29. 11. 2016

Kenyans come to Slovakia to share their experience again

Kenyans participated in the Training Firms Fair and presented their experience with training firms and startups at Slovak schools.

Three Kenyan teachers, all mentors of training firms, visited Slovakia in the autumn. There was Ducan Mwaghadi from Voi Girls’ Secondary School, Amos Nyameino from Kasigau Girls’ School, and Ezru Onchwari from Kajire Secondary School. One startupist and a member of Sote Hub, Geoffrey Mwachari, and our co-worker from Sote Hub, Joyce Nzovu, who had participated in the Training Firms Fair as well as training at the FabLab and the Rozbehni Sa (Get Moving) course, joined them as well.

Kenyans at the International Training Firms Fair in Bratislava

The International Training Firms Fair was held in Bratislava in November. In addition to participants from neighbouring states such as Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, Kenyan teachers came to compare their training firms. They prepared one common presentation about the training firms of their students in Kenya. They also visited FabLab, where they attended a two-hour training session focused on the basics of digital fabrication.

Is a 3D printer a look at the future? 

FabLab represents a great inspiration. It comes from MIT in America and over the last 10 years it has been trying to create a new infrastructure of industrial production. The objective is that goods should not have to travel halfway around the world. By means of technologies, such as 3D printers or laser cutters, everyone will be able to create their own products. This represents a look to the future, when there will be less work, but higher technical skill requirements. People could design their own furniture, clothes, or appliances themselves, all of it made to measure. The entire idea represents a new way of organizing economies and establishing firms focusing on hardware and the fabrication of products. Everything will be according to the slogan “It from bit”, which could be interpreted as “a material thing that is produced by information”.

Geoffrey’s experience

We have been cooperating with Geoffrey Mwachari, a member of Sote Hub, from the very beginning when he attended Moi High School in Kasigau. Later on he worked for our suppliers and young students, establishing a software company, and developing information systems for schools. We were their first customers, and until now they have expanded to more than a hundred schools in Kenya. Geoffrey then started to work with us, and he is currently helping with the financial management of the project. In addition to that, he is establishing a startup for Elim Pi, which wants to improve the teaching of natural science subjects and programming on cheap computers and laptops, and on other accessories, such as Raspberry Pi measuring sensors.

In Slovakia, Geoffrey shared his experience with students of business academies in Bratislava and Levice; he also consulted Dušan Duffek, the founder of 0100 Venture and 0100 Campus, and attended the Startup Grind event. 

Training firms at Slovak schools

The first visit by these Kenyan teachers to Europe led them to their own mentors. The teachers from the Levice Business Academy, Daniela Skladanová and Zuzana Meszárošová, have already been to Kenya to train them three times. They contributed to the expansion of the methodology of training firms to Kenya, and now there are 26 active training firms at 12 schools as well as two successful companies in the town of Voi thanks to them. These achievements led Kenya to become a member of the Practice Enterprise Network. Several discussions and presentations about Kenya, training firms, Sote Hub, and startups were held for the students at the Levice Business Academy. In return, the students introduced their own training firms. They attended similar activities at the Nevädzova Business Academy.

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