Friday is an AAI Scholar, nearly an AAI Graduate, who in 2015, was the first Scholar selected from Zambia. He attended university in Yamanashi, Japan, and will graduate this fall. In July, Friday presented his Ashinaga Proposal, a concrete plan to tackle a problem in his hometown back in Zambia, via Zoom to Ashinaga staff members. Though usually in person, COVID-19 has moved all of Ashinaga’s programs online.
Born in a village in Zambia, Friday grew up in a town with no running water or electricity. The primary sources of income were maize farming, gardening, and animal rearing. There is no school in his community. The closest school is seven kilometers away, and there is no transportation system to get there. So, children travel on foot every day to school. Both of Friday’s parents did not have a chance to attend school. In the family, he is the only one who has attended university.
“In high school, I was chosen as an academic leader. I was in charge of helping other students with schoolwork and facilitating interactions between teachers and students. It was during this time when I realized that I have the potential to help other people access education. Born from parents who did not attend school, I can relate and understand how hard it is for children to get the motivation to study and seeing the benefit of education. I consider myself very fortunate to have a chance to explore in a developed country like Japan. Now, I am in my fourth year studying Economics at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Japan under Ashinaga’s Initiative. After my undergraduate, I want to do a master’s in marketing and finance. I believe a master’s degree will help me to deepen my understanding of business so that I can teach others.”
Friday’s Ashinaga Proposal is titled Lukamantano. He explains, “Lukamantano is a Tonga (a Zambian language) word that means working together. It is the name of this project because its objective is to work with the farmers to develop the community. This will be a community development project aiming to provide business and financial education to adults in Livingstone District, Zambia. It is a not for profit project, meaning participants will not be charged for taking classes. The project will depend on donations and group business to support the operations.”
In summary, the project will teach basic business and finance concepts to local entrepreneurs who did not complete their education, through a collection of simple and relatable stories. The stories will be contextually appropriate to cultural specifics in Zambia. According to Friday’s plan, “The goal of adult business and financial education project is to provide people with the knowledge they need to turn their daily activities into businesses and make better business decisions, and also for community members to support each other in business. This project seeks to turn ordinary people into entrepreneurs who will contribute to the development of the local economy. For example, if someone is growing tomatoes, someone else can start a business that sells what a tomato farmer need. They can copy the method and apply it in different businesses. I believe this can solve the market problem.”
According to his research, “About sixty-six percent of Zambians live in poverty, and this has a significant effect on access to education and overall wellbeing. The available literature suggests that Zambia faces widespread poverty in rural areas that are linked to the illiteracy rate.
” To combat the poverty and illiteracy in Livingston, Friday wants to start at the root of the issue. Beginning with training, he aims to increase accessibility to education and in the long-term, eradicate poverty in the district through business participation.
Adults who had access to education are more likely to send their children to get an education. Those who were denied the chance due to circumstance or poverty, have lower chances of supporting their child’s learning, thus forcing them to repeat the cycle of poverty.
A key for Friday’s strategy is that is utilizing the community that he grew up in and knows well. “The project creates employment opportunities for locals by uses local instructors who understand the culture, language, and people in the city. Secondly, as the foundation of this project, I was raised in this community, and I know the way of life, and I have been in the same situation as everyone else. Also, from now on, I have taken community development courses, and I have researched how to develop this community, which will help me to develop a better education model. I have also started a farming business that is supporting existing farmers to lead as an example. I hope that when people see how my business is doing will follow the same steps too. I want to use this master’s degree opportunity to learn more about how I can improve my business and help others to do the same” he explains.
Ashinaga staff enjoyed hearing Friday’s presentation. His hard work at school in the last four years greatly helped him in finding his passions and creating a plan that he will implement for the betterment of his community. In September, he will begin an MBA program in Japan. We are looking forward to sharing more of Friday’s accomplishments in the years to come. Congratulations on your graduation!