African street kids help Swiss youths!

Can you imagine? Swiss youths with challenges in life receive help from former street kids and youths from Nairobi’s slums! durchstart is a Swiss organisation that does work integration for youths with challenges. The founder Olivier Moos invited me and the street kids from Nai Nami to do an innovation workshop for his Swiss class.

“If a street child from Nairobi can do it, you can do it too!”

It was a huge success! We were connected live via Zoom and inspired each other. It started with a live tour in the Mathare slum followed by a mentoring session for the Swiss youths. It was fascinating to see what a positive impact ex-gangsters from an African slum can have on Swiss youths!

On the other hand, the Swiss youths developed amazing ideas for Nai Nami with the aim to create additional income during the pandemic: Selling branded Nai Nami masks and making dancing tutorials on TikTok were my favourite ones.

It was such a great experience and it showed me once more that building bridges can lead to awesome opportunities. A big thank you to Olivier Moos – founder of durchstart – for making this happen!

Innovation Coach at the Startup Weekend (EdTech East Africa)

In Nairobi, I attended the Startup Weekend Education event organised by EdTech East Africa in the role of a Design Thinking Innovation Coach. Nova Pioneer – a highly innovative school – sent over 32 young students with whom we worked for 3 days in different teams to solve educational challenges from the kids’ perspective. My team won the final pitch and our solution ranked #1: “Sphinx”, a Math gaming app which allows students to compete real-time with each other on math excerices in a fun way. The goal was to help students take the boredom out of Math. I am still proud of these young bright sparks!


Facilitating MBTI at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Nairobi

Half of my class could fit on the picture 🙂

It was such a great pleasure to facilitate a workshop about the personality test “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator” (MBTI) at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Nairobi. YALI was launched by former President of the United States Barack Obama as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.

About 25 students from all over Africa joined the class and my job was to raise self-awareness to make them understand themselves and others better as future leaders. 

MBTI is a personality test identifying 16 different personality types that explain how you prefer to perceive and judge the world on 8 different categories. Teaching and explaining the MBTI has a specific challenge: The dimensions give you insights about your preferences and NOT skills! It is very important to highlight this issue over and over again.

My personal MBTI profile is: ENFJ

If you are curious about your own profile, you can take the test here: MBTI

Facilitating for Vizazi & My Mentor Wendy

Wendy De Macker is the founder of Vizazi, an organisation in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, which offers the high-quality training- and counselling program called ‘Social Upgrading Program’ for challenging youth. I did an apprenticeship at Vizazi and Wendy was the person who taught me everything about the dynamics in this environment. What impressed me the, was the fact that she has a deep understanding of how to deal with challenging youth and the whole system they are in. She gave me the real insights about vulnerable youth from slums and without her advice Nai Nami wouldn’t be so successful today.

Wendy has become a close friend of mine and it was a great honour to facilitate twice a design thinking and vision workshop for the trainers of Vizazi. In these workshops, we developed ideas together with the community-based organisations and their leaders on how to make the ‘Social Upgrading Program’ sustainable and income generating. To achieve this, it’s very important that the trainers of the program understand themselves in relation to the work they do. It was very inspiring to see how the simple question “Why are you committing yourself to Vizazi and its youth?” can trigger new reflections and how the resulting answers improved the self-confidence of the trainers.

Speaking At The Amani Institute About My Innovation Insights, Career Shifts and Inner Journey

Being an Amani Fellow myself, it is always a pleasure to share with the new Amani classes my lessons learned from the innovation journey. I do not only share technical insights about social innovation and what I learned from building my own social enterprise, but I also include the different phases of my inner journey. Grit was the most important attribute which I had to show while setting up Nai Nami. What usually catches people’s attention the most though, is the fact that I continuously change roles, jobs and shift between sectors. Showing the fellows that it is possible and how it can be achieved, really motivates me.