Showing posts with label IoT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IoT. Show all posts

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?

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Building Digital Footprints

"When you are on a lonely path, make sure you leave a trail so no one ever feels lost on that path"
 by Sriram Bharatam CEO & Founder of Kuza Biashara.

Are you a trail blazer?

Last year I actively embarked on a journey. A journey towards social media and digital marketing. I shared a bit of my experience  here with you.

However, at some point I felt overwhelmed and my social media activity tanked. This is because my efforts to boost my online presence did not seem to pay off. It also felt lonely because I had not identified someone who I could journey with.

#SheGoesDigital Team

2017 came with it's share of blessings though. Along with other 49 ladies. I got shortlisted as a beneficiary of a free social media/ digital marketing skills training by Kuza Biashara. In partnership with International Trade Center.

The selection process was very rigorous and it was  humbling when I received a congratulatory email. On our first day we were told that we had been selected out of an applicants pool of around 600 ladies. That, proof enough that many people are embracing Digital and Social Media Marketing as potential career paths.

I am very grateful to Kuza Biashara for the opportunity they granted us. I finally got to meet like minded people who were experiencing similar challenges. True to his words,Sriram had left a trail behind so that we would never feel lonely on that path again.

We are now spoiled for choice on who to pick as accountability partners. In addition to that Kuza Biashara is willing to support us, even after the training as we continue working on our digital marketing endeavors. 

Thank you Sriram

I did not pay attention to how many days were left for the training to end so when it was announced that it was coming soon. My heart sank. I will really miss the #shegoesdigital team.

The sessions were so informative, interesting and engaging. Special thanks go to Paul Hughson the awesome trainer that took us through a huge percentage of the trainings. His attention to detail and ability to draw examples globally and locally was impeccable. 


One exciting topic we learnt from Paul was Phygital Marketing. Phygital marketing combines popular trends in physical marketing and digital marketing.

Imagine doing your shopping while waiting for your ride home. Tesco now known as Homeplus banked on Korea's busy lifestyle.They brought virtual stores where the people were. Which was at the subway stations.

The only requirement was to own a smart phone. This is because they would need to use smart phones to shop by scanning the QR code of the images of the items they wanted to purchase on posters stuck on the subway walls.

The online purchase would then be delivered to them once they got home. As a result online sales increased tremendously.

Another store that has really worked on it's phygital marketing is Amazon. So cool!

Then there was James Keru the guy who cheered us on. He was the instructor that engaged the most with our content. Commenting on everyone's posts, after we created blog posts and wrote articles on LinkedIn

His words of encouragement and tips on how to improve will go a long way.  My take home from Keru was that it is better as a blogger  to write one article well than to hastily write many low quality ones. His success on Kuza Biashara's  blog also set a great example. It was evident that he actually did what he preached.

Since this is an Art and Tech blog. I will be sharing some of the tips I learnt during the training here with you so stay tuned. You could also subscribe to this blog so that you can receive updates on new posts directly as they come.


We all need the ability to communicate effectively and build rapport with our online audience. That way they will be more receptive when we introduce a new product or idea to them. This is where Avni Shah came in. She introduced NLP  (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to us.

We all looked forward to her exciting sessions. She always kept us engaged. The sessions revolved around concepts such as building rapport, eye patterns and perceptual positions just to mention a few.

These concepts are very important for anyone who talks and deals with other human beings, which is all of us. Just be careful when we meet and I ask you a question.

There are specific eye patterns that can help someone tell if you are lying or trying to recall a past experience. Alternatively you could try extend your blinks so that I don't tell if you are lying 😉. I will really miss Avni and her fun sessions.

Avni and Mariam (a fellow trainee) during one of the sessions

 Social media is facilitating online communication in a big way. Which is an important thing in this age where more and more people want to be their own bosses. and even more want to build their personal brands.

The sessions during my time as a Digital and Social Media Marketing Trainee at Kuza Biashara taught me many things. I can only mention so much on this post.

However more follow up posts are coming soon. So stay tuned, better yet drop your email address on the subscription box on the far right side of this blog for updates on new content.

Special thanks also go to Mugure, Vaines,  Esther, Julius, Cleopatra, Stanley, Yvonne, Chris and my fellow ladies for your awesomeness. You are all gems in my life. For all those who organized this training directly or indirectly we are grateful and we will always remember the sacrifices you made for us. Lots of love from me to you.

AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya
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