Information and Communication Technology unlocks hidden talents. That is what happened to eLearning Africa participant Lois Mvula. She used to be a cleaner at a teachers’ college. Now she leads an IT technical team at the college. Here is her very personal story.
By Lois Mvula
I am a Zambian woman, 40 years old and first born in a family of six.
I started working for NISTCOL [the National In-Service Teachers’ College affiliated to the University of Zambia], in 2001 as a hostel attendant (cleaner). The college secretary introduced me to computers in 2002 and I developed a keen interest. In 2005 I applied for computer application programmes at a private training centre in Lusaka on self-sponsorship.
After completing the computer application programmes, I continued working as an office orderly until 2006 when the development agency VVOB [the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance in Belgium] introduced ICT at the college. It was at this point I realised the importance of IT education. The NISTCOL Administration and VVOB helped me to improve my knowledge by sponsoring me to study Computer Hardware Maintenance and IT Essentials with CISCO Networking under the University of Zambia. Afterwards I went to do an International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL).
In 2008, I went on with further studies. I did ICT Teaching Methodology at the Technical & Vocational Teachers’ College (TVTC). After completing these courses I was appointed as a Computer Lab Manager (Technician) and IT trainer. I worked closely with VVOB to set up IT labs at NISTCOL and other colleges of education. I have also worked closely with VVOB to offer IT technical support to IT responsible persons and other lecturers in colleges of education around the country.
These opportunities have motivated me to continue with my computer studies. Now you can see how Information and Communication Technology nurtured my talents and skills. I enjoy my work as an IT Technician leading a staff of three computer technicians. Two of them came from humble backgrounds to become IT Technicians. I repair, assemble and re-assemble computers and supervise the maintenance of the IT equipment in the college. This has become more than just my professional work. It has become my hobby.
I urge fellow women going through difficult times not to indulge themselves in alcohol and drug abuse or run away from their responsibilities but to go back to school and acquire skills that will help us become responsible to our families and our nation.
A number of Zambians committed to education and quality schooling have returned to school. Girls and young women who return to school are helping to beat poverty and inequality.