Edgeryders africa

Hi all

Just wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you all.

I think that right now Africa is the most exciting continent in the world! 

Cellphone penetration and internet access have never been higher; the rise of the African middle class, the growing number of African graduates and the return of younger generations of the African diaspora are factors that are driving business and economic development in new and dynamic ways; and African innovation in science, technology and medicine is changing how we farm, how we communicate and how long we live. 

What we are experiencing is a surge in the spirit of possibility, driven by young people across the continent. In the context of the many challenges Africa continues to face (infrastructure, techonoligy, health, environment etc…), this generation of resourceful and passionate young people have the potential to make a groundbreaking contribution to Africa’s development path.

Lets make history!  

So here’s what I am thinking…

Step 1 

We need to establish an African network of Edgeryders. “Edgeryders Africa” would provide a platform for young changemakers from Africa and beyond to work collaboratively to address various challenges on the continent. The platform could connect the dots between changemakers in Accra to those in Lagos and London, Brussels and Bamako, Cairo and Cape Town, Juba and Johannesburg.  Imagine what we could achieve together!

Step 2

Edgeryders Africa should replicate the unMonastery concept, whereby an annual ‘solutions convention’ is hosted each year in a different African city to address specific problems in that city.  The success of this would probably require the cooperation of local government and partnerships with local / regional research and academic institutions as well as local businesses and global corporations.

Thats as far as my thoughts go for now…  Please add yours. These ideas need plenty of input! This is just a start but I think it could lead to many other ideas that will have a remarkable effect on the lives of Africans around the continent.

So as I said before, Lets Make History!




Edgeryders bigger family, welcome!

Lindy hi, it’s so great to read you and I think your enthusiasm is a great start for setting up an Edgeryders chapter in Africa. Welcome to our global family :slight_smile:

I’m Noemi and I’m a big supporter of most initiatives which are Edgeryders-related, projects and collaborative events, so I guess my first question would be how can we help? Perhaps you’ve been through this with Nadia already: I’ve been reading posts in the aftermath of the Johannesburg workshop and, as with most world’s regions, clearly there are islands of change-making initiatives and a lot of openness on behalf of the people driving the change, so I was wondering if you have an idea or a list of organizations who would be interested to join efforts or which are doing stuff at the Edge? 

I may be speaking for myself, but my level of knowledge about the African context is quite low and i’m guessing information is very much distorted by mainstream media, so building the Edgeryders context in Africa might be worth considering. When we started with Edgeryders 1.0 back in 2011 one of the first thing we did was identify key groups of people, organisations & tribes who were sharing a certain vision of the world and in some way were committed to doing social good & supporting social, economic and political innovation. And reached out to those inviting them to talk about their experience and write about their projects: this was the starting point -> find out what change makers were doing and building a picture that’s more accurate and comprehensive.

Perhaps a good way to connect African initiatives with European ones is to gather them, highlight them, and see how they fit into the bigger picture? Starting with your work, and anybody else working with you or whom you’d like to introduce?

1 Like

Welcome on board!

Hey Lindy, great to meet you, and great input as well. Just a few quick thoughts by me:

  • Local knowledge. I agree wholeheartedly on your proposal of replicating the unMonastery concept in African cities. It all critically depends on the input of changemakers and innovators in the local population. Even when it might all still be called "Edgeryders", I think we European Edgeryders don't have much to offer, as we don't know the specifics of problems in Africa and how to solve them. But we are eager to learn, and also would be more than happy to come over and help out with some tech and organizational know-how where it's desired. (For example, I work on a huge collection of free and open source physical products for all areas of life, calling this EarthOS.)
  • System D. In my understanding, one thing is much better for "changemakers from the edge" in (at least many) African countries than it is in Europe: you don't have to ask so much for permission. While in Europe, all economic and other activity is heavily (over)regulated, the ubiquitous informal economy ("system D") in many African states is just the opposite. Maybe that's something to take advantage of when applying the unMonastery concept to African cities: I guess it should not be that much of a multi-stakeholder approach with instiutions, academics, government etc.. More like just getting together and starting to get things done, making agreements and collaborations only when attracting some attention with the provided solutions ...

If you want to create Edgeryders Africa, please just go ahead :slight_smile: No need to ask for permission for anything. You can get a dedicated area of this website for it as well (either a group such as this one, and / or a “minisite” that looks more like a traditional homepage). You can contact me if you need help with that, since I’m kind of managing the tech of this website.

Opportunity to focus attention

Hi Lindy,

I think you’re right about the need for a pan African p2p network. One which is both very plugged into the local context and part of a global p2p network. And very solutions oriented as in “we know there are problems and we’re creative enough to fix them, let’s just get on with the work that needs to be done, p2p”.

The way to go is to define something you want to achieve, break it down into milestones and figure out how people can contribute if they have 5 minutes to space, 1 hour, a day or a week. Concrete actionables. Then talk, email, phone, FB and twitter your existing personal network with calls to action. In doing this is it is  helpful to have a focus, aim if you like, expected deliverables and deadlines to keep upp the energy. Other members of the community are happy to help if you are in the driving seat and people see that you are active in terms of drawing in people to work on initiatives with you in South Africa. If you want we can have a google hangout where we play around with ideas and maybe come up with a roadplan together if you want.

Competitions can be a way to get started because they have focus, deadline and built in incentive to start building the network. I was contacted and encouraged to involve Edgeryders in something called Making All Voices Count. If you think it’s interesting and want to drive the outwards engagement let’s talk about how we could help. Deadline for submitting an entry is next week though so it would have to be in the next 3-4 days…

Learning from each other

And welcome from me too, [Lindy]! I’m Alberto, one of the people that started Edgeryders back in 2011.

We’ll support you and Edgeryders Africa as best we can. Just the name gives me the shivers! That said, I recommend we do not try and build two separate communities, but a global one. When we started the original Edgeryders exercise, the Council of Europe suggested setting up different exercises in different countries: I fought back, claiming that people in, say, Ukraine would be absolutely delighted to be in the same (virtual) room as their peers in Ireland, working away at big, scary problems that concern everyone. I now see the potential for adopting the same approach on a global scale, with African edgeryders being able to call in help from Europe right from the get go – and viceversa!

An example is right there: Nadia’s proposal of working on Making All Voices Count could be best pulled off by an African-European collaboration. Nadia herself can provide you with a liaison to the organizers (in Sweden); the unMonastery group has tons of materials (written, images, even video) that can be reused in the application; Edgeryders LBG can claim expertise on how to do citizen engagement “from the edge”; you know the local context. It makes for a strong alliance, don’t you think? :slight_smile:

DIGILOGIC H2020 project has several opportunities for innovators in Europe and Africa interested in developing smart logistics solutions for the African continent:

  • DIGILOGIC smart logistics challenges - applications close on 31st August
  • DIGILOGIC co-creation impact labs (thematic labs - 1 per month)
  • DIGILOGIC capacity building programme, the next cohort will be in November

To know more visit The Challenges - Digilogic Africa - DIHs - Smart Logistics or follow us on https://www.linkedin.com/company/digilogic-eu/