Lifeline Energy

Lifeline Energy is a mission driven non-profit social enterprise that provides technology solutions for off-grid learning. Education is the foundation of a nation’s future and fundamental to every individual’s self-esteem. Achieving universal access to primary education is a Millennium Development Goal. However, millions of children in developing countries do not attend school regularly or at all. The number of out-of-school children is higher for girls than boys.

Lifeline Energy is committed to making educational opportunities broader and more accessible to all. Despite the inroads made by computers, tablets, and smart phones, radio remains the most important communication medium in Africa and other parts of the developing world. It’s not only effective, radio makes learning cost-effective, too. Lifeline Energy has partnered with the Zambian Ministry of Education to sustain the educational system for rural children in Zambia. (www.lifelineenregy.org)

Three Global Social Benefit Fellows spent 9 months in 2013 investigating the impact of Lifeline Energy’s Lifeplayer and how it could best support interactive radio instruction (IRI) to meet the educational needs of poor, underserved children in rural Zambia. The fellows were hosted by the Jesuit Chikuni mission, four hours south of Lusaka, and worked within their network of rural schools. This action research project evaluated the use of Lifeline Energy’s educational technologies, and evaluated and further developed Chikuni mission’s agroforestry/energy poverty education program.




Social Enterprise:
Lifeline Energy

Jack Bird  
Lynsey Cumberford-Palmer  
Laura Ruggles  

Faculty Research Mentor
Dr. Emile McAnanay
Communications (Emeritus)


IRI School Assessment & Recommendations // Lynsey Cumberford-Palmer and Laura Ruggles

The Fellows’ research accomplished three objectives in order to improve the Chikuni Parish Taonga (CPT) program. The first objective was to understand the barriers to education. The Fellows conducted surveys to discover what teachers and community members thought were the biggest obstacles keeping children from going to school. Understanding the root causes of school absenteeism is the first step to fixing it. The second goal was to outline and understand the training and monitoring systems of both the schools and the mentors. The third goal was to find the best ways to support the mentors, schools, and communities to create a positive and productive learning environment.

Content Guide // Jack Bird

This content guide was produced for the purpose of compiling and organizing the information and techniques from Taonga Agro Forestry Programme developed by Bornface Hangala at Chikuni Parish. The guide is meant to aid the future development of a full agro-forestry curriculum by providing a comprehensive list of important topics and methods that can be formed into lessons. It can also serve as useful resource for mentors and students who may need additional information about the concepts presented by the future curriculum.

Program Assessment // Jack Bird

The research of the agro-forestry program was done with the purpose of compiling and organizing the different components of the program itself into a comprehensive guide. The guide is intended to be used as a foundation for future development of a full-fledged agro-forestry curriculum. This assessment takes the research one step further by analyzing the current state of affairs for the agro-forestry program. While the guide presented a full range of concepts, this assessment will analyze where the strengths and weakness lie within the content and the structure of CPT itself.