One thing we Africans hold in high esteem is our stories. Since time immemorial, we have passed on our stories and memories from generation to generation. These stories and memories have an impact on the courses we chart for our future.
I’ll give you an example of an African story; the story of achievement.
The story of achievement rings out across a number of African communities from one generation to another. We fondly talk of village heroes; those who left the village to pursue academic achievement in order to change their community. We celebrate them, as a community, when they return. As we celebrate them, we recall the moments and the contributions that the community made to realize this success. Herein lays the secret of African achievement.
A popular African proverb goes: “It takes the whole village to raise a child”. For everyone one success, there’s an entire community behind it! For any one person to succeed, we have to play a role, as part of the larger community.
Let’s look at this in the context of Africa’s vastly untapped potential. Africa is rich in ideas, in creativity, in resources, in inferential and experiential knowledge. This richness means nothing unless we are able to transform them into positive action.
That’s why we created The Kuyu Project.
The Kuyu Project aims at teaching African high school students how to use social media and various other forms of technology to make a positive impact in their communities. We are in essence teaching young Africans how to make use of available online tools and techniques to transform their ideas into positive action. For this to happen, the greater online community with the knowledge of how to use these tools must play a communal role and pass down their knowledge and experiences to the younger generations; just as we do with our African stories.
The beauty and the most exciting thing about it is that this initiative plays a communal role by catalyzing the innovations and solutions of young African minds that have the potential to change and shape Africa’s future.
The foundations of this initiative began when a couple of volunteers and myself organized a digital literacy camp in various schools around our University. One one such occasion we met a young girl called Millicent who aspired to be a pilot. She explained her ambitions with so much passion. A question by one of the volunteers changed her mood: “Do you know how to become a pilot?” asked one of the volunteers. Her face dulled for a moment as she replied no.
For a second I thought about her situation and asked myself: if passion hit me straight in the face, what would I do with/about it? I still don’t have a definite answer to that question but at that moment I had an idea! I took out my web enabled phone and opened Google. I explained to this girl how Google works and how we could use it to help her achieve her dream.
We thought of looking for aviation colleges in the area. So after a couple of searches we were able to find an aviation college in the area, verify its credibility and even find the fee structure for the entire course. Millicent at that moment had the information she was looking for plus a new skill: using Google to find relevant information.
After checking up with Millicent a couple of weeks later, she had applied to the school and had started working on a plan to get the tuition fees. She even went ahead to use her Facebook account to connect with other people pursuing the same dream. She reached out to an online community, similar to our own African communities, to create her own success and to be a part of the larger success story.
Her choice to be part of a larger community makes the difference between her dream and its turning into reality. Our choice to be part of her community by helping her learn how to use technology to achieve her objective made the difference between her dream and its turning into a reality.
Your choice to play a communal role and be a part of the greater African success story; The story of African achievement. Its your call.