Sunday, November 28, 2021

Melissa Tafila; Botswana’s Leading Entrepreneur and Role Model

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Melissa Tafila is a digital specialist, entrepreneur and the recipient of the Orange Social Venture Prize, 2016 for the digital learning management company she co-founded called Conexus.

melissa tafila
Melissa Tafila

A native of Gaborone, Botswana, Melissa is seen as a talented youth role model for both children and young adults in Botswana and Africa at large. She is currently the Managing Director of the company Conexus and through this company, she works to achieve her dream of transforming the educational system through digitalization.

Conexus is a Botswana based company founded by Melissa Tafila and Ostile Tafila which focuses on improving the value of education primarily through digitalization. The company provides an educational software that offers quality education/ learning materials for primary, junior and secondary schools.

The company also established and runs a learning centre in Gaborone, Botswana which provides education learning materials and consultation for students in primary, junior and secondary schools. In 2016, Conexus company won the Orange Social Venture Prize. The company bagged the award of the best local submission.

That was the first time since the inception of the Orange Social Venture Prize that it would have a category called the Best Local Entry as the prize is usually awarded at the regional (Africa and Middle East) level. The prize awarded was P20,000 cash money and electronic tablet given to each of the co founders of Conexus; Melissa Tafila and Ostile Tafila. Melissa received the awarded presented by the CEO of Orange Botswana, Dr Patrick Benson on behalf of Conexus in December, 2016.

Ever since her company won the Orange Social Venture Prize in 2016, she has received more visibility for herself and her company in Botswana and even Africa. In 2018, she became a part of the Orange Digital Schools Project; a social project organized by Orange Botswana to improve access to education of students in 50 different primary schools in Botswana. This project, headed by Dr Patrick Benson, the CEO of Orange Botswana is aimed at improving digital education in the country and is being carried out in collaboration with the government.


The first school to benefit from this project was the Sedibe Primary School in Damochojenaa where a digital kit was donated. This digital kit was composed of 50 tablets and 50 tablet cases, 11 multi socket adaptors, 1 projector, 1 screen, 2 raspberry Pi servers containing educational content that can easily be accessed through WiFi connection among others. Melissa Tafila was the person who converted the educational materials into an electronic format and stored this format in the servers.


These educational materials come in the form of images, games, animations and interactive texts and has shown to be an effective method for students to retain knowledge that they gain from learning. In June 2019, as part of the Orange Digital Schools project, she trained the teachers and students of Mmaphashalala primary school Botswana. She posted a picture of her time in the school on her twitter page declaring that the school was officially a digital school.


In March 2019, Conexus under the management of Melissa Tafila entered into a partnership with Orange Botswana. This partnership facilitated the company’s movement into the digital space with the creation of a mobile application. This application is called the Aflega Mobile Educational Service and it allows students to access information for preparatory tests in selected subjects like maths and science from their mobile phones. The app is available for both primary and secondary school students and it is predicted to bring about a revolution of education in Africa. She was also an active participant of Botswana’s 1st National Researchers Conference which held in October 2018 with the theme “Igniting Research Dialogue for Societal Change- New Pathways Towards a Knowledge Economy”. This conference had many keynote speakers including Professor Mohammed Sharif from the University of Putra, Malaysia.

Melissa Tafila is a fervent believer in Christianity and is often seen on twitter and Facebook sharing bible verses and christian views. She also believes in equality of both sexes. She is married with children although not much is known about the details of her family. Melissa continues to inspire her community through her dedication, hardworking and success in her field.


Read Also: What Women Can Do To Break The Glass Ceiling

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