What happens if you put together nine Dutch people with various professional backgrounds, who hardly know each other? Suppose you let them meet young and promising entrepreneurs in a country and a continent most of them have never been to? Strange question huh! Any clue as to the outcome? Well these nine neither.
But it was exactly with this question in mind that Michel Groenenstijn and Sanne Roemen planned a trip to Uganda. Michel is owner of Be More an organization that sends Dutch volunteers to community projects in Uganda and Sanne is an expert on knowledge building and network weaving around social themes. They invited a woman who researches on what makes people talented and stand out from the crowd to join, together with a woman who sets up dialogues between corporate organizations, ngo’s, schools and churches. An economist was added, a journalist found, a film maker and the marketing director of the one percentclub, a group that believes that if you share one percent of your talent and knowledge with those who need it, we all benefit. And last but not least the guy from the twitter hashtag #daretoask came along.
Their main question was: what can we learn from Ugandans in terms of networking and the implication of ICT to solve local or national problems? And at the same time, is there a way that we can share our knowledge and experience with people in Uganda?
And off they went for a two week trip to Uganda. As a proper band they named themselves Creativeminds Uganda #11 and went on tour. One of the first stops was at Hive Colab in Kampala . This co-working space for young and innovative minds hosted an afternoon for about 50 young professional people in ICT, mobile technology and social entrepeneurschip in Uganda. Daniel Stern invited the Dutch to hear some stories of young and promising ICT people about their achievements for the African community. Stories of mobile money or making information accessible for farmers or women who had no means of information in their communities
Now ICT and mobile technology was not unknown to this Dutch group but what they learned in Kampala was the way Ugandans made use of it. As Sanne expressed later: it is not about technology it is about how they use it. “We can learn so much from how it is used here.” Fanny, concerned with talent development was impressed by the eagerness of the group to share their knowledge with and in favor of the community. “What I liked was that the solutions they found, were found by young Ugandans and not by NGO’s. ”
After the Ugandans had presented some of their projects, Nils introduced the #Daretoask principles with the people present. In the Netherlands #Daretoask (#durftevragen) is a big thing. The main idea is that there are enough resources, talent and knowledge in the world but the problem is, it is not always equally divided nor do we always know where to go for help.
Now how do you get what you need if you already asked everyone you know for help? You organize a #daretoask workshop with people you do not know. Now the way it works is simple: you form a group of people and in turn you ask your question. Say you want to know how you can get media exposure for a project. You write your question down and in turn the rest of the group can give you advice by writing down names of people to consult, ideas of how to go about it etc. At the end of the session each takes a paper with various solutions and names of people home. #daretoask is even more successful if you can use it in social media because than you can reach millions of people. It is now a famous hashtag on Twitter for people wanting to know all sorts of things. Maybe #totyabuuza will become as big in Uganda as #durftevragen is in Holland.
After the wonderful meeting at Hive Colab, the group spent the next day meeting up with various people they met the day before. Some visited Woman of Uganda network, to be inspired and exchange ideas. The filmer en the journalist visited The Dispatch to find out how Ugandan colleagues dealt with issues as writing about corruption.
After Kampala, a 2 day workshop was held in Masaka to help volunteers from Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania who work in local community projects with presenting their projects in the most effective and attractive way on websites or on twitter and Facebook. For Creative Minds it was great to be able to share some ideas, information and people they had come upon in Kampala which gave it an extra dimension.
So what was the result after two weeks? Did they survive? Yes they did! And all nine of them agreed it was the best thing they ever did. They not only learned from each other. (The journalist learned about #daretoask. The Daretoask guy learned about the power of movies.) They learned from Ugandans how to be effective in communities. They got energy and inspiration from the people in Uganda who are so creative. In fact the group got so much energy that they went home with millions of ideas and the plan to do this again some time soon.