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TEDxKibera: From a humble location comes a visionary event

Posted by: TED Guest Author

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On Saturday August 15, a TEDx event was held in Kibera, the largest squatter city in Africa and home to nearly a million Kenyans. Suraj Sudhakar, an Acumen Fellow, hosted the ambitious event. Sudhakar has begun several projects in low-income communities, from improving housing conditions through financial consolidation to sanitation by promotion of the Eco-toilet concept. His vision for the TEDx conference was to spark discussion on subjects other than HIV/AIDS and poverty, which are commonly associated with Kibera.

Speakers included Tonee Ndungu of the Kenya Wazimba Youth Foundation which uses mobile phones for large-scale networking and communication, Otieno Gomba founder of Ghetto Art, a studio for Kibera’s artists, and software developer and tech blogger Wilfred Mworia.

Mworia has an engaging account of the afternoon on his blog, and provides a link to his Flickr account with many photos of this inspirational event. For even more photos, check out Tonee Ndungu’s twitpics.

The event in Mworia’s words:

I attended TEDxNairobi a week earlier which was a much much bigger event at a bigger venue. But the interesting thing is, even being in this smaller event being held in the middle of a slum, in a shanty church building, surrounding by the dirt and grime of Kibera… there was still great inspiration (if not greater) and great ideas! And I think that’s the beauty of TED, the fact that despite where you are, in whatever circumstances, people (if motivated enough) will always come up with great ‘ideas worth sharing’! And that says something very deep about the human spirit and the dignity of human beings. That whether rich or poor we all have that capacity for creativity.

For more insight on squatter cities like Kibera, watch Stewart Brand’s 2006 TED Talk and Robert Neuwirth’s 2005 TED Talk.

Photo: Tonee Ndungu at TEDxKibera August 15, 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Wilfred Mworia