Parity Chizela is a Zambian technological innovator with his finger on the pulse of multiple areas – namely EdTech, FinTech, and AgriTech.
Initially frustrated by a lack of access to resources when trying to pursue hardware development, Parity turned to software development, where with enough determination a simple T9 J2ME feature phone was all it took to get started in learning to code.
Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook inspired Parity by showing him just how much one could build with software alone. Software achievements by Parity to date include a student information system that utilises data science in making schools “smarter”, an e-learning platform for providing vocational and entrepreneurship skills to community members, and a current FinTech project sponsored by the American embassy.
Parity’s team also has an EdTech startup that is one of 12 selected to participate in the Injini EdTech Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Zambia – an opportunity that Parity relishes, as it affords their team the possibility of making it into the sought-after Injini EdTech programme in South Africa.
Innovation is something that Parity feels must walk hand in hand with empathy. Constantly thinking about how their work impacts the lives of others not only gives him the motivation to start projects, but also to pursue their completion when challenges arise and tiredness creeps in.
Along with empathy, embracing every step – including failure – as a lesson pushes him along.
In the next five years, Parity wants to develop an inclusive education system that turns schools into learning start-ups. Additionally, he wants to equip unemployed members of the community with the necessary 21st century skills to sustain themselves and survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution, specifically improving the farming industry by using precision agriculture and innovation to connect farmers with people who have the money to buy their products.
Parity’s vision of the future is inspired by the words of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in which he said that young people should not wait to be told what to do and simply “move with the wind”, but rather provide their own solutions first before turning to other stakeholders, so that they can lead effectively.
In terms of the SADC region’s development through government involvement, Parity wants to see innovative problem-solving and policy flexibility take centre stage so that the region meets the future with minimal disruption.
Parity sees his role in this picture as both an innovator and an ambassador who’ll sensitise people to new technologies and the fact that such technologies are here to stay.
He is of the view that one should ‘be the change they want to see’, and notes that a lot of the time, people get distracted and side-tracked playing the “blame game” when it comes to addressing challenges impacting our communities, when people can with the little that they have get up and do something, as he did, when he started learning to code on a tiny screen, learning the ropes, choosing the right partners and eventually generating an income to create positive social impact. This small step, he says, have enabled him to play a part in “being the change”.