There exist many undiscovered social innovators in Africa, How can we Identify them?

My passion in search for social innovation knowledge is ever-increasing. this is because I know it is the only way I can achieve my mission of restoring dignity of African people.
Last week plunged me into the sea of social innovators from all over the world, thanks to Amani Institute, HIVOS international, Social innovation exchange from UK and all passionate social innovators who made the conference What makes a city hub for social innovation possible.Not forgetting my Boss Hon Dr. James Gesami for affording me a chance to be out of the office for 2.5 days of the conference.
Today, as I sought to find out what other global social innovators are thinking of this concept that is spreading like bush fire (social innovation), then i stumbled upon, an article done by Ndidi Okonkwo Nweneli –Creating a level playing field for social innovator in Africa that was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on 3rd June 2015. She has revealed what any emerging social entrepreneur will love to know. Of interest is the revelation that there are many social innovators who have not yet been identified. She goes ahead to petition the international community to put a helping hand in identifying and developing them. To me this is good news.
However, we need to show our effort before we can expect assistance from our neighbours. Margaret A.Harthorne in her article cultivating and sustaining generative teams published by the SSIR blog on 4th June 2015 notes that great teams identify and evolve ideas and relationships, using a continuous process of deep listening, collective inquiry, dialogue and prototyping and self-reflection to maintain learning and innovation. This I believe is what we need to start doing now not tomorrow.
Africa we have been plagued and derailed by a tainted reputation, there is a cancer called corruption that is embedded in our organization and governmental leadership structures. It is Imperative to unlearn this habits and re-educate ourselves on how to create new proper value system. We have to start appreciating the ability of our young people. We have to create opportunities where they can be exposed to new possibilities. This can be done, by creating platforms and institutions that value more than rote knowledge and memorization that has for decades characterized the most of our education system.
We have to start creating an atmospheric change by encouraging strategic collaboration and partnership among social actors. As peter Senge notes that people talk of being part of something larger than themselves, they talk of being connected, and that they are more gratified by being generative. Indeed this depicts a reason as to why young African people like me are sick and tired of the selfishness.
Yes, as social innovators if we want to win the hearts and mind of other global social innovators we have to tell our stories, experiences and challenges in Africa. We have to start being at the forefront advocating for transparency and respect for the people. We have to put aside our differences, come together it doesn’t matter where in hotels, coffee houses, shopping centers ,common places like the PAWA254 in Kenya, IHub, Nairobi Garage and many others places to hone our collaboration ability.
just like Ndidi Nweneli observes, honing our ability to collaborate will involve developing creative communication strategies to leverage on the availability of local and international networks to enhance our visibility so as to attract attention and support.
As much as we claim availability of social innovators in Africa, we have a task of building a body of knowledge from works in Africa and share it widely if we have to achieve our dream of making Africa devoid of poverty, ignorance and diseases. Like Nelson Mandela said “Education is the only weapon we can use to fight poverty” we need to transform our education system to suit development of creative and selfless leaders. We need to develop leaders who value others, that they can offer opportunity for development. We need to put an end to this myopic vision and obsession to being in power for ever such that you can change the constitution to allow you continue staying in power. This should be worrying us youths in Africa.
This, therefore, calls for reformation. Thanks to the leaders like Amani Institute who are leading in spreading social innovation Knowledge, we should encourage more. We should appreciate the effort of PAWA254 for creating platform where talents can be nurtured. We need to showcase what these leaders are doing in order to stretch imagination and creativity of other quiescent social innovators to act, to use their talents and gifts to help change Africa.
To our colleagues in Europe, United States and other places churning out great social innovators, we invite you to walk with us, we ask you to share your experience for us to unlock the pipeline of our local social innovators. Due to globalization, a problem caused by human phenomenon in Africa, will affect you even to your remotest village. Never say that is not for me because Kofi Anan observes that a problem in where is a problem everywhere.
Strategic collaboration and partnership is the magic bullet we have that can open the springs of creativity in Africa. Let us seize the opportunity, and ACT


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