Kenya

Kenya Ministry of ICT congratulates School of Open for transformative model of learning

Alex Gakuru, October 22nd, 2014

SOO Africa Launch Event
SOO Africa Launch Nairobi / CC BY / Phillip Ranja

Today the Mr. Joseph Tiampati, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of ICT of Kenya gave a speech to formally launch the School of Open Africa in Nairobi. The full text of the speech is below and also available as a PDF. In addition, a congratulatory message from Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was delivered by Mr. John Temba, Head of ICT in Education at the Ministry. More info on the event from our announcement post yesterday.

Some highlights from the speech:

  • The Ministry recognizes Kenya as a signatory of UNESCO’s 2012 Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources (OER) and that “open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by providing more opportunities for the realisation of universal access to education.”
  • Kenya has developed and is rolling out a National ICT Master plan for the next five years. The Ministry recognizes “that Creative Commons through the School of Open Africa has provided a good example of innovative use of ICT in education that resonates well with the Kenya National ICT Master Plan… Open Education Resources coupled with innovative use of ICT in education will accelerate realization of a modern Kenya that will be a knowledge-based economy.”

And lastly,

“By using Open Educational Resources, OER, School of Open is opening up to many students who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of accessing education, especially in the marginalized areas which could not adequately access quality education. Ongoing, voluntary, and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons is one of the characteristics of the 21st Century. One of the major ways of promoting life-long learning is the continuous use of ICT innovations in education.

“I congratulate School of Open teams across Africa for the innovative and transformative mode of teaching and learning that we are launching today. This African initiative is a worthy model for other regions of the world to emulate.”

Congrats on a successful launch to our communities across Africa!


SPEECH BY MR. JOSEPH TIAMPATI, PRINCIPAL SECRETARY MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE SCHOOL OF OPEN AFRICA, AT THE SERENA HOTEL, WEDNESDAY 22ND OCTOBER, 2014

“Good morning.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here today as the Chief Guest during the launch of School of Open – Africa. I would like to begin by sincerely thanking Creative Commons Africa community and under the able coordination of Alex Gakuru and Tobias Schonwetter, and the global Creative Commons Community for inviting me to preside over this launch.

“I am happy to note the enthusiasm demonstrated by School of Open Africa in transforming education along Sustainable Development Goals proposed for post-2015 (Goal No. 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”) and in line with the Kenya Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Kenya into a middle-income country that offers high quality of life to all citizens by the year 2030. I am happy to note how much School of Open Africa has grown in Kenya and embraced in countries like Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa among other African countries in the last few years. I am informed that School of Open by Creative Commons is highly reputed around the world for addressing universal access to education.

SOO Africa Launch Event 5
Awarding CopyrightX certificates / CC BY / Phillip Ranja

“Kenya is a signatory to the UNESCO’s 2012 Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources licensed under Creative Commons open licenses. The use of open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by providing more opportunities for the realisation of universal access to education. Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

“Fully aware of the role of education in a country’s development agenda, I am sure that the new initiatives being undertaken by School of Open Africa, the Creative Commons and UNESCO are making their contribution towards the social, economic, and political pillars which are the three fundamental cornerstones of our country, and indeed for our great continent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you may be aware, the Country’s development blue print is being implemented through successive five- year Medium Term Plans (MTPs) that will finally enable the country to achieve the long-term goals. We are now in the second medium term plan cycle (2013-2017) whose theme is “Transforming Kenya: Pathways to Devolution, Socio-economic Development, Equity and National Unity”. As you may be aware, the ICT Authority rolled out the National ICT Master plan that will set the pace for progression of the country in ICT for the next five years. The Master plan – once fully rolled out – will completely transform government processes, services and management, and make information access and service delivery more efficient. Again, the Master plan, with the flagship projects to pilot its implementation, will steer the march towards the digital future that will transform the country to a regional technical hub, raise the country’s competitiveness and align the country in line with vision 2030’s ICT goals.

“By launching the Kenya ICT Master Plan, the government revealed its commitment towards the enhancement of access to quality education and training through ICT in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We are reviewing the National ICT Policy Guidelines to ensure alignment with proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
As a country, we are also privileged to have a National ICT Policy whose goal is to create a prosperous ICT-driven Kenyan society. With a well mainstreamed ICT society, we are assured of better livelihoods of Kenyans attainable through the availability of accessible, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services.

“ICT provides a platform that enables the realization of these goals. I must emphasize that Creative Commons through the School of Open Africa has provided a good example of innovative use of ICT in education that resonates well with the Kenya National ICT Master Plan. The integration of ICT into educational programmes places both the teaching staff and students at the forefront in the utilization of ICT for the enhancement of lives.

“I note with great pleasure the freedom to re-purpose offered by openly licensed educational resources, the convenience online access to learners as alternative courses delivery and certification methods. At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, I thank William Fisher III, Professor of Intellectual Property and his staff at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School for providing a free copyright law course taught to graduands present today to receive their certificates. I also thank Michael Murungi (then CEO, National Council for Law Reporting or “Kenya Law”) and Alex Gakuru for successfully conducting the course in Nairobi. I must congratulate the former students and ask to make the very best use of the copyright law knowledge they acquired while also challenging all universities represented here to consider emulating the highly successfully CopyrightX initiative.

“As the government continues to work on modalities of ensuring universal access to education and increasing the internet penetration in all parts of the country, we are pleased to witness this mode of study that will definitely translate to affordable education. Open Education Resources coupled with innovative use of ICT in education will accelerate realization of a modern Kenya that will be a knowledge-based economy.

“By using Open Educational Resources, OER, School of Open is opening up to many students who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of accessing education, especially in the marginalized areas which could not adequately access quality education. Ongoing, voluntary, and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons is one of the characteristics of the 21st Century. One of the major ways of promoting life-long learning is the continuous use of ICT innovations in education.

“I congratulate School of Open teams across Africa for the innovative and transformative mode of teaching and learning that we are launching today. This African initiative is a worthy model for other regions of the world to emulate.

“As I conclude I take this opportunity to applaud UNESCO’s efforts and contribution in the development and growth of the country through this noble initiative that enables the primary, secondary and universities to optimize the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in learning. I acknowledge the generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation and SOO Africa teams support by Google.

“With those remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare the School of Open Africa officially opened.

“Thank you.”

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Ministries of ICT, Education, & UNESCO join to formally launch School of Open Africa

Jane Park, October 21st, 2014

As promised last week, here are the details around the formal launch event for School of Open Africa taking place in Nairobi tomorrow morning.

SOO AfricaV3
SOO logo here. Earth CC BY by Erin Standley, Noun Project.

Our Creative Commons and School of Open volunteers in Kenya, including CC Regional Coordinator Alex Gakuru, are hosting a formal launch event of School of Open Africa in celebration of the School of Open programs launched last month in Africa, and to announce new programs in higher education. The event will feature a panel discussion with senior government officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of ICT along with Dr. Bitange Ndemo (University of Nairobi) and regional representatives from UNESCO and Google regarding the status of open education in Africa, School of Open’s contributions and future. Alex says,

“This event will help establish a conversation platform for policymakers around School of Open Africa, connecting and synchronising education and ICT policies with the innovative open education programs being led by Creative Commons volunteers in Africa. It will also connect current School of Open programs in primary and high school education to academia and NRENs1 — towards the realisation of the international aspiration for universal access to education.”

Additional attendees include professors from local universities and law schools; participants of the copyright law course, CopyrightX:Kenya, who will be awarded certificates of completion; our CC Kenya affiliates; and School Open Kenya leads.

CopyrightX Kenya
CopyrightX Kenya / CC Kenya / CC BY

In addition to the panel, SOO Kenya’s Simeon Oriko will present on School of Open Africa programs led to date, and Dr. Tonny Omwansa with C4DLab at the University of Nairobi will announce a new School of Open program to develop OER courses for higher education. This program will serve as a model for other universities across Africa to develop high quality open educational resources for use in higher education under CC BY. In celebration, CC t-shirts in Kiswahili will be distributed, “mwananchi mbunifu,” aka ‘creative commoner.’

soo africa launch shirts2

The event is hosted at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi and will last from 9am-1pm, followed by a celebratory lunch. The event and new OER program in higher education is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation.


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.

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School of Open Africa’s Launch and Future

Jane Park, October 16th, 2014

In September, the School of Open Africa launched with nine programs distributed across four jurisdictions: Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa. Kayode from CC Nigeria announced in the launch in August, and now we want to give you an update on how the programs (some ongoing) and launch events fared! We also want to preview more events to take place during Open Access Week and tell you our plans for the future of School of Open in Africa.

School of Open Kenya

SOO Kenya popjam
SOO Kenya Popjam / Jamlab / CC BY-SA

Simeon from Jamlab says, “We hosted 20 girls from Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta for the [launch] event. The goal was to work with these students to map out education as they currently experience it in their school and figure out how best to incorporate Open Education in their learning. For most of the afternoon, the emphasis on the workshop centered on figuring out how the students could incorporate Open Education in their learning. After a brief discussion, we mapped out learning and education activities as follows:

  • Lectures/Class instruction
  • Private study/prep
  • Group study
  • Revision of past examination papers
  • Student Symposiums

We asked them if we could add aspects of Open Education to this list. Very few of the students had heard about Open Education or understood its value at this point. We discussed Open Education in a little more detail: We explored the concept of the commons, copyright and copyleft and how the Creative Commons suite of licenses has enabled the Open Education movement globally.”

The future of SOO Kenya:

“One of the themes that stood out is getting school administrations and teachers to understand and make an investment in Open Education. This will be Jamlab’s focus in the coming year. While we work with administrators and teachers, we encouraged students to begin to demonstrate the value of Open Education by creating demand for it in the following ways: consume OER’s and integrate them in their learning, and pro-actively create and share OER’s with other students from other schools.”

School of Open Tanzania

SOO Tanzania
SOO Tanzania launch / CC Tanzania / CC BY

Paul from CC Tanzania says, “The program officially launched at Academic International Primary School (AIPS) in Dar es Salaam whereby 15 students from grades four to seven got the opportunity to learn how to code, designing animated picture (cartoons) by using open educational resources through the web.”

The future of SOO Tanzania:

“The event also marked the launch of three other training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students in Tanzania that will be coordinated by CC Tanzania and the Open University of Tanzania.”

CC Tanzania will also highlight the importance of open access to research during Open Access Week in collaboration with the Tanzania Medical Students Association (TAMSA).

School of Open Nigeria

SOO Nigeria
SOO Nigeria Saturday training / K-Why / CC BY

Kayode from CC Nigeria says, “Creative Commons Nigeria with support from Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Linux Professional Institute (Nigerian Master Affiliate) and Mozilla Foundation hosted the School of Open. The School of Open is a five week open course that holds every Saturday between 11am till 4pm. The first week started on September 13th with participants been trained on the basics of Intellectual Property, Linux Operating System and using simple Mozilla tools to design websites.”

The future of SOO Nigeria:

The five-week programs wrapped over the weekend with a discussion on plans for sustaining the community. The next phase will be to take School of Open Nigeria online with the present participants acting as moderators. Meanwhile, people and institutions in two different states (Imo State and Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State) have requested that Creative Commons Nigeria come replicate School of Open in their societies. The aim of School of Open Nigeria will be to have an online learning place where people can go to learn at any time without any cost or time restrictions.

School of Open South Africa

Kumusha bus
Kumusha Bus / WikiAfrica / CC BY-SA

Kelsey from CC South Africa says they already ran their School of Open CC4Kids course as part of Code4CT’s Maker Party back in July, and since then have been planning the next phase of Kumusha Bus, aka Kumusha Bus 2.0, which is “a remix of Libre Bus and designed to ensure collaboration with local members of the open community to have a week of Open Movement chaos and fun that spreads the ideas behind the movement and gets more people and organisations involved in your country.” Kumusha Bus is a collaboration of WikiAfrica, Creative Commons, and School of Open.

The future of SOO South Africa:
Kelsey & co are planning to expand CC4Kids into a full course pack designed to teach kids about Wikipedia, open journalism, open data, and open/citizen science. As part of this expansion, a session will be run at the upcoming Mozilla Festival called “OpenMe – Kids Can Open”.

More about the future

School of Open Africa is hosting another event next week, 22 October, to launch its entrance into the higher education space. Four courses will be developed in collaboration with the C4DLab, the University of Nairobi’s innovation hub, and will be licensed CC BY. The project is a response to ICT playing a critical role in expanding the knowledge economy of Africa; the OER will be developed by and for Africans; and the hope is to replicate the process in other universities. In addition, certificates will be awarded to participants of CC Kenya’s CopyrightX satellite from earlier this year, a panel discussion on OER will be featured, and SOO Kenya will present its work to date. The event and C4DLab OER project is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous support from the Hewlett Foundation. Stay tuned for a more detailed announcement of this event next week!

At its core, School of Open is about equipping communities with the tools to help them do what they already do better. Creative Commons licenses and the open resources they enable empowers users around the world to, as Simeon of SOO Kenya says, “build on what we already know.” He says,

I think one thing we often forget to highlight when it comes to education is how we learn… We learn by building on what we already know. We believe Open Education is one sure way of building on what we already know to advance ourselves.

We are seeking to expand School of Open to other regions, in and beyond Africa. The upcoming Mozilla Festival will feature a session on mapping School of Open programs from around the world and hone in on areas with maximum potential for impact — where we can “train the trainers” or otherwise empower student and educator communities to start up programs for themselves. Find out how you can get involved!


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.

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School of Open Africa launch event in Kenya tomorrow!

Jane Park, September 19th, 2014

Following on the heels of School of Open Africa launch events in Tanzania and Nigeria last weekend, School of Open Kenya is hosting its own tomorrow to kick off training for four high schools in Nairobi.

SOO AfricaV2
(SOO logo here. Earth icon licensed CC BY by Erin Standley from the Noun Project.)

Called Popjam, this SOO launch event + Mozilla Maker Party will be a day-long workshop introducing high school students to open educational resources (OER). Students will learn how to use OER and the open web to complement their academic studies. Students from four high schools will participate: Precious Blood Secondary School, Nairobi School, Sunshine Secondary School, and State House Girls Secondary School. SOO Kenya is hosted by Jamlab, a co-creation community based in Nairobi for high school students and graduates in Africa.

For more information about the event, and to RSVP if you’re in Nairobi, visit the event page.


About Maker Party

School of Open and Creative Commons is excited to be partnering with Mozilla to celebrate teaching and learning the web with Maker Party. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic Internet users of all ages and skill levels.

We share Mozilla’s belief that the web is a global public resource that’s integral to modern life: it shapes how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. But many of us don’t understand its basic mechanics or what it means to be a citizen of the web. That’s why we’re supporting this global effort to teach web literacy through hands-on learning and making with Maker Party.

About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU.

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Creative Commons launches School of Open events in Tanzania and Nigeria

Jane Park, September 12th, 2014

Today and tomorrow the School of Open launches in Tanzania and Nigeria in conjunction with Mozilla Maker Party!

SOO AfricaV2
(SOO logo here. Earth icon licensed CC BY by Erin Standley from the Noun Project.)

In Tanzania, CC Tanzania is hosting a creative event for kids at the Open University of Tanzania, the first university in the region to offer open and distant learning programs. Kids will use the Internet and open educational resources to create animations. This event occurs today: see the Maker Party page for details. It marks the launch of three training programs around ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students.

In Nigeria, CC Nigeria is hosting a web building skills event for the public at the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies at the University of Lagos. Anyone may join to learn how to build the web and share creative works through Mozilla and CC tools. The opening ceremony and maker party are tomorrow, see the Maker Party page for details. The event also marks the launch of a five-week training program around Nigerian copyright and Linux Operating System. During the opening ceremony, SOO Nigeria’s facilitators, partners and supporters will meet and set expectations for program participants. See the School of Open Nigeria page for more details. You can follow SOO Nigeria on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #SOOAfrica and #MakerParty.

School of Open launch events are also set to occur in Kenya and South Africa — stay tuned! (Read more about their plans here.)


About Maker Party

School of Open and Creative Commons is excited to be partnering with Mozilla to celebrate teaching and learning the web with Maker Party. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic Internet users of all ages and skill levels.

We share Mozilla’s belief that the web is a global public resource that’s integral to modern life: it shapes how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. But many of us don’t understand its basic mechanics or what it means to be a citizen of the web. That’s why we’re supporting this global effort to teach web literacy through hands-on learning and making with Maker Party.

About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU.

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New CC Kenya Hosts CC Salon in Sub-Sahara Africa

Jessica Coates, September 16th, 2013

Mt. Kenya
Mt. Kenya / Chris 73 / CC BY-SA

Guest post by Elizabeth Kiragu Wanjugu and Tobias Schonwetter

As we were busy getting ready for our community Global Summit a few weeks ago, we nearly missed the announcement of another very important addition to that community – our new CC Kenya affiliate.

Our new Kenyan team is based around two Nairobi-based affiliate institutions: Strathmore University‘s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and the National Council for Law Reports (NCLR). CIPIT – led by Dr. Isaac Rutenberg – is Kenya’s Public Lead, while the NCLR – led by Michael Murungi – serves as CC Kenya’s Legal Lead institution.

CC Kenya Logo

The Kenyan team is supported by a large existing CC community in the country, which has been active for quite some time. Unsurprisingly, therefore, a number of projects and activities are already under way. The NCLR’s Kenya Law Report already uses CC’s Public Domain Mark for its content, the team has been a major contributor to bringing the School of Open to the region, and there is an exciting initiative to translate some of CC’s licence tools into Kiswahili. According to the new team, Kenya’s thriving cultural industry requires access to shareable resources that facilitate remixing, and CC Kenya also strives to support newly realisable democratic freedoms by enabling widespread access to knowledge and information. CC Kenya makes East Africa now one of the most active regions for CC in Africa with affiliate teams in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

One of the first major activities of the new team, even before they had formally launched, was Kenya’s inaugural Creative Commons Salon. Held on 6 June, 2013 at Nairobi’s iHub and themed, “using technology as a democratizing tool, especially one that will level the playing field for education and opportunity in Kenya,” the event drew approximately 50 participants from different backgrounds.

Organised by Akili Dada in partnership with newly established team, the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and Jamlab.

Akili Dada is a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change. CIPIT is CC Kenya’s Public Lead while Jamlab drives the School of Open in Kenya.

In her opening remarks Allison Domicone, Akili Dada’s Director of Development (and who incidentally ran CC Salons from late 2008 through early 2011 and helped grow them significantly while working with Creative Commons in San Francisco, California) welcomed the attendees then asked Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, to say a few words.

Expressing optimism for continued growth, Alex reflected on the positive reception thus far accorded to Creative Commons in Kenya and across Africa.

The panelists comprised Michael Muringi, CEO/Editor National Council for Law Reports; CC Kenya Legal Lead, Judith Owigar, President of Akirachix; Paul Kihwelo, Public Lead of Creative Commons Tanzania; and Simeon Oriko, Co-Founder of Jamlab. Akili Dada founder Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg moderated the session.

Discussions on how technology can be harnessed as democratizing tool delved into how it can be made more accessible to all people with a special attention to girls and women given local statistics that they constitute only 15 percent of a technology field dominated by men. Discussion around access was extended to include access to online resources, empowering instruments and digital tools such as the mobile phone.

Discussants established among major barriers to access included: Inequitable financial access; Lack of knowledge; Absent or unpredictable electricity; Resultant societal stereotyping; to name but just a few. Probing, “What exactly is a level playing field?” was asked at the question session, with panelists responding as follows:

Jamlab – “A level playing field enables a person to achieve goals that s/he has set for own self.”

Creative Commons Tanzania – “A level playing field is where a person can have a balance between retaining ownership and encouraging open access to shared creative works.”

National Council for Law Reporting – “A level playing field is where any citizen gains access to justice without having to relying on costly representation through legal intermediaries.”

Akirachix – “A level playing field is where information is provided to enable girls to make informed career choices.”

Noted challenges included socialization in technology that favoured men over women, parents preferring to take the girl child to secretarial colleges to study languages and at best computer packages rather than encouraging them to venture into computer programming/coding and website development.

“Fortunately, the challenge is slowly being conquered by educating parents on importance of technology to the economy,” said Judith Owigar.

In Tanzania, librarians are championing the cause of Open Educational Resources (OER) due to their background and understanding of the importance of equitable access to knowledge.

Thereafter, the moderator invited audience participation with a reaction that children between 3 and 7 years were most impressionable urging stakeholders to focus their girlhood education and empowerment efforts on that age group.

Responding, Simeon Oriko said at that age the children were best under their parents care learning everything from parents. Jamlab chose to target high school students where youth peer influence, including what they see on social media, have the most impact on their adult character.

Professor Suki Mwendwa cautioned that technology, per se, should not be viewed as the solution to all access problems:

“Reading should be encouraged and technology used as a tool to increase access to knowledge. Technology having a seductive nature should also be regulated at home so that the children can be well rounded.”

The event ended with the moderator narrating inspiring stories of successful women providing role models for the younger generation — and encouraging others to do the same. She called upon more women to step forward to rally behind a solid community of mentors to change the world as we know it today.

It was a very informative interaction and well acknowledged. The audience later engaged and networked while enjoying the refreshments and food courtesy of NCLR sponsorship.

I thank Akili Dada, Creative Commons, Akirachix and Jamlab for taking the time to collect and relay information on matters of access and also women in technology. We look forward to the next CC Salon, perhaps in Tanzania, considering that CC Tanzania expressed their interest in replicating the event back home.

Correction: The original article incorrectly listed Kenya’s Salon as the first CC Salon held in Sub-Sahara Africa. The first was actually held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2006.

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School of Open Kenya Initiative

Kasyoka Mutunga, March 19th, 2013

This is a guest post by Kasyoka Mutunga, Precious Blood Secondary School Alumna and Executive Director of Jamlab, a community of former high school students providing peer mentorship, learning through the use of open educational resources, and using the Internet to objectively achieve their goals and actualize their ideas — while actively solving issues in their communities. Kasyoka is leading the School of Open Kenya Initiative as part of the volunteer CC Kenya community.

Young girls are teamed up in the heart of Nairobi. They are as hyperactive as any teenager would be. They have their aspirations, their goals, and their fears. From their chatter, they are afraid of the same things as I was. They are afraid of the upcoming exams, they are afraid to stay out late, they are afraid to miss the tickets to the upcoming concert, they are afraid that the pizza I ordered will be less than what they can enjoy, they are even afraid that their boyfriends are seeing other girls. However, today, sitting here I realize that there is one a major fear sparking off.

School of Open at the Precious Blood School
School of Open at the Precious Blood School / jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Two weeks before, Jamlab rolled out to introduce School of Open ideals to young girls in the Precious Blood School. The response was overwhelming. The girls came out in huge numbers. We cheerfully introduced Creative Commons to them. It was so intriguing that they went out and scavenged the rest of the Internet world for themselves. Soon, we were discussing the value of open in a world where “withheld” is what feels secure. We had to see the James Boyle video to understand exactly what we were all so afraid of when the concept of “Open” initially repelled us. The Initiative was at the end of that week launched formally at the School by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo.


Students at Precious Blood School
jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Dr Bitange Ndemo
Dr Bitange Ndemo
jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Two weeks later, we sat in a balcony to proactively decide what the students would do with the knowledge they had acquired. They wanted to start companies, they wanted to build organizations, they wanted to make solar panels for their communities, and maybe even create a library system. They had all these ambitions building gradually in them and now maybe, they had the hope of actualizing them irrespective of their age or background. “You know…” I heard one say, “Big people everywhere are fighting for the Internet to remain open and accessible as it was set out to be. We have joined that fight… because for us, we are fighting for a life we can better!” There were giggles and murmurs but those words have stuck with me since.

Making CC videos
Making CC videos / jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA

Finally, we decided on the project to take on together. It was something that resonated with everyone present. Today, they are bundled up behind cameras, behind computers and on the Internet, on YouTube actually. They are working on releasing short videos of their teachers teaching various subjects, licensing them under Creative Commons, and uploading them to YouTube. They are doing this for the thousands of young people who don’t get a chance to go to high school in Kenya.

Looking at their determination, I know that their major fear is that the world will leave them behind… that at the end of their time, they will simply have existed. I am excited about the videos and will send a link as soon as the girls learn how to edit them. However, I know that they ought not be afraid. Creative Commons has given them a reason to be extraordinary… and a reason to make others extraordinary too.

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