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Building a brighter future.

Healthy Learners is building a future where schools can support the overall health of children. Our model serves as a framework for how Ministries of Health and Education throughout the developing world can improve the health of students, reduce illness-related school absenteeism, and promote learning. This results in a healthier, better educated generation of young people and future leaders.


Change from within

In 2013, Lonnie met fellow co-founder Ignicious Bulongo, then director of the Ministry of Health Ng’ombe Health Facility. Connected by a common mission to address the catastrophic impact of preventable and treatable illnesses on the health, learning and development of school-aged children, they worked together to develop the concept of training teachers as community health workers. This work eventually launched Healthy Learners.


From its inception, Healthy Learners has worked to partner with the government, integrating programs into existing structures of the Ministries of Health and Education, empowering local communities and leveraging data and technology to have the greatest possible impact on the health of the children they serve.

Our Team

Healthy Learners is 160+ staff members strong and works closely with our local government partners. 


Lonnie Hackett, MSc.

CEO & Cofounder

Lonnie is a public health specialist and social entrepreneur.  He has been recognized as a Truman Scholar, Rainer Arnhold Fellow and a member of Forbes 30 Under 30. Lonnie has a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Bowdoin College and a MSc. in International Health and Tropical Medicine from the University of Oxford.


Ignicious Bulongo

VP, Programs & Cofounder

Ignicious spent the first 15 years of his career with the Zambian Ministry of Health, most recently as director of the Ng'ombe Health Facility. Ignicious holds degrees in  hospital management and clinical medicine. He received an advanced diploma in Participatory Learning Methods in Japan through sponsorship by JICA.


Angel Chelwa, MBA

Chief Operating Officer

Before joining Healthy Learners, Angel spent six years with the multinational start-up mPharma. As Managing Director, Angel helped to establish the company's regional presence and oversaw operations in Zambia, Malawi, and Rwanda. Angel holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology as well as a MBA from the University of Zambia


Sarah Bush

VP, Development & Communications

Sarah has dedicated her 20-year career to addressing public health and humanitarian challenges in her roles with the American Cancer Society, where she served as Vice President for a 12-state region, and ShelterBox, an international disaster relief organization, where she was national Senior Director of Development.

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Brian Kayongo

VP, Strategic Partnerships

Brian brings over fifteen years of experience working with local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). His previous roles range from Global Fundraising Manager to Policy and Partnerships lead. Brian holds graduate and postgraduate qualifications in Project Planning and Management.

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Dziko Zimba

Director of People and Culture

Dziko has over a decade of experience running multi-country HR teams in the private and public sectors. He has a successful track record in translating organizational goals into HR initiatives that add value and improve performance across various countries from sub-Saharan Africa to India. He holds a Master’s in International Business from Keele University in the UK. 


Zita Zulu, MBA

Director Supply Chain Analytics

Zita was a 2014 Global Health Corps fellow with Afya Mzuri. She has a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from the Copperbelt University and an MBA from the University of Zambia. Zita is affiliated to the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants as a licentiate member.

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Gabriel Lungu

Finance Manager

Gabriel is a chartered accountant with over 20 years of experiencein the Finance industry. Prior to joining HL, he worked as Project Accountant at Maryland Global Initiative and Finance Manager at Afya Mzuri. Gabriel has a Bachelor's degree in Accountancy from the University of Zambia.


Catherine Samiselo, MPH

Director Partnerships

Catherine has more than 20 years of experience working in public health. Prior to joining HL, she served for five years as Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID funded Zambia Rising Project. Catherine holds an MPH from Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.

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Musa Mtonga

Deputy Director of Programs

Musa is a project management specialist. Prior to joining Healthy Learners, he worked as Program Development Lead for Mary’s Meals. In this role, he supported governments across the region to implement and evaluate school feeding programs. Musa holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Zambia.


Mutinta Mukonde

People & Culture Manager

Mutinta is a human resources professional with over fourteen years of experience. Prior to joining Healthy Learners, she worked as the Human Resources Manager at Tyre King Enterprises. Mutinta has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Cavendish University.

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Steven Malambo

Senior Business Analyst

Steven is a business analytics specialist with experience in project management and data insights. Prior to joining Healthy Learners, he worked for Yalelo fisheries as a Data and Analytics lead and One Acre Fund. Steven has a Bachelors degree in Economics from Mulungushi University and a Masters in Project Management.

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Emmanuel Serenje

Data Management Lead

Emmanuel is a data management specialist. Prior to joining Healthy Learners, he worked for Broadreach and the Institute for Health Measurement, Southern Africa.  Emmanuel holds a B.S. in Computer Science and a Masters of Science in Auditing from the University of Lusaka.

Our Board

Our board brings diverse expertise to the organization, including years of experience working for the betterment of health, education, and people around the globe. These varying perspectives give us the strong support we need to keep furthering our mission.


Lise Johnson, MD


Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Associate Director of the Brazelton Institute at Boston Children’s Hospital.


Deirdre Strachan, MPH, DSc

Vice Chair

Foundation executive and reproductive health specialist who has worked in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia with international non-profit health organizations.


Charlie Johnson, MBA


A retired financial executive with over thirty years’ experience in senior financial and information technology positions in multi-national companies.


Wendy Batson

A development specialist with more than 30 years’ experience planning and managing programs in war-affected regions in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Balkans. 


Patrick Chella, MBA

Experienced co-founder of two innovative start-ups with a demonstrated history of working in sustainable development and finance in Africa and Europe. 


Stephanie Dodson Cornell, MBA

Managing Director at Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation with leadership of DRK portfolio organizations in the U.S., India, Colombia, and Africa.

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Lisa Gomer, JD

Executive leader with extensive project management and legal experience formulating, building, directing and improving international development programs, specifically within fragile states in post-conflict environments.


Cara Endyke-Doran, MSN, MPH, RN

Advance practice nurse leading large integrated health projects focused on improving maternal, child, and adolescent health and strengthening HIV services in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Philip Giannecchini

Chief Financial Officer at Hawk Rock Foundation, supporting over 30 organizations globally. More than ten years of experience in asset management and wealth management.


Chad Rathner, MSc

Chief Operating Officer, m2m and past Deputy Country Director at FHI 360 Zambia, as well as Chief of Party on USAID’s flagship HIV and AIDS Prevention program in Zambia.

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Sanana Mubebo, MSc

Sanana Mubebo, is a Senior Program Officer at The ELMA Philanthropies, has a background in international health and tropical medicine with a Master of Science degree from the University of Oxford

Our Partners

Our work is made possible through partnerships with visionary funders who share our commitment to and passion for our mission.

For a complete list of partners, please see our Annual Reports. 










Simple & effective


Our model has an annual ongoing cost of $1.62 per child, less than 1% of Zambia’s expenditure on education for primary school children.

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