Amanda Chew Qian Yi
July 2nd, 2012
Mangoes are the same everywhere. In my 2nd week in Kenya, I was hospitalized at Aga Khan Hospital because of food poisoning when I ate a rotten mango from the supermarket. When I first tasted it, it burned my tongue and tasted spicy. I thought,...
Afro-Asiatic in Kenya
It's funny how life works out. 8 months ago, Nov 2011, I went to the 2011 Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing. There, I met Anne Ikiara, Winner of the 2009 Anita Borg Institute Change Agent Award. Anne is the General Manager of Nairobits in Kenya. Today, 8 months later, I am in Nairobi, Kenya to teach 3D animation in the NGO Nairobits. Nairobits uses Infocomm Technology and multimedia to empower youths from the slums of Kenya. Nairobits selects talented youths from the slums of Kenya and provides them with free technological skills like HTML, CSS, PHP, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash.
Why Nairobits and Kenya? I respect Kenyans and their entrepreneurial spirit. Kenyans recognized the unique need to provide the supply of services in accessible ways for the normal everyday Kenyans. They are the pioneers of mobile technology in Africa, and this spearheads how technology and social empowerment is being done in the developing world. Kenya has the iHub, an incubator for technology that is touted to be Africa’s Silicon Valley. Recognizing the unique need to do technology the Kenyan way, Kenyans have spurned networking and social change platforms like Ushahidi.com, a website that was initially developed to map incidents of violence and peace efforts in Kenya after the post-election violence in 2007. They have M-Farm, a transparency tool for Kenyan farmers where they SMS to get information about the retail price of their products, and find buyers for their produce. Instead of using a technology model that works in the developed world, Kenyans have created their own technology model via mobile technology that works in Kenya. This is why they have been so successful. And the world is watching and learning.
I am honored to be here today, watching and learning from Kenyans.