Ashenafi Kebede has been working with ET Learns in Ethiopia for more than two years, and connecting students with technological education is his passion.
"It is very interesting to work and promote (technological) activities in Subsaharan Africa. It is the poorest part of Africa (and so) we are working to change life," Ashenafi said.
Not only does Ashenafi keep all 18 of our local operations running, he also works at a Wolaita university teaching computer science. He teaches two courses focusing on programming, and has connections with many of the local schools we partner with to install Learning Labs.
With Ashenafi's help, our information is up-to-date and we can fix problems immediately as they arise.
Founder Bill Graff met Ashenafi around three years ago. Initially, Ashenafi joined ET Learns as a volunteer, passionate about helping local students learn. Bill then hired him on because he "needed his technical skills and willingness to serve."
"We can't do this without some technical support," Bill said. "He's done wonderful."
Graff said Ashenafi sets himself apart because he isn't a "me-first" person.
"He didn't ask for anything for himself, he asked for things for somebody else. He's the key facilitator, without him we wouldn't be at the right place at the right time with the right people to keep it all together."
Ashenafi keeps busy for ET Learns by visiting our Learning Labs regularly, assisting in their maintenance, communicating with school principals, and writing proposals for new projects.
He says his favorite part of his job is interacting with students and watching them learn as they use new technology.
"Bringing the kids and youngsters to technology and helping technology assist the students (is my favorite part)," Ashenafi said. "Besides that, ET Learns technology is easier for students and teachers (to learn)."
Having Ashenafi makes a world of difference for ET Learns, and sets us apart from other non-profit organizations largely led by non-local leaders. And Ashenafi isn't the only Ethiopian we work with - we have 22 local student-volunteer coordinators and each school has a local lab supervisor.
We're proud to utilize Ethiopia's local talent who are just as excited about technological learning as we are.