Our first Symposium – August 2008

The first Revisioning Kenya symposium took place in in 2008 and a carefully selected group of speakers shared their ideas of Kenyaness and the Kenya we want. Allotted a mere eight minutes, these visionaries were asked to give their views on how citizenry could revision Kenya.

Among the speakers were Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, winner of the Right Livelihood award (also known as the alternative Nobel Peace prize); Rafique Keshavjee, who is charged with creating an entrepreneurial and inventive spirit at the Aga Khan university; youth leader George Gachara, who set up an sms distress line during the post election violence which helped thousands of people in need of supplies; comedian turned politician John Kiarie who’s Vijana Tugutuke or “Youth Arise” campaign was key to encouraging youth to vote, Theatre impresarios John Sibi Okumu tackled personal change, ICT innovator Kevit Desai provided practical information pertinent to Kenyan technology and Rob Burnet discussed diffusion theory in relation to mass media and dissemination of ideas.

Former child soldier Ishmael Beah talked of the horrors of greed and war as happened in his country, Sierra Leone, and Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat rounded off an inspired event with a strong message of hope.

Business Cocktail November 2008

A selection of Kenya’s most successful financiers and business people gathered to hear the ideas behind Revisioning Kenya and to mingle with the country’s newest thinkers at Nairobi National Museum.

Funds together with workspace, mentoring and development facilities were promised by a number of prominent corporates in a bid to help bright new brains to develop their imaginative concepts into solid activities that are good for Kenya.

“We don’t want to wait for handouts to crank into action – this is our way to take responsibility for building new hope and energy into our battered nation,” explained Patron Bethuel Kiplagat. “We will help those who can help others, and create a revolving centre of excellence and innovation in which Kenyans take the initiative in producing the sort of structures and integrity that will sustain us in the long term.”

The event introduced new investors to the value of adopting and developing visionary thinking that would benefit the nation. Among speakers illustrating the ideas behind Revisioning Kenya were Patron Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat; businesswoman Jyoti Mukherjee; Richard Muteti, head of the Jua Kali association and Professor Moses Musaazi, inventor.

A veteran of the first symposium, Professor Musaazi, wowed the audience with his work on low cost cement-less houses, portable incinerators, and DIY papyrus sanitary pads. Jyoti Mukerjee discussed business development particularly in relation to IT, while Richard Muteti introduced the power and strength of harnessing the millions of jua kali artisans and workers who make crucial contributions to the Kenyan economy.

Forum June 2009 – Revisioning Kenya 3

An eclectic range of speakers lined up to impart their ideas on envisaging change. Based largely on the structure set out by the first Revisioning Kenya, the event included a talk on ‘Technology and Spirituality’ by the chair of the University of Nairobi Science Park Kamau Gachigi, an introduction to Eco-Farming from Ashoka Changemaker nominee Samuel Muhunyu, and some fascinating examples of Kenya made technology from techno whiz kid Jessica Colaco. Dr Musonda Mumba warned of the dramatic impact of black carbon generated through charcoal burning, while ‘goodwill’ teacher Fred Okidi outlined how a group of young people had kept their corner of Mathare trouble free during the violence.

Nation media CEO Linus Gitahi joked about being upstaged by Judy Kibinge’s excellent film “From the Ashes”, before giving an inspired presentation on how to individually make a difference to help create a nation – His 350k idea will be further developed by Revisioning Kenya.

One of the highlights of the event came from a floor contribution from a young journalism student named Ahmed Kassim Abdi who brilliantly expressed his confusion over the grand coalition.

Patron Ambassador Kiplagat rounded off the evening with a stirring talk in which he apologized for the elder generation misleading the young, and accentuated the need for change.