DOTs' Unconference 2018: What I learnt about Creative Internetwork of Humanity

"Instead of the Internet of things, we should be talking about the internet of humanity." Janet Longmore.


Let me introduce you to this wise woman. Janet is the CEO of DOT. which stands for Digital Opportunity Trust. DOT. is a social enterprise that offers entrepreneurship and leadership training for young people in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

DOTs' 2018 Unconference was held in Kenya at the KCB Leadership Centre in Karen. It brought young social entrepreneurs from the 3 continents together to present their social innovations and share ideas with each other on how to make an impact in their respective countries.

These young participants stood out during DOTs' Impactathons which were short, intensive programs that introduce concepts on social innovation and enterprise and support youth to develop ideas to address specific problems in their communities.


The conference was scheduled to take place from the 17th to the 19th of October. It was an honor to be among the people invited to the first day of the conference. Esther Gathigi, the Country Director of DOT Kenya, gave the opening speech. The theme of the conference was on bridging gender and social barriers in order to build inclusive communities.

Then came Janet Longmore. She spoke of the rise of social businesses. She then introduced us to a new word: talentism which as the name suggests is the use of talent to make an impact in society. According to her, it is talentism that will make a difference. She also highlighted the fact that the internet was not made to connect things; it was made to facilitate communication. So instead of the Internet of Things (IoT) we should be talking about the Internet of Humanity.



On that note she introduced us to the Innojo app - an application whose role is to make sure there are zero barriers to social Innovators everywhere. After her address, there was a panel discussion where 3 former DOT. participants - Aisha from Kenya, George from Tanzania and Dalila from Jordan - joined  Janet and Esther on stage to discuss their experiences as social entrepreneurs.


A wealth of knowledge was exchanged. Aisha is the co-founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, a social enterprise that aims to inspire girls to join the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields through mentorship and interactive training. Aisha told us of her school days where she was one of the three or five ladies in a class of sixty students. This is something I completely resonated with considering there were several times I was the only female or one of three females in my Tech classes in Uni. 

Meanwhile, George runs a Digital services agency called Smartcore Enterprise limited whose vision is to spark creativity in African learners through technology and provide the best learning experience.

He spoke of the fact that we are all content creators, therefore, we should play a part in content creation as Africans. George also suggested that we should find ways of transferring the knowledge we have to a format such as fun educational videos that other people far from us can learn from online .

His last point stuck in most of our minds especially after the MC kept reiterating it. "Don't just give business cards, make friends. If you are my friend, I can make money with you." My take away from this statement was once you build a relationship and cultivate trust between yourself and a fellow human, there is no limit to what you can both achieve working together.


Kamau Mugure was called on to give a short speech right after the panel discussion. I first met Kamau at the Digital Marketing Training by Kuza Biashara. He has always been an inspiring person to listen to.

His sharp memory is also something most of us admire. He greeted almost all the representatives of the African countries that were present in their native language. As Trevor Noah explained in his book Born A Crime  " A shared language says we're the same." You could see how intrigued and attentive the audience became after that. He would do the same with people's names at Kuza, never at once forgetting someone's name.

After Kamau's address, we broke out for the tea break as the first set of entrepreneurs prepared their presentation and other merchandise they would use to explain what their businesses are about. I will list a few of the many social entrepreneurs I managed to visit,



1. Lambert from Kigali, Rwanda. His business helps house helps with their job transition after working for a few years as house helps. They empower them with financial literacy training as well as carpet and basket weaving skills.


2. Raisa Akinyi of Kenya Biocyclers from Kisumu who came with her brother. They breed the black soldier fly insect that is later used to feed on organic waste at dumpsites in Kisumu. Her solution tackles the problem of inefficient waste management systems in Kisumu city. These soldier flies are then used as animal feed for pigs, chicken, and fish, thus creating affordable and consistent feed for farmers.


3. Anisha from the UK. She has created a web platform that links people to social enterprises near them.


4. Bright, a Ghanaian, employs graduates where they start a project with 500 direct and 1000 indirect employees and distributors. His model of business is so unique in that it is scalable depending on the skills of the people he has on board.



5. AmyAnne Smith from Canada. Her project was on sex work in Canada. She gave us a curious story of a lady who had been murdered in Canada. People were against the murder until they found out she was a sex worker. After that, they turned against her and even suggested that maybe she deserved it. AmyAnne found that change of heart repulsive and decided to do something about it. Her idea revolves around building a website that contains information for sex workers as well as a platform where they can share their stories.

6. Steven Ng'omba from Malawi had an amazing learning app which teaches children various classroom subjects through their phones. Steven is an animator and has a team of writers, videographers and designers who have helped the app to get to where it is now. The group is using the app to teach their students alongside actual classes over the weekends.

7. Then I met Deus from Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

I mentioned to him that I was in Dar a few months ago and how I loved the experience. 

We sparked a long conversation during the lunch break where he told me about his project which was about helping farmers access information on modern means of farming through physical and online training.



8. Khalil from Jordan was showcasing a Virtual Reality (VR) game he made. It took me back to 


In Khalil's game you were to look at 3 colors on the floor then walk around and spot those colors around the room. He said that the game is location-based because it works with sensors put in a specific room. If the player walks beyond those sensors, they will not be able to continue playing.



In one day, I got to experience the internetwork of humanity through these young inspiring and innovative entrepreneurs. It got me thinking about how to incorporate more humanity in my entrepreneurship ventures. After all, it is no longer about the internet of things. How do you see yourself combining the internet with helping humanity?

4 comments:

christine maingi said...

Nice article. It is thought provoking: "combining the internet with helping humanity"
luv,
Mum

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thanks Mum 😊. I love you too.

mwende mutisya said...

This is an Interesting and enlightening Read.

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thanks Mwende.

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