Young World Inventors

Young World Inventors is a mini-doc web series that makes invention contagious. We're building a global community that connects inventors, mentors, and investors.

Invitation to Young World Inventors Twitter Chat #socent

We are thrilled to announce a Twitter Chat on July 29, 11am for fans of Just a BandKuweni Serious,iHub, AfrinnovatorNaiLab, and Media Focus on Africa, to expand audience for and web stories of young innovators.We need your ideas, questions and links! We will coordinate the discussion at Media Focus, new partners for YWI.


We are building audience support for webisodes of 3+ minutes about African innovators that inspire and provide how-to guidance – how to develop ideas, organize teams, find mentorship, etc. We need wisdom from the fans of the groups above to guide us.

Diane Hendrix of is telling stories of Innovators working across cultures in Africa and the US. Our audiences are young innovators on both continents. We plan to show videos in live and online audiences in Africa and America to trigger more high and low tech solutions to social problems. Do you think stories can trigger innovation?

So join us for a Twitter Chat on July 29th, 11 am to discuss the Qs below:

  1. What social innovation or start-ups have impressed you? best aspects?
  2. What are the biggest challenges to starting a sustainable enterprise?
  3. What resources do you know about (or stories) for mentorship, incubation, team building and $upport?
  4. How might we connect with more individuals who are interested in becoming social innovators?

Use hashtag  #socent after each tweet, so we can post a summary of the discussion.

Just a Band agreed to do music for Young World Inventors. YWI is raising funds from US investors and our Kickstarter campaign. You can help by donating ($1 or more) and passing the word along. Thanks for sharing ideas!  Let us know if you want to do this again, and we’ll try to make it happen, across continents.

Campaign Launch! Support YWI!

Today YWI launches a Kickstarter campaign to build our community of innovators and raise funds to shoot and edit ten “insider” web videos — for an interactive site by year’s end 2011. Diane is following teams with her camera from June 23 to August 2 in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Check our KS site out and we hope you will forward to friends. You can be the first to show off Bernard’s cell phone charger powered by a bike, or follow us in the field!

There’s a quiet revolution going on in Africa, and it’s a bright one — read more at our campaign launch page!

Introducing Kenya’s “Just A Band” – The Sound of Young World Inventors!

We’re very excited here in the editing room about a new collaboration with “Just A Band,” who recently agreed to have their music appear in our videos.  “Just A Band” hails from Kenya and is a creation of Jim Chuchu, Dan Muli, and Bill “Blinky” Sellanga.  Young World Inventors is very happy to have them on board as they provide us with an eclectic mix of sounds and styles to color our videos with.  “We’ve been called a boy band, a rock band (really?), a house outfit, an Afro-electro-pop band,” the group states on their website, “we don’t have any one genre we can classify ourselves in. We like hip-hop, we like rock, we like house, some of us like country and drum and bass – and (hopefully) you’ll find influences of all that in our music.”  Check out their music video for “Ha-He” and meet Makmende, Kenya’s first viral internet sensation:

Interview with Will Mworia of at iHub in Nairobi, Kenya

Diane Hendrix sat down in January 2011 for an interview with Will Mworia, co-founder of is Mworia’s outlet for sharing tech news and stories of innovation coming out of Africa.  Mworia himself is a visionary and an optimist, confident that advances in computer technology will empower African communities to unprecedented levels.  He discusses his views in an inspiring essay titled Dear Africa:

“Africa has been a great puzzle for the entire world.  The continent’s history has been riddled with all sorts of troubles from slavery to colonialism to post colonial troubles in many of the countries.  Some have thought Africa to be accursed while others have given up hope on the continent completely.  So is there hope for Africa in this new continent?  Living in Africa, it is very interesting to witness the newly rising interest in Africa.  There seems to be another wave of interest coming up, one that is hopefully going to benefit the continent more, and one that is driven by technology and the Internet.  Perhaps for the first time ever, there is actually an equal playing field for Africans to engage in!”  Read more here.

“Young World Rising” – Rob Salkowitz and Social Entrepreneurship

“Every entrepreneur who creates employment and opportunity where it’s needed is a social entrepreneur,” says Rob Salkowitz, author of the book Young World Rising.  “Young world entrepreneurs show a particular genius for finding market opportunities in developing solutions to social problems,” he adds.

The rapid spread of computer technology around the world has allowed for tremendous growth in innovation and local social entrepreneurship opportunities in developing countries.  In Africa, Internet access, especially through mobile phones, has created a new generation of “cheetahs” who are no longer waiting for government to solve their social problems.

This so-called “Cheetah generation” is taking matters into their own hands: through the Internet, Cheetahs are learning to Continue reading

Africa: Rewarding Responsibility

While I was visiting family last week, my sister-in-law reported attending a party in Germany with some international CEOs who said they wanted to bring business to Africa, but they couldn’t, since “Africans don’t like to work.” How much like “Americans are rich” is that one? Standard biases about “darkest Africa” may be robbing many of investment opportunities.

Here’s some welcome news about how mobile technology is transforming the continent, from a March New Yorker magazine. Reporter Auletta says that Sudan-born Mo(hammed) Ibrahim’s “mobile-phone company, Celtel, contributed to the development of civil society across the continent, and he’s now spending the money he earned to try to change the values of the dictators, megalomaniacs, and thieves. Each year, he offers the Ibrahim Prize, which bestows five million dollars on an African leader who is elected to office, promotes democracy, does not steal from the people, and cedes power peacefully. He has also created the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, a numerical ranking of Africa’s fifty-three governments. With citizen revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and elsewhere, Africa is undergoing perhaps its greatest political convulsion since the end of colonialism, and few private citizens have done as much in recent years as Ibrahim to push for the kind of democracy that people are demanding in the streets. Ibrahim’s message is that Africa needs to take responsibility for itself, and it needs to start by jettisoning its awful leaders.”


Back from Africa! Spotlight on Hehe Ltd.

I traveled to East Africa for a month to track the progress of recently launched business and development teams and spent two days with HeHe’s smart, articulate and ambitious team, all still students.

HeHe, Ltd is a brand new Rwandan company, born of the cross-cultural learning between Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and MIT’s AiTi program.  Not only did MIT students inspire KIST students to create new mobile phone apps, one team, HeHe, Ltd., has won two high profile Rwandan clients. Taking their new roles even further, HeHe co-founders graduated their own class of 11 students at KIST, celebrating their course completion on February 4, 2011.  They have done all this in six months, since their six-week MIT course in Kigali last summer, 2010. Continue reading

Voices of Kigali, Rwanda

Tonight’s party, which began at 3 this afternoon, is for Taylor’s students, since he leaves in two days to go back home. His students made shishkabobs on the grill outside (with a homemade baster made of grass; Africans make anything they need from whatever is at hand) after feeding on the pasta salad I and another young housemate made. In consideration of my short night last night, they have just shut off the rap music brought, amplified, sung and danced to by dozen lanky Rwandans, and moved to the lower garden. Taylor asked the party to move away from my window so I could sleep. Without prerecorded music, though, they immediately started an even more engaging and lively musical program, making their own karaoke, each one shouting out a song… Continue reading

Innovation in Arusha

Today was a holiday, and all the shops were closed to celebrate the liberation of Zanzibar in 1964 from Arabs and Indians. The rest of Tanzania won independence from the British in 1961. Last week the opposing party marched through town to protest voting injustice and paid with a few lives. The Vice Mayor of the ruling party resigned, but not the Mayor, after we heard they kept the polling place a secret from the opposition. Liberation of minds and hearts is an ongoing process, as we see, in Arizona and Arusha — no matter our culture, party, nation or religion. Continue reading

Arusha: Tell Us Your Stories

Last night I arrived in Arusha, Tanzania to find a slower pace and approachable Africans and foreigners full of news: there was a demonstration yesterday, and three police and a couple of demonstrators were shot and critically injured—unusual in this peaceful country. The authorities have cooled their jets and dropped charges (for peaceful demos!), to calm things down. It was a case of falsified election returns, and the politicians in power wanted no argument, as I hear it. Continue reading