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  • June

Life Lately; A Year Later



The past few weeks have been a lot! Whew, or rather, wueh! as we say in Nairobi.


At a high level, TL;DR: I mark one year back home after being away for two, a year at ICANN and surviving layoffs, overseeing our activities and engagements in Eastern and Southern Africa, successfully hosted the first ICANN public meeting in my region in Rwanda, fighting the finance bill and taxation in Kenya, taking time off to live in Brazil for a month, bringing back my research work and turning over a new chapter!


Community

Let's start on the easy, this week marks a year of being fully moved back home in Nairobi 🇰🇪 and NGL, I love it here! A big trigger for me being back home was community, and boy oh boy, my community continues to show up and show out. I have incredible quality of life, I wouldn't trade for anything.


Most of my family is in Nairobi and in dholuo, we say Wat en Wat; loosely translated to Family is Family. I am so grateful I get to see mine this frequently, literally every single week. 


I truly believe I am blessed with the best of friends who I am true, vulnerable and open with. We grow together and I am grateful for the fact that I move along with my people, from nursery through to this current role, I bring my friends along and we move together. 


Special shout out to the Power Rangers I get to walk 10k every Saturday with at Karura and get to do life with, superstars these ones! 


Just like with friends, I move along with my service providers. Personal care is trusted, reliable, quick, easy and affordable, nails, hair, wax and a monthly massage. I have a flowers subscription and get a delivery every week. Our family cook who caters for our family events and has done so for almost a decade covers my meals and our family friend who picked me up from the day I was born in hospital runs all my transport and transit needs. 


I continue to walk with the same psychotherapist from before I left Nairobi in 2021, and we’ve agreed to regular pre booked monthly check ins even when life is okay and good. He’s taught me, what I call, the 4 Horsemen of Wellness: self compassion, breathwork, movement, and connection. 


Work

One year later, I continue to exceed expectations - if my performance review is anything to go by - I love it here, I have an incredible manager and supportive team that make it easy to get up and work every day.


A few weeks ago, the org was impacted and had layoffs for the first time, in its 25 year history. It would be dishonest of me to say I was not shaken and shocked by the announcement and manner of execution. While I appreciate the difficulty of such decisions, system shockers such as these help put things into perspective. 


That said, we just successfully wrapped up the first in region public meeting in Kigali, Rwanda since 2019. I must say, I didn’t realize how much work, dedication and focus goes into successfully planning a public meeting and our meetings team, did a spectacularly splendid job at this! Our local host, the Government of Rwanda, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and theRwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA) outdid themselves! The work ethic, commitment and dedication of the local committee organizing this meeting was industrious, admirable and consistent through and through! The AfrICANN community also showed up and showed out! +44% of attendees were from the region and that is phenomenal!


Pooling Together to Solve for Africa

One of the key projects I work on is the Coalition for Digital Africa which is a collaborative effort of 14 regional and international organizations working together to solve for Africa’s unique connectivity challenge.  


Over the past year at ICANN, I’ve successfully supported the onboarding of three coalition partners and completion of two key projects.


We had 22 African Members of Parliament from 15 countries, at an ICANN meeting for the first time for a collaborative workshop on the role of ICANN, the importance of the DNS, how the Internet works and the unique role legislators have in the ecosystem. An incredible and massive win that would not have been realized without the unfailing support and collaboration of the secretariat at the African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance (APNIG)


The flagship project of the Coalition - Capacity Development for ccTLDs, is underway and proceeding well. This pilot phase seeks to offer tailored capacity-development activities led by industry experts through online courses, hands-on workshops, and webinars for 10 African countries.


Taking Time off and Brazil

This July, I take some well deserved time off for the first time, up and pack my bags to live in Brazil for the month! Last year I was selected to join the ITS Rio Global Policy Fellowship but was unable to attend it and thankfully get to do that this year! 


The Institute for Technology & Society (ITS) Global Policy Fellowship is a Program for some of the world's most promising researchers in the field of technology and regulation. The program is currently in its 5th edition and has already received 24 fellows from countries around the world with a common interest: Technology and its relations with Law.


Research plans

Remember my Harvard research project from last year? I’m bringing that back. I’ll be working on updating the tracker we’d worked on, which is an interesting time especially with the recent situation in Kenya that has seen mass protests from the young, planned, organized and executed on social media. 


While this project took a back burner as I was resettling into Nairobi and settling into my new role at ICANN, this time off and the fellowship will allow me to delve in deeper to it and provide an opportunity to highlight comparative aspects that Sub Saharan Africa and Brazil have in common, if any. 


It’s exciting to have my researcher hat back on, and on that note, here’s an opportunity for you researchers! Savannah Digital Research Institute (SDRI) is a nonprofit research institution dedicated to advancing artificial intelligence to benefit Sub-Saharan Africa. 

They seek to establish research and development programs to identify and address challenges hindering the full realization of AI’s potential for socio-economic growth in Africa and have an open call for book chapters due by 31 July 2024 - https://sdri.tech/call-for-book-chapters/.


My word for the year is Bold. So a quote from the Bold Type seems apt. 






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