Last Thursday, the iHub played host to Machel Waikenda
who runs #AskWaikenda
on Twitter and Facebook every week. This came about as a result of a chance tweet to him asking him when he’d be visiting the iHub. He responded quite fast, asking us to invite him.
The idea behind this session was to have a forum with discussions around some of the latest government initiatives targeting youth, such as the new 30% government procurement policy, the Uwezo Fund and the youth fund. Machel, while not a government official, agreed to field questions about these opportunities: we were specifically interested in how useful these were to the tech community.
Machel started first by describing his journey from university to piloting, entrepreneurship and finally his involvement in the TNA campaign, where he was director of communications. He then briefly gave a brief description the various youth initiatives were and then took questions from the audience.
Many of the questions raised revolved around transparency, sustainability and effectiveness of the initiatives. Some of the questions included whether politicians could hijack these funds or their agenda, around corruption for the procurement opportunities, whether such funds are effective for many of the young tech startups. Machel pointed to the President’s commitment to empowering the youth, and dealing with corruption as well as a performance structure (referring to the 30% procurement opportunities) where all government ministries would need to demonstrate how many tenders have been awarded to youth in answering these questions.Many people are waiting to see how well these initiatives will do; many of those participating online skeptical about the effectiveness of the Uwezo fund for startups (especially when compared to the Youth Fund).
Watch the talk in full here
Please share your thoughts on this subject in the comments.