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Student Stories: Digital Livelihoods in Malawi


Konexio and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) launched the Digital Inclusion Program (DIP) in Malawi in 2019, training sixty refugee students in online freelancing. As a capacity builder,  Konexio trains instructors, who in turn train the refugee students living in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. The students, 29 percent of whom are women, earn on average $500 per month.



Now a DIP instructor, Stan joined the program’s inaugural cohort in fall 2019 and subsequently launched a successful freelancing career. Having studied engineering in his home country of the Congo, which he eventually fled due to insecurity, Stan held a bachelor’s degree in networks and telecommunications when he arrived alone in Malawi in 2017.


A newcomer to Malawi, Stan found more professional opportunities working in or opening a store than in the tech sector.


In Malawi, Stan studied computer programming through the App Factory, an initiative spearheaded by Microsoft and the UNHCR. He subsequently enrolled in DIP, which consists of a three-month theoretical curriculum followed by a three-month practicum. The curriculum runs the gamut from basic digital skills (online word processing and internet connectivity) to advanced concepts (freelance platforms and data processing), as well as soft skills relevant to online freelancing.


DIP’s training emphasizes practical applications through active learning. Students work on assignments that emulate offers that would be found on freelance platforms. At the end of the training, students receive a freelancing certification based on an assessment.


After completing DIP, Stan began his freelancing career with a focus on translation, which ultimately granted him a life-changing professional autonomy; he is now married and has a home of his own.

“This program has changed my life. Konexio and JRS’ program allowed me to make use of the skills I already had and equipped me with the tools to find work on freelancing platforms. Today, I am able to share the skills I learned from the training to help the Dzaleka community.”

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