Awakening the Sleeping Genius: Muzito Trains Innovators Across Borders
“It makes me so happy to hear that someone has improved because I was able to contribute to them. I personally believe that every person has the ability to be a genius.”
Muzito Anthony Kaiso, Regional Training Specialist
Muzito Anthony is an innovator at heart. Since joining Educate! in 2011, he’s been promoted numerous times and helped to launch Educate!’s programs in both Rwanda and Kenya. Today, Muzito plays a crucial role on Educate!’s team as Regional Training Specialist, training staff and integrating sustainability-focused innovations into our program model. We recently caught up with Muzito in Kigali to hear about his journey building Educate!’s teams across three countries.
How did you first get involved with Educate!, and what is your current role?
I became a teacher of entrepreneurship and economics at a secondary school in Western Uganda while I was still in University. A few of my students told me about an entrepreneurship club they had, and I was soon introduced to their Educate! Mentor, Solomon. I began working closely with him to create creative assignments for the students around business and entrepreneurship. Working with him as a young teacher, I was really happy, because I had no idea how to be a great teacher but I knew I wanted to be one.
When a job opportunity came up with Educate!, I debated for a long time if I should apply. As a teacher, you have a strong connection with your students. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I wanted to create impact for more youth. I still stay connected to my old students. In fact, today I actually work with one of them! Juliet is Rwandan but grew up in Uganda, and was an Educate! Scholar. When she heard that Educate! was coming to Rwanda, she called me up so excited because she loved being a Scholar, and I shared with her a job opening. She’s now a Youth Leader and we work closely.
Today, I am the Training Specialist on Educate!’s global team. I train staff across countries and have helped Educate! launch operations in Northern Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. I also work within the monitoring and innovation functions, helping to extract key learnings from our programs to inform our design, such as identifying and integrating key motivators for Educate! stakeholders into our program to support our sustainability strategy.
You helped Educate! expand across borders to Rwanda and most recently Kenya. What is it like to bring Educate! to a new place?
I came to Rwanda to facilitate the start-up of Educate!’s second country office. It was my job to support with recruiting and building Educate!’s newest team. When I first arrived in Rwanda, I set out to align the team to Educate!’s culture, introducing them to our values and processes, and guide them on how key Educate! activities are conducted.
It is such an exciting experience introducing Educate! in a new country, but it is also quite challenging. You have a picture in your mind, but you have to create this vision for others. You have to convince them that what we want to do is possible. This inspires me a lot. Some teachers have a lot of fears, they say “No it’s not possible, students can’t run businesses, they don’t have capital.” I take them from that mindset to one where they are seeing all of the possibilities.
What do you think makes you so good at this job? How do you bring Educate!’s culture to a new country?
One thing I’ve started to recognize is that I have a unique ability to create a sense of family or community. When I was still working for Educate! in Uganda, my home in Jinja was called “Big Brother’s House”. Whenever the field staff would come for regional meetings, they would all stay at my home and everyone would bring something to eat. We would have cooking challenges (and to this day I am still the cooking champion!) It was like we all shared the same language, and that is what I try to bring with me to each new place.
What is most rewarding about your job? What makes it all worthwhile?
Playing a role within an organization that works to empower individuals with the skills to change their lives really drives my work. In Rwanda, we are working to support a better system of education in order to prepare youth for the future. Within my innovations work, I know that the advancements and innovations I make today will have a direct impact on thousands of youth to come. When you see the vision, the mission – it’s something I really believe in. This is my life’s work.
Over the past few years, I have focused intently on developing my skills and supporting my own professional development. I believe that the more I build my own skills and talents, the better I will be able to support and inspire others in realizing their own. I’ve conducted many trainings for Educate! staff across East Africa, and it makes me so happy to hear that someone has improved because I was able to contribute to them. I believe that every person has the ability to be a genius. We all have the same capacity to be anything we want, but I think that some people are awake and others are sleeping. I aim to pinch awake the sleeping genius!