NLab’s founder / President’s reflection on his decision to start NLab Innovation Academy.
I met Jon Gosier the founder of Appfrica and WoundMetrics in late 2009 while at University, I was referred to him by a long time friend of mine “Zoe Flanagan”. After a small discussion with him, he offered me a temporary job on his new website to translate few pages of his site from English to Swahili and one of the articles I translated was about Dambisa Moyo. John Gosier and his Appfrica made me realize that there is more in African youth than seating in class and wait for exams, interviews, and jobs.
Working as a Tutorial Assistant at Kampala International University in 2010 gave me enough time to realize the problems most African youth experienced. The current system does not promote education for self reliance. More to that, not every student gets the chance to finish his/her studies, some fail to continue and finish, because they don’t have any employable skills and so they opt to become house boys/maids, or bar and restaurants attendants etc.
All in all young people are not supported or motivated enough by their peer, family members, teachers and the community in general to realize their potential, using their imaginations and creativity to innovate, create and build solutions to solve community problems.
I decided to start OUFLab which worked as open space/hub for university students to work, network and get trained. All these started as a passion, I felt like I am obligated to do whatever I was doing so as to help my community because I knew the hustle of having passion in TECH and you don’t have resources, knowledge, right people to guide you based on my personal experience since I was exposed to TECH world very late.
Thanks to people like Annie Riedel and her husband David Riedel who belived in my dreams, Zoe Flanagan and the family for their unending support.
It was challenging to run OUFLab since all our services were free by that time, in 2013 I decided to refine the objectives of the program and this was after a very long discussion with my fiancée by then who is my wife now, with her help on running the program we managed to change the goals of OUFLab.
My old friend Zoe brought the idea of Crowdfunding campaign for she knew about the project since day one and she knew how passionate I was, and how I was struggling to get fund to make it happen. Together we were able to raise $3000 which was used to buy few computers and furnitures for the Lab and that’s when the name changed from OUFLab to NLab.