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I’m back in Nairobi, the iHub of mobile tech world in East Africa, after traveling by bus across most of Tanzania — gorgeous mountains for hours across Maasai land heading for Kilimanjaro. I wish I could go on one of the safaris I heard about from an Australian couple in the airport, who were transported by two weeks in the bush!
Sadly, Tanzania is seeing bigtime power shortages, since hydropower from rivers and lakes is half normal after two years of drought. (Tanzania is 30% bigger than Texas, and Dar Es Saalam has 5M, nearly the population of Rwanda.) We had a fascinating shoot with Global Cycle Solutions. [Jodie Wu CEO is a new TED global fellow, and just back from a talk in Scotland.] Diane shot video and pix of GCS inventor Bernard Kiwia on his roof with his homemade solar water heater that gives hot water to a family of six. He makes a point of using only scrappers, so the poorest villagers could make one. His goal to to teach workshops for those who have ideas but no tools. Now due to the water shortage, Bernard is working on a drip irrigation system for fun. Photocard and instructions come to all $10 donors! I also ordered cell phone chargers for donors, for bike and motorcycle.
I followed Jodie in training her new saleswoman, Maggie in Morogoro (3 hrs No of Dar), who outsold four other sellers combined in her first month at GCS. She was delivering a corn sheller to a new customer who heard about them from a GCS T-shirt and bought one right away! Here’s Maggie carrying the machine in the usual way, with both Jodie and she doing business on their cells. I have another chapter with Jodie making a deal with a PhD farm tools distributor who has advice for young entrepreneurs. I will blog about the African way to do business, which involves careful socializing to test trustworthiness and amazing hospitality if you pass the test. We did and he’s going to be a big asset for GCS.
Before I shot scenes and interviews of GCS in Tanzania and with HeHe in Rwanda I had a long meeting with Open University of NL – also doing social enterprise stories in Nairobi. We could have a worldwide platform for young innnovator videos! We introduced them to iHub and MIT to inspire more young innovators. More on this later.
These stories must be edited soon. The Agency in Rwanda who wants to help us tell one of the stories believes that one story there can inspire lots of youth in what is possible in this new mobile tech environment, and the HeHe, Ltd is a rockstar team there. We hope to show episodes on inflatable screens in the hills and made a deal with a local shooter.
Please send our link to ten friends to expand our donor community? Networking is everything, and it’s already paying off!
I just left Kigali after a busy time videotaping HeHe Ltd, a mobile phone app provider team that started business just nine months ago. They told me about challenges like losing a major client and losing a team member. They’ve been asked to talk about teamwork challenges to an international student group in Kigali organized by Cambridge University, U.K. They have riveting insights about how a team stays creative and bonded.
I also got to talk with a government agency in Kigali who are eager to take story episodes of this young HeHe team to inspire others in rural areas to start their own enterprises in high tech projects! We will do some planning via Skpe in August and think about radio, web and live events to tell insider story segments about Clarisse, Amiri, Diane and Richard who competed at the Pivot25 mobile developer conference in June and had more twitter traffic than any of the other teams. It was Richard’s first trip out of Rwanda and he plans to be first in the next competition.
I also got to meet a Frenchman at the airport who’s doing development work in Sudan. He thinks stories of young innovators should be easy to fund and wants to help!
Jodie is eager to get into the field to see how products are being received and she’s developing another side business in Arusha to provide affordable housing to visitors like me and the fellow who’s coming from the US to shoot a story about what makes an enterpreneur tick — for an ebook written by an educator at harvard. I’ll meet with him in August to learn more.
We are thrilled to announce a Twitter Chat on July 29, 11am for fans of Just a Band, Kuweni Serious,iHub, Afrinnovator, NaiLab, and Media Focus on Africa, to expand audience for YoungWorldInventors.com and web stories of young innovators.We need your ideas, questions and links! We will coordinate the discussion at Media Focus, new partners for YWI.
We are building audience support for webisodes of 3+ minutes about African innovators that inspire and provide how-to guidance – how to develop ideas, organize teams, find mentorship, etc. We need wisdom from the fans of the groups above to guide us.
Diane Hendrix of YoungWorldInventors.com is telling stories of Innovators working across cultures in Africa and the US. Our audiences are young innovators on both continents. We plan to show videos in live and online audiences in Africa and America to trigger more high and low tech solutions to social problems. Do you think stories can trigger innovation?
So join us for a Twitter Chat on July 29th, 11 am to discuss the Qs below:
- What social innovation or start-ups have impressed you? best aspects?
- What are the biggest challenges to starting a sustainable enterprise?
- What resources do you know about (or stories) for mentorship, incubation, team building and $upport?
- How might we connect with more individuals who are interested in becoming social innovators?
Use hashtag #socent after each tweet, so we can post a summary of the discussion.
Just a Band agreed to do music for Young World Inventors. YWI is raising funds from US investors and our Kickstarter campaign. You can help by donating ($1 or more) and passing the word along. Thanks for sharing ideas! Let us know if you want to do this again, and we’ll try to make it happen, across continents.
Today YWI launches a Kickstarter campaign to build our community of innovators and raise funds to shoot and edit ten “insider” web videos — for an interactive site by year’s end 2011. Diane is following teams with her camera from June 23 to August 2 in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Check our KS site out and we hope you will forward to friends. You can be the first to show off Bernard’s cell phone charger powered by a bike, or follow us in the field!
There’s a quiet revolution going on in Africa, and it’s a bright one — read more at our campaign launch page!
We’re very excited here in the editing room about a new collaboration with “Just A Band,” who recently agreed to have their music appear in our videos. “Just A Band” hails from Kenya and is a creation of Jim Chuchu, Dan Muli, and Bill “Blinky” Sellanga. Young World Inventors is very happy to have them on board as they provide us with an eclectic mix of sounds and styles to color our videos with. “We’ve been called a boy band, a rock band (really?), a house outfit, an Afro-electro-pop band,” the group states on their website, “we don’t have any one genre we can classify ourselves in. We like hip-hop, we like rock, we like house, some of us like country and drum and bass – and (hopefully) you’ll find influences of all that in our music.” Check out their music video for “Ha-He” and meet Makmende, Kenya’s first viral internet sensation: