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Machel Waikenda

iHub By Josiah Mugambi / November 20, 2013

#AskWaikenda at the iHub: as it happened


Last Thursday, the iHub played host to Machel Waikenda who runs #AskWaikenda on Twitter and Facebook every week. This came about as a result of a chance tweet to him asking him when he’d be visiting the iHub. He responded quite fast, asking us to invite him.

The idea behind this session was to have a forum with discussions around some of the latest government initiatives targeting youth, such as the new 30% government procurement policy, the Uwezo Fund and the youth fund. Machel, while not a government official, agreed to field questions about these opportunities: we were specifically interested in how useful these were to the tech community.

Machel started first by describing his journey from university to piloting, entrepreneurship and finally his involvement in the TNA campaign, where he was director of communications. He then briefly gave a brief description the various youth initiatives were and then took questions from the audience.

Many of the questions raised revolved around transparency, sustainability and effectiveness of the initiatives. Some of the questions included whether politicians could hijack these funds or their agenda, around corruption for the procurement opportunities, whether such funds are effective for many of the young tech startups. Machel pointed to the President’s commitment to empowering the youth, and dealing with corruption as well as a performance structure (referring to the 30% procurement opportunities) where all government ministries would need to demonstrate how many tenders have been awarded to youth in answering these questions. Many people are waiting to see how well these initiatives will do; many of those participating online skeptical about the effectiveness of the Uwezo fund for startups (especially when compared to the Youth Fund).

Watch the talk in full here.

Please share your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

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Author : Josiah Mugambi

Josiah Mugambi has had several years’ experience in ICT, including software solutions development and networking, and spent nine years working in the telecommunications space with NSN and Huawei. Josiah is one of the co-founders of Skunkworks, an informal gathering of Kenyan technology enthusiasts, have participated in organizing numerous meetings and talks bringing together mostly software & web developers, designers, engineers and bloggers to share their knowledge and network. Kenya’s first BarCamp was a result of this networking, and has been regularly held since then. One of the main aims behind the forming of this group is networking of common techies with the aim of spurring innovation amongst them. Additionally, Josiah has been involved in several startups.   He sat on the Board of Advisors at the Nairobi iHub from its inception before taking over as Executive Director from Erik Hersman in Sept 2013. He is also an iHub Trustee.

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