive late. So the team decided to purchase a scooter for me. I learned to drive it in only two days! With the scooter I feel more independent because I can get around easily. For example, during the weekends I can visit my family that live in a different village.


Was it hard to learn how to use tablets and laptops? 

No, the tablet was easy to learn because I received iSchool training. However, I found the laptop more challenging. Laptops are very expensive in Zambia and I did not have much practice typing. When I first started to type I was very slow - one sentence could take several minutes. Even so, the management team encouraged me to practice and I also received much help from the interns. Now I feel confident using a laptop - I can even type while I observe teachers! 

What are you looking for when you observe teachers? 

When I observe the teachers I look for several things. I look at the lesson plan, the methodology and objectives of the lesson. After the lesson I give feedback to the teachers so that they can improve their teaching. I always try to show the teachers respect and start with the positive feedback and I give them a chance to find solutions. 

What do you like to do during your free time? 

I live in Joel village, but I have very busy days at work so I do not have much free time. I enjoy spending time with my baby girl, Hannah, who is 4 months old, and my daughter, Esther, who attends grade 4 at Joel.

- Camilla