Africa Gathering Washington DC Wrapup
So I was off to my first event of the Digital Capital Week or better known as DCWEEK this Saturday morning and made it with a thirty minutes delay to the Kenny Auditorium at the SAIS building of John Hopkins University on Massachussets Ave. I got my brother-in-law to tag along for once and we got a warm greeting from the Africa Gathering staff on site and were relieved to find out that in fact, the event had not yet started due to the main organizer Marieme Jamme being lost in the DC streets. This must have been one if not the only time I thanked DC’s convoluted street system. In any case we were there for the start of the event and when Marieme showed up, she wasted no time in getting the event going in her energetic, determined style.
She gave us a detailed background on Africa Gathering, how it started in London cafe and aims to give African people a voice and a way to communicate with each other. I did not understand the meaning of her words until the end of the afternoon but back to Africa Gathering, after her quick introduction, Marieme got the event first presenter introduced and set to present. We got to witness and interesting presentation from the Global Conversations team at the State department highlighting their social media outreach efforts, followed by a presentation of the Diaspora African Women Network whose mission is to “develop and support talented women & girls of the African diaspora focused on African affairs”. Semhar Araia the founder, born in America from Eritrean parents was very passionate about her cause and it translated well into the audience.
Next one started with a good laugh courtesy of Kemdi Ebi at VoteOrQuench, an online initiative “made up of 4 young, like-minded and motivated young Nigerians – 2 guys and 2 girls – who’ve never actually been in the same room at the same time but share the same belief that change MUSThappen and understand that they can either Vote or Quench”. Kemdi Ebi was inspiring hearing him explain how they were able to make somewhat of a difference in getting young Nigerians involved in the political process by getting to to register to vote and hopefully turn out on Voting Day. This is a continued effort so I am expecting more out of this team. VoteOrQuench was followed by Kathering Lucey of Solar Sister, which on top of being a somehow cool name, is a non profit operating in Uganda on a Avon Ladies of solar energy platform. Basically Solar Sister empowers women in rural Uganda through Entrepreneurship in a bag. Through Solar Sister, they are able to purchase a bag of solar lamps and re-sell for profits in their villages. It was definitely an interesting talk and project which got a lot of the audience’s attention.