Global Diaries: For Us By Us – Nairobi Edition

It is ultimately incredible when the youth turn the world into a place to learn, to share and to converse their absolute original thoughtful and insightful ideas. To throw off the dark glasses and see possibilities with the hope that truly they are change makers. What a mindset!

Ever been to Nairobi City on an Easter weekend to not visit the Nairobi national park deeply rooted in the core of urbanism?

Well, on 19th and 20th April, Brookhouse School, Nairobi, hosted the regionals Hult Prize 2019 edition. With more than 40 teams from over 15 countries, spanning from our closest neighbors, Uganda and Tanzania, down to South Africa through Chad, Nigeria and even across the seas with teams from the USA and the UK. All these people, motivated by one movement, For Us by Us, to bring a change addressing youth unemployment by promoting social entrepreneurship, which is a global and a national agenda.F

18TH APRIL 2019

Different campus directors, volunteers, and the regional directors gathered in a bid to prepare for the days to come. The quick familiarity, the excitement, the laughter, the inside jokes all proved the zest each one had to serve.

With everyone allocated roles for the following day, we departed to rest with hopes to meet the day after to welcome the teams and to simply make them feel at home.

19TH APRIL 2019

We had lunch as a team before resuming our designated duties. Before long, behold! The teams started arriving. Some with absolute energy and others with sheer fear. You know, the fear that comes with some type of cold when you see new people. Others, we could clearly read hope in their eyes. The hope to truly bring a change. The hope to sell their idea. The hope that had brought them thus far.

Within a few hours, all participants had arrived, taken around to kill the pressure, had snacks, taking pictures and now ready for orientation.

The orientation took place at Brookhouse auditorium. They were encouraged to share experiences, ideas, to network and mostly to ease the tension before the final day.

The thrill of meeting new people and sharing different experiences is overwhelming. Talking about culture, country politics, weather, and every trivial thing that can be talked about before getting to business.

It was a great success.

20TH APRIL – THE END GAME

Pitching time!! Half enthusiasm, nervousness, tension, a bit of ease all to be squared in six minutes! Six! This is the time you blink your eye and six minutes are gone just like that.

First of all, breakfast was served.

We then headed straight to the pitches. Three pitch rooms. Smart unstoppable people inside ready to share their ideas. At this point, almost every participant had lost the tension and transformed it into what their inner voice told them, bloom! Everyone did what they had to. My Nigerian good friends who had just landed the country and they had to sleep. My South African newly made friends were singing, singing ahead of their pitch in 20 minutes? What levels of composure!

Over 45 teams, six minutes, six teams to present in the finals and only one team proceeding to the next levels. Everyone was doing their best, to sell their idea, to impress the judges and to just make sense.

All of them impressed! In one way or another, they were all winners. They were all change makers, they were all very enthusiastic youths ready and hungry to make the world a better place.

When evening came, the auditorium was full but silent.

Everyone waited to be announced among the six. One team after another until all the six pitched. With ideas ranging from energy creation to service provision.  The hardest of all times came. Our adorable judges were spoilt for choice.

Meanwhile, inside the auditorium, the music continued, the games proceeded albeit with racing hearts of who will proceed to the next level. Huh, we all crossed fingers for our favorite of the six, making silent prayers as our hearts raced and us hiding behind the music and the famous Kenyan dance, ODI dance. You know, ordinary dance for any ordinary person.

The dance continued as the judges made a choice. Tough time to be a judge.                      

We forgot our panics until the judges set it.

Behold!

The winner was called out!

We hugged and tossed and cheered.

Rhodes University Team from South Africa (who sung away their nerves) were the well-deserved winners. Proceeding to the Accelerator level.

We were happy for them and we were glad. To learn, to share experiences and most importantly to be associated with Hult Prize, agents of change, for us by us.

Big gratitude to all those who made the event and success.

Cheers!

And this is just the beginning!

Leading a generation to change the world.

Vivian Awuor

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