“Why DirectEd?” as told by our CEO Simon Sällström

I was brought up in a stable and loving family in Sweden. But when I was 15, I lived in China for 1 year where experienced first-hand just how fortunate I’d been. This was when I began to think deeply about big questions about our socioeconomic system, the foundations of prosperity and alternative financial systems.

Eventually, this led me to a long academic journey that culminated in me graduating with a masters in economics from the University of Oxford. But seeing the vast landscape of suffering, injustice and cheating enabled by an opaque and unfair system and the potential of what could be if things were done differently, I rejected both the PhD and the corporate 9-5 route. I decided to launch a charity.

The charitable sector is riddled with issues. Though most have the best of intentions, they often fall short in many respects: transparency, cost-efficiency and creating sustainable impact through self-sufficiency.

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We partner with leading online course providers, high schools, and tech companies to identify high-potential Kenyan and Ethiopian students and design a cost-effective, scalable and evidence-based programme focused on equipping students with the most sought-after digital skills on the market.


By specifying scholarships in smart contracts and disbursing stipends only upon sufficient proof of milestone completion, we give donors the ability to independently verify that their donations have gone to the intended person and is used for its intended purpose. We call this radical transparency.


The scientific method is probably the most important invention of humanity. It is our best method for approximating truth that we know of. This is why we work with academic researchers to rigorously evaluate the impact of our scholarship programme from the very beginning.

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