Swahilipot Hub Boardroom

Setting standards in Community Governance: Announcing the Swahilipot Hub Community Council

Swahilipot Hub Boardroom

277 days have gone by since 20th December 2017 when we formally launched a Community Governance Initiative at Swahilipot Hub. This initiative was intended to achieve two things:

  1. grant community members the opportunity to share their experiences on engaging with Swahilipot
  2. create an opportunity for members to participate in drafting and implementing ideas to grow and strengthen Swahilipot Hub

Since then, a Community Governance committee has surveyed the community to identify needs and criticisms that we could respond to. These responses were summarized into a report and actioned by various sub-committees. More details on this process is described in this previous blog post.

I’m grateful to the committee that has led this process this far. Thank you to Mwanahamisi Adam, Francis Ikoha, Vincent Ouma, Jamila Hassan Awadh, Kelvin Omondi (Ohms Law Montana), Simon Adeya, Rajab Salim (Malenga 001), Britone Mwasaru and Angela Mumbi.

Community Governance Transition into a Community Council

After reflecting on the lessons resulting from this process and after discussions with community members and the board, Swahilipot Hub has decided to conclude the Community Governance Initiative by adding a Community Council to our governance structure.

Our intention in creating this council is to strengthen Swahilpot Hub’s governance by giving community members a platform to participate in decision making.

We are putting our community members fully in charge of the health, growth and governance of our community.

So what does the Community Council look like and how does it work?

The Swahilipot Hub Community Council is comprised of people who care about their community and want to make it more vibrant and active. These individuals are themselves active in Swahilipot Hub community activities and programs.

The council will be composed of 5 elected councillors and 1 Executive Committee member in the person of the Director of Community and Engagement.

To be nominated to stand for election as a candidate for Councillor, one must:

  • be 18 years of age or over (by the date of the close of nomination)
  • have his/her name appearing on the current register of community members
  • have been an active member of Swahilipot Hub for a period not less than six months
  • have no criminal record
  • show a record of activities one has been involved that has benefited the community in one way or another
  • be nominated by 10 registered community members who have been active for at least six months

Once elected, Community Councillors will serve a one year term.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Community Council

  1. Resolve community conflicts and handle disciplinary cases.
    It is common for a community that lives and works together to have conflicts arise among its members. The council shall convene to listen to and resolve the arising conflicts. They will do this guided by the Swahilipot conflict resolution document.
  2. Conduct community surveys to determine arising issues and respond to them.
    The needs of the community are bound to evolve. It is therefore the mandate of the council to constantly determine the changing need and plan suitably to meet them.
  3. Conduct crowdfunding sessions for community programs.
    The community members often come up with projects that are steered towards helping them grow and develop in their respective talents. It is therefore the responsibility of the council through various means to avail the most basic of resources to ensure their success.
  4. Organize community programs and activities e.g Team building, Charity, Tournaments.
    To attain the goal of a vibrant community, activities are very important. It is therefore important for the council to plan for activities that bring the community together. Examples of activities they can plan for are team building, charity events, tournaments and activities to mark the world celebration days like International day of peace, world tree planting day, etc
  5. Highlight success stories.
    Creating success stories is a key goal of Swahilipot Hub. Its however unfortunate that some of the stories go unnoticed. It will be the responsibility of the council to identify and highlight the stories of growth and success among the members.
  6. Spearhead the sensitization of community members.
    An informed community is a resourceful community. It will be on the shoulders of the council to ensure that the community get all the necessary information they need to grow.

Other roles and responsibilities will be adopted as ideas from candidate manifestos receive acceptance and endorsement from community members

Community Council Elections

Community Council elections will be held annually and will follow a one year cycle. Where necessary, By-Elections will be conducted to fill vacancies that arise.

The first Community Council Elections will be held in December 2018 and will be conducted by the Director of Community and Engagement.

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There are many innovation hub’s and communities and Kenya and the larger East Africa but we believe we are one of the few, if not the only hub that has empowered our community members and strengthened our governance by giving community members a decision making role.

We are eager to implement the council and share lessons of this process with other institutions as our contribution to developing a strong innovation ecosystem in the region.

Interning at Swahilipot Hub

My name is James Omego Marcus, currently a fourth year student at Pwani University pursuing a degree in Computer Science majoring in Networking. The first thing that always comes to my mind when I hear “Swahilipot hub “ is the welcome talk given to us by Mr. Paul Akwabi when we toured Swahilipot hub in 2017 when I was a third year, it was a class trip. Since that day I loved Swahilipot and I knew that it was the place to be and that’s why when my time for attachment arrived I applied for internship at Swahilipot, luckily enough I was accepted as an Intern.

Starting my attachment from 15th of May to 5th of August I learned and gained a lot as an intern at Swahilipot over that period. To begin with ,the simple basics of understanding how the real world operate away from the class work to gaining more skills adding on top of whatever I had been taught in class.

Over this time I was able to learn and turn into a pro of building word press websites something that I hadn’t tried back at school,I managed to build one website for an non-profit organization called Dear Diary and the URL to the website is www.deardiarykenya.co.ke.

As an aspiring Network Engineer I can never forget the experience and resources that Swahilipot did invest in Me. The Network Admin Mr. Joab Kose gave me full authorization to the network resources and this did help grow my experience as far as CISCO switches and routers are concerned. He taught me how to troubleshoot the network whenever we had network related issues and most of the time this task was given to me. This greatly gave me hands on skills of network management and network troubleshooting.

Since networking is also going the programmable way, my supervisors did not let me just sit there, they had me registered for Python programming language since it is the language that is mostly used in network programming and network security. In this course I took python programming essentials and at the end of the course I was issued with a certificate. It gave me lots of knowledge in python programming and this is just the beginning.

Seeing the passion that I had in networking Swahilipot hub IT department decided to do something that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life and it is for this reason that I’ll remain a “POTTER” forever . I was sponsored into the CISCO NETWORKING ACADEMY. A times it is difficult to express how happy and appreciative I am for this chance but I believe that someday I’ll give back just as I was given a chance by the “POTTERS”.

The day that I came for an interview at Swahilipot I was asked a question by Swahilipot hub ICT manager Mr. Britone Mwasaru he did ask my expectations from Swahilipot ,well I answered the question without fumbling because I knew exactly what I wanted. I told him I wanted to get hands on skills inn networking and to become a python programming guru. If today he’d ask me again if I achieved my expectations I’ll reply YES ,all of my expectations have been fulfilled and the stack is overflowing. Because I’ve had all that I wanted to get plus extra,ranging from switches and router to configuring access points to trunking to crimping to installing CCTV cameras to network management plus certifications on top of that I’ve had it all.

There’s one major thing that really impressed me about Swahilipot that would make me recommend someone who need attachment to consider applying Swahilipot hub. The level of support from the Swahilipot hub community is amazing, everybody there has the heart to help you grow and to make you follow your dreams. You’ll not be totally defeated by something without getting help not unless you don’t ask for help.

For me Swahilipot hub will forever remain my home and I’ll be there too to help others grow just as I was helped to follow my passion in networking. “Am a Potter for LIFE”.

 

Written by James Omego Marcus

Malaika Kidz Fashion Academy

Malaika Kidz Fashion started as a Kids Fashion Show in the year 2016 with a total number of 20 kids and in the year 2017 the total number of kids raised to 26.

It has since held successful fashion shows at Swahilipot Hub with talented and great designers from Kenya and Tanzania, makeup artists and rocking the runway were our very own trained kids from Malaika.

Malaika Kidz Fashion Academy aims to discover and nurture kids fashion talents in Kenya and Africa plus enhancing discipline amongst young generation.

The curriculum includes:

  • Catwalk
  • Etiquette
  • Posing technique
  • Public speaking and voice-over skills
  • Art Creativity

Here is a video with Angela Mumbi and Mohammed Mwaruwa

Swahilipot Hub joins Afrilabs

Swahilipot Hub has joined Afrilabs. AfriLabs is a network organization of 100 innovation centers across 30 African countries. It supports hubs to raise successful entrepreneurs that will create jobs and develop innovative solutions to African problems.

For Swahilipot Hub community, this is an opportunity to learn and share experiences with the community around the continent. The network will help us achieve our main goal which is to help the community members help themselves. The Afrilabs shares resources and opportunities that will benefit and grow our community.

We look forward to meet  and learn from the network members while attending the annual Afrilabs gathering this year.

Swahilipot Hub Team Strategy Retreat

Changes to Swahilipot Hub Mission, Team and Programs

On Wednesday 9th May, 2018, the Swahilipot team led by the board held a half day Strategy Retreat at Hotel EnglishPoint to consider three things: the organization and its mission, the Executive team, and the programs we undertake.

We made a number of changes with regard to these three themes so let’s look at them in depth.

The Organization

After reflecting on our role and unique position in the innovation ecosystem, we unanimously agreed to change the mission to the following:

Swahilipot hub exists to help the community to develop themselves.

What this means concretely is that Swahilipot Hub aims to help the community grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate in their skills, character or with their ideas.

How will we do this?

  1. Success stories – We will work to develop more successes from the ideas and initiatives that community members work on.
  2. Avail resources – We will work to avail more resources to community members that will help them achieve their ends.
  3. Vibrant community – We will work to create a supportive community with a strong collaboration culture so that you can work with others to advance your goals.

The Team

Over the past year the board and team have worked to Swahilipot Hubs’ efficiency by putting in place structures and systems. These systems are only as good as the people who oversee them and as such, we decided to make the following changes to the team so that we’re better able to meet our targets.

== Executive Team ==

*Please Note: All Executive Team members report to the Executive Director. The Executive Director reports to the Board.

  1. Executive Director – Fatma Mkwariza
  2. Chief of Staff (Legal, HR, Operations) – Asma Al-Amin
  3. Director of Technology – Britone Mwasaru
  4. Director of Arts – Stephanie Maseki
  5. Director of Community & Engagement – Angela Mumbi
  6. Director of Marketing & Communications – Jamila El-Jabry
  7. Director of Development – Ruth Kaveke
  8. Director of Finance – Robert Katavi
  9. Technical Director – Joab Kose
  10. Administrative Director – Francis Ikoha

== Subordinate Staff ==

*Please Note: Subordinate Staff are not members of the Executive Team

  1. Mumina Saad – Receptionist (Reporting to Asma Al-Amin)
  2. Sakina Malik – Receptionist (Reporting to Asma Al-Amin)
  3. Issa Ziri – Programs Assistant – Technology (Reporting to Britone Mwasaru)
  4. Hussein A. Hussein – Programs Assistant – Arts. Also responsible for Security and Protocol. (Reporting to Stephanie Maseki and Francis Ikoha)
  5. Shufaa Yakut – Communications Assistant (Reporting to Jamila El-Jabry)
  6. Simon Adeya – Administrative Assistant. Also responsible for Safety. (Reporting to Francis Ikoha)

Note: All these roles are voluntary.

Please join me in congratulating these men and women on their roles and supporting them in achieving our mission to help the community develop themselves.

We’ve relieved 5 people of their roles and responsibilities at Swahilipot Hub. They are Paul Akwabi, Joscar Oriaro, Nelson Nthiani, Emmanuel Mutheki and Kelvin Mayieka. This decision is not a negative reflection on them or their dedication to Swahilipot Hub. We sincerely appreciate every hour they have set aside to help us achieve our mission and we hope they continue to do so as members of the community.

Programs & Activities

Swahilipot Hub has been host to many programs – initiated both by staff and community members alike. We’re also increasingly working and collaborating with other organizations.

To provide a better experience for everyone, we’ll be cutting down on programs and activities that are not aligned with our new mission. We will also be putting in place guidelines that will help us more easily determine whether we should pursue a certain program or partnership.

This also filters down to the community level. The Community Governance Initiative has a sub-committee working on programs and events led by Krispy and DJ Lenium. It is our hope that you, through this committee, will help develop guidelines and standards that will guide community initiatives at Swahilipot Hub.

Some of you may have questions or concerns on these changes. Kindly channel them to Fatma Mkwariza, Executive Director, Swahilipot Hub. She will forward them to the board.

We sincerely hope that these changes will positively benefit Swahilipot Hub and the community and we seek your partnership through collaboration to make it happen.

For and on behalf of the Swahilipot Hub Board,

Simeon Oriko

eLengo Hackathon

Chris, C.E.O at eLengo, first visited Swahilipot Hub to talk about textbook for change. He got back in touch with Swahilipot Hub regarding eLengo, a community of farmers. He was interested in working with Swahilipot Hub to solve one problem he was facing within eLengo’s community of farmers.

eLengo was faced with the challenge of sharing information to the farmers. The community was already communicating in facebook and WhatsApp groups but there needed to be a way for the farmers to easily receive information from eLengo. We decided to host a hackathon with the community members. Over 40 participants who worked in teams to brainstorm how we could better use technology to curate and spread knowledge amongst our growing farmer community. 🌾

The winning team received Kshs. 15,000 cash prize from eLengo. This partnership is important to us as we believe this kind of partnerships will build the community capacity and problem solving skills.

Next steps in the Community Governance Initiative

By Simeon Oriko, Board Member, Swahilipot Hub

Without a community, Swahilipot Hub would not exist. I’m alive to this fact every time I sit down to work on Swahilipot initiatives.

When the idea for a Community Governance Initiative at SPH popped into my mind some time towards the end of 2017, I intended that community members would do two things: one, share their experiences on engaging with Swahilipot and two, participate in drafting and implementing ideas to grow and strengthen Swahilipot Hub and it’s members.

Let’s explore these two things for a second.

Early this year, we asked you, members of Swahilipot Hub, to fill out a survey that would enable us to listen to your thoughts, ideas and criticisms. 111 members filled out the survey – some people filled it twice! (Thank you).

We’ve taken some time to compile an analysis of the survey and we’re very excited to share it with you.

Not only are we sharing the analysis, we’re also sharing with you the raw data – all the comments that were submitted for the survey.

So what next after the survey?

We need you to engage – develop and implement experiments to move SPH forward. Experiments that are successfully implemented will be kept as part of SPH’s operations.

Some community members criticized this process saying it would be all talk and no action. While there is place for constructive criticism, there is also place for action. The experiments that will be developed as a results of people’s ideas are the mechanism through which we will take action to improve Swahilipot Hub. I must emphasize, that this is wholly a community led process. I encourage you all to engage in the next phase of this process.

So, how do you engage in this next phase?

We’ve come up with 5 sub-committee’s through which experiments will be generated from and implemented through. They are as follows:

  1. Community Building – Led by Francis Ikoha and Angela Mumbi
  2. Programs and Events – Led by Krispy and Dj Lenium
  3. Communications – Led by Simon Adeya and Stephen Mwalily
  4. Governance – Led by Rajab Snow AKA Malenga 001 and Daddy the Dancer
  5. Basic Facilities – Led by Ohms Law Montana and Ruth Kaveke

We invite you to sign up to join one of these sub-committee’s. Sign up using this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/nRIAoediXV9vNGQI3.

The deadline for signing up for a committee is Friday 13th April 2018.

What are the timelines for this process?

  • Monday 9th April: Blog post announcing the next steps + Google form to sign up for the sub committee’s
  • Friday 13th April: Last day to sign up to join a sub-committee
  • Monday 16th April to Thursday 31st May: Sub-committees come up with concepts and implement them as experiments

Please note, that you can only join one sub-committee.

We are a community. Communities are intentional – they don’t happen by chance. I encourage you to be intentional about your participation in our community and be a part of this process.

On behalf of the board and staff, we look forward to working with you to implement your proposed experiments and to grow our community.

Pwani Innovation Week-Press Release

SWAHILIPOT HUB ANNOUNCES PWANI INNOVATION WEEK

Scheduled for December 3 – 7, 2018 in Mombasa, the event is aimed at stimulating the Innovation ecosystem in Kenya’s coastal region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mombasa, Kenya (April 4, 2018) — In an effort to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in Kenya’s coastal region, Swahilipot Hub announces Pwani Innovation Week that will provide opportunities to learn, showcase and experience innovation in action as well as provide a forum for discussions about a regional innovation strategy.

“Our agitation for a regional innovation strategy signals our intention to build an innovation ecosystem focused on creating and supporting new businesses,” said Mr. Simeon Oriko, Board member at Swahilipot Hub.

Pwani Innovation Week features a variety of events in one week including a two day conference on December 6 – 7 to be hosted at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic in Mombasa. Other events include talks, pitching, workshops and entertainment. A part of the programming will feature family, art and cultural events.

“We are excited to highlight the region’s aspirations and the initiatives being undertaken to meet them,” said Mr. Mahmoud Noor, Patron and Chairman of Swahilipot Hub.

Kenya’s Vision2030 development programme underscores the importance of innovation in creating a strong base for enhanced efficiency, sustained growth and promotion of value addition in goods and services. Pwani Innovation Week is an opportunity to mainstream innovation across all sectors including the “Big Four” – manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security.

 

Details of the event are available on the Pwani Innovation Week website: www.pwaniinnovationweek.co.ke

 

About Swahilipot Hub

Swahilipot Hub is an innovation hub for arts and technology in Mombasa that supports members through training, mentorship and coworking facilities. To learn more about Swahilipot Hub, visit www.swahilipothub.co.ke

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Press Contact

Contact: Jamila Hassan

Phone: +254 753 557 799

Email: pr@pwaniinnovationweek.co.ke

 

Shining Star: Juma Rashid

My name is Juma Rashid Wafula, born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, a graduate of Moi University
with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management, a founder of Explore PhotoTrip,
TechWorld Investments and RJ APPARELS.
This is my startup journey…
Do you have a bold idea? What is your perfect job? What is your lifelong dream?
Many startups are born from one of these motivations. It may have been created around an idea for
a product or service. It may have been an opportunity to develop your ideal job or ‘be your own
boss’.
It might even have been a premonition, a path you always thought you were destined to walk.
For myself, it was born more out of hobbies and passion. Since childhood I have always been keen to
turn my hobbies into a money-making venture. For instance, I ran a video game business as a
teenager as I waited to join university since I enjoyed playing video games at home and while in Moi
University in my second year I started a T-shirt printing business, RJ APPARELS after learning about
Graphic Designing and Screen Printing from Paul Luganda Obinna a fellow Moi University student.
Lucky for me, it has since developed into something that I am very proud of. It is a decision that is
beginning to feel justified.
You have heard this one before. After graduating, you are told the world is your oyster. You may
conquer wherever you roam. The job market will welcome you with open arms and shelter you from
the nightmares of serving casual manual jobs.
The reality is very different. It greets you with a stern disapproving look rather than with open arms.
It judges your every decision and scrutinises your past. In the end it happily lets you know it found
somebody better than you.
The market presents graduate jobs looking for ‘x’ years experience (you have to wonder how this is
meant to be gained coming fresh from university?).
It welcomes 1000’s of applicants per job post. It offers internships with no form of income at
all.
For many, the job market is difficult, daunting, and regularly defeating and it defeated me.
After it defeated me on a few occasions I began to doubt myself. The more this niggling self-doubt
set in, the more I began to critique my professional resume and myself.
Rather than try to tart up what I had to show, to make it as glossy and appealing as possible, instead,
I started to volunteer and accept various short-term job contracts in various organizations.
After a couple of years without securing a “permanent and stable” job, I concluded that I wasn’t cut
for the job market. I saw no way to a career. I couldn’t secure a job.
I developed a serious lack of confidence regarding my career, and I was in danger of drifting
ominously towards depression and days spent pondering on what could, and should, have been.
But then, out of the blue, the light-bulb moment.It was time to start up a startup/company.
This was my chance to reset what had been a relatively unenjoyable university learning experience,
a chance to shape my future, a chance to do something I had a genuine interest in but had never
before had the drive to make it happen.
In that moment, TechWorld Investments and Explore PhotoTrip was born while frequenting
Swahilpot Hub, an incubation center in Mombasa for collaborative innovation in technology & art.
TechWorld Investments was established in 2016 as an IT sales and service firm. TechWorld
Investments has evolved to offer a wide range of products and services that today’s consumers
demand.
Explore PhotoTrip was also established in 2016 while planning for a team-building trip for Swahilipot
Hub members to foster team work and collaboration. Explore PhotoTrip has since evolved into a
tour agency offering affordable tour packages, hotel bookings, travel photography and videography.
Swahilipot Hub has been instrumental in offering the co-working space, internet connectivity and
most important the diverse community members with exceptional skills and talents that have
assisted in growing these startups. From Kevin Barassa whom we shared the idea of organizing a
team-building trip for Swahilipot Hub members out of which Explore PhotoTrip was born, Musa Ali
and Silver Jareds who offered their photography and videography skills respectfully for our first trip
in 2016.
It is hard to measure the success of something that is effectively still in its youth but looking over the
journey so far, there are some things I do know.
Am I rich? Absolutely not. Broke? Sometimes. Successful? Far too soon to say.
In truth, it would be a lie not to admit there are still days where I wish I just had a 8–5 university
degree related job, that would find my workload for me and provide me with schedules, targets and
deadlines.
Yup, I sometimes long for structure. I still regularly glance at job sites, curious as to whether there is a better opportunity for me
However, it is not all doom and gloom.
There have been so many positives gained from the experience.
I have learned an unbelievable amount, in terms of both life lessons and skills.
I can say with certainty is that I have made steady progress, and as the projects and commissions
continue to roll in, and the client list continues to expand, something that had started as a seed is
now beginning to blossom.
I am proud of what I have achieved so far with my startup journey.
My advice to others? It could also be the best decision for you.
If the job market is saving its open arms for everyone but you, give it the finger and start yourself a
startup/company.
You may never look back.

Creative Commons Workshop

All content creators must know rights for their work, you can protect your work in different ways. Many artists and creatives lose their work to others because they didn’t protect their work through the procedures set down by Laws.
In collaboration with Creative Commons, a training workshop on Intellectual property was held on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March at Swahilipot hub for Artists from the hub. The workshop was conducted by our Legal director Asma Al-Amin and Emma Mengo.

The artists were trained on the copyrights, patent, industrial design and trademark, this being the overview of Intellectual property Rights. In addition, an introduction on Creative Commons licenses that will help them share their work on the various online platforms.

This training is an introduction and awareness of Creative Commons in Mombasa, more workshops and training will be held at Swahilipot Hub to assist Artists from being exploited and how they can benefit from Creative Commons.

Photo credits : Don Makameleon Photography and Jammy Photos