Wed, Oct 21, 2020

Karibu Kenya!

Karibu Kenya – ‘welcome to Kenya’ in Kiswahili

In October this year, I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Unconference 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. I spent a total of about 5.5 days in Kenya. It was my first time visiting another African country and I must say it was AMAZING!

Fancy Plane Rides

Although we had a bit of a hiccup very early in the morning at Cape Town International Airport, I still had a good time travelling to our destinations. Basically our 08h30 flight was cancelled and moved to an earlier flight at 07h30! Also this airline split out group so we flew at different time. A slightly chaotic start to our journey but on we went!

I was so impressed Kenya Airlines. The food wasn’t bad but then again it’s airplane food so I wasn’t expecting much. The plane itself looked good, spacious seats, in-flight entertainment, and these fancy shutter-less windows where you push a button and the window would gradually move from transparent to opaque. I had a bit of fun tinting my windows light blue and then very dark blue. It really came in handy when the sun was right by my window.

Giraffes and Shopping

We arrived in Nairobi, Kenya at around 20h00 SA time. Then we had to sit in Kenyan traffic about 45 minutes before arriving at the KCB Leadership Centre where the unconference would be taking place. The next day (Tuesday) was our only opportunity to do some sight-seeing. We decided to visit 2 places: The Giraffe Centre and The Hub Karen.

Residence building
Where we went for meals

{click the arrow on the right to scroll through the below photos, it includes a video of me feeding giraffes}

The Hub Karen
Statues in the centre of the courtyard

The DOT Unconference

There were over 120 participants from 13 different countries.

Theme: INCLUSIVITY: Bridging gender and social barriers to build inclusive communities.

The DOT Unconference was held over the next 3 days from Wednesday to Friday. There were sessions running throughout the day and many of them held at the same time. Therefore, youth delegates and staff had to decide which ones looked the most interesting and in that way create their own Unconference experience.

I was not expecting the sessions to be so diverse, intense, and fun. The first half of Day 1 was dedicated to the Social Innovation Showcase.  The South African Youth delegates (3) were from the Grow Leadership Academy from RLabs. The youth of world are doing some amazing things!  I saw ladies turning waste into carbon and making beehives out of that material, making soap and beauty products, teaching young girls to create bracelets and coasters.

I saw youth selling their own brands of organic tea, creating music and art spaces, giving youth a chance to complete their schooling after dropping out, and teaching school kids innovative and different ways of solving problems using games like chess or rubric’s cubes. It was almost overwhelming to see all the ideas in one space, luckily they were done in 2 groups before and after lunch.

The rest of the day was dedicated to 2 sets of sessions. One of them being the Innojo Platform, where you can register as an Innovator or Supporter.

Day 2 and Day 3 consisted of session being held as early as straight after breakfast until about 16h30.

Some of the sessions I attended:

The G Word – A difficult but stimulating session where we will work through preconceived notions, biases, and uncomfortable conversations and come out with a tool kit and resources created for and by youth who are and will be having conversations about gender online and offline. (Such a fun and important session)

Rope Making and the Environment – Learn how to make ropes out of polyethylene, a cleaner technology to help protect the environment. (I actually made a headband out of plastic in this session)

3D Printing for Your Social Innovation – Come try out 2D printing as a tool for prototyping or developing your social innovation. (The facilitator printed two objects before the session was over)

Self Care for Social Entrepreneurs – Dive into self care for social entrepreneurs, and how to make sure we are taking care of ourselves while changing our communities. (An emotional and powerful session)

On Day 3 I was actually assigned to be a room monitor for various sessions but I still got to sit in on the sessions which were great. After supper each night there would we after hours activities such as games, karaoke, and on the Friday night we had a Culture Evening where each country had 5 minutes to showcase their country through dance, song, poetry, talk, cultural dress, etc.

The Unconference was an amazing experience that I will never forget! Next year it is going to be called the DOT Summit.

And then it was time for the long (and beautiful) journey home…


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