Here are some of the things that I noticed and started thinking about as I spoke to Doreen.
1. Building company culture is a never-ending project. The work never ends--but that’s the good news.
What stood out about Ubongo is its consistency in emphasizing learning. As a start-up, novel problems are the norm on the day to day and solving them correctly is critical. From its inception, Ubongo prioritized having employees who valued learning and building a culture that allowed them to learn effectively and solve problems within the organization. This component of their culture was then consistently demonstrated at all levels of the company--starting with the leadership. Though we cannot discount other factors for Ubongo’s success and continued growth today, we can confidently say that the learning culture is a driving fuel behind it.
2. Company culture goes beyond internal works
For a long time, I thought company culture is an internal function of an organization--until this conversation. Doreen points out how Ubongo’s one track mind and commitment towards their vision to “use top quality, localized edutainment to help Africa's 440 million kids learn, and leverage their learning to change their lives” permeates all aspects of how they conduct business both internally and externally. Their mission not only guides the decisions they make on who to employ, but also who to partner with. I find this to be a very impressive adherence to a company’s core value and an equally useful approach to guide decisions.
3. If you are a parent--start thinking about your child’s education differently.
For a long time, parental presence in education entailed attending parent-teacher meetings, helping the child with their homework, and making sure other provisions were available. Though it’s great for parents to be involved in those ways, I see a need for them to be involved differently in their children’s education--especially in our East African context. We are already aware our educational systems are lacking and that they are a long way from an upgrade (with the exception of Kenya who has deployed the CCC curriculum)--hence the gap between current child learning and expected learning outcomes for 21st century skills is huge! Programs like Ubongo are helping tremendously in bridging that gap, but they cannot go at it alone. Parents are part of the equation in bridging that gap. Understandably, they are a busy lot--with having to provide a living for families. However, finding ways to enrich and support children learning at home (here are some ideas), will go a long way in preparing our children.
Doreen's Book Reccomendation