Youth Igniting Change: USAID eSCMIS Project’s Youth-Driven Success in Health Care Supply Chain Transformation

Mar 28, 2024

USAID’s electronic Supply Chain Management Information System (eSCMIS) project is not merely a digitization endeavor in the implementation of the Zambia Ministry of Health’s (MOH’s) electronic Logistics Management Information System (eLMIS); it is also playing a vital role in youth development. The project has taken a proactive approach to workforce development, placing a strong emphasis on engaging and empowering young professionals. The project strategically incorporates these professionals into key roles, including Software Development, Finance, Procurement, Monitoring and Evaluation, Information Technology, and Operations. This fosters a dynamic and innovative workforce, aligning seamlessly with the digital transformation goals of the project.

Diana Ndhlovu, Software Developer intern

Diana resolving eLMIS issues

Diana Ndhlovu, a Software Development intern in the Management Information Systems department, sheds light on her pivotal role in the project: “As a software developer, my role involves improving the functionality of the eLMIS system, making it effective, running as it should, and making it user-friendly.” She passionately supports the eLMIS help desk in addressing challenges faced by facilities, such as upgrading USAID DISCOVER Project hubs with the latest version of the eLMIS. Diana graduated in 2021 and, reflecting on her journey, she says that her “previous internships were not challenging in terms of software engineering.” She goes on to say: “Joining the USAID eSCMIS project has allowed me to put into practice what I studied and experience work I am truly passionate about.”

Malambo fixing laptop

Malambo Buleze, IT intern

Malambo Buleze, an IT intern, speaks of his responsibilities: “I have been tracking eLMIS inventory across all provinces, providing IT support to facilities, and ensuring no lags in eLMIS system implementation.” Envisioning the future, Malambo says: “The hands-on experience will help me open my own company supporting organizations transitioning from paper-based to digital systems and enhancing systems like eLMIS.”

Natasha Chilemu, a Finance intern, emphasizes the significance of her role: “This internship opportunity is laying a foundation for my career, because I am getting to understand how finance works and the different things that need to be in place for financial procedures to run smoothly.” Natasha is actively learning how to process payments and is gaining invaluable insights into the finance world.

Natasha Chilemu, Finance intern

Young professionals like Diana, Malambo, and Natasha bring diverse skills and fresh perspectives, ensuring the project is agile and innovative. The inclusive approach fosters a workforce equipped to contribute to the sustainability of the project and navigate the complexities of digital supply chain management, positively impacting the availability and accessibility of essential health care products in Zambia.

By actively engaging and empowering young professionals, the project is becoming a catalyst for broader socioeconomic development. The infusion of fresh ideas and skills not only propels the health care supply chain into a new era, but also lays the groundwork for a more resilient and innovative workforce in Zambia. The infusion of youthful energy and perspectives stimulates local innovation, creating a fertile ground for entrepreneurship and technological advancement within the community.

Malambo Buleze’s vision of establishing his own company to support organizations transitioning to digital systems exemplifies the potential for external impact. As the young professionals involved in the project venture into their own entrepreneurial endeavors, they will become drivers of economic growth and job creation in Zambia. Their success stories can inspire others aspiring to entrepreneurship, thus creating a cycle of innovation and prosperity.

It is clear that the eSCMIS project’s external impact goes beyond the immediate scope of health care supply chain digitization. It is sowing the seeds of innovation, entrepreneurship, and community development. By nurturing the potential of young professionals, the project is both transforming the health care landscape and catalyzing a positive change that resonates throughout Zambia, promising a brighter and more sustainable future for all.