For 2016, The Pollination Project is launching 4 new grantmaking hubs which are run by 17 successful grantees. These hubs help us support local leadership, make better grants, and mentor and develop start-up social change projects.
Who better to introduce you to our hub members than their team mates?!

In this post, Vincent Atitwa interviewed and wrote about our East Africa Hub Kenyan team member, Miriam Wambui.

Miriam WambuiMiriam Wambui is a Pollination Project grantee, Akili Dada 2014 fellow, ICT trainer, and advocate for young women who wish to enter the ICT field. Her objective is to reduce youth unemployment through ICT skill provision, and she believes that this is vital in eradicating poverty in the informal settlements and bringing social change.

Miriam grew up in Kariobangi, one of the informal settlements in Kenya. Her Father passed on while she was still in Primary level, and she was raised by her mother. As the first born in a family of 3 girls, she grew up helping to raise her sisters. After she finished her High school education, her family situation prevented her from attending university. Growing up in an informal settlement has immense challenges especially among the youth mostly because of peer pressure. Despite this, her passion and zeal pushed her do to positive community work and activities through which she got an opportunity to join Nairobits.

Miriam graduated from Nairobits Digital Design School in 2010 as one of the best female students in web design and development. She later worked for FIDA-Kenya in 2011 then went back to train at Nairobits as a community-based trainer 2012. She also worked in Kampala, Uganda for 2 years as an ICT trainer to build valuable skills among youth. She is very passionate when it comes to community development through ICT and focuses on providing programs for marginalized youth.

Inspired by witnessing the impact of ICT training on youth, Miriam began her own project, Maendeleo Mtaa – derived from a Swahili word for “developing the community.” It is a training program for youth between the ages of 18 and 35 on ICT, entrepreneurship and life skills. The core participants are non-formal students in Dandora and Kariobangi, Nairobi, who were unable to continue with their studies due to lack of finances or family support. As a result, these youth are at risk for early pregnancy and crime, contributing to the cycle of poverty in the community The project is a platform to transform their lives through the skills they acquire while tapping into their immense potential and talents to create social change.

Miriam is passionate about empowering unprivileged youth especially girls from the informal settlements (those girls coming from poor economic background) through ICT. She believes that all people are equals but they don’t get the same opportunities. She observes that she is where she is today because she got a life changing opportunity that has helped to shape her become the person she is today. Her vision is to give those youths an opportunity to education by facilitating ICT trainings in the informal settlements so they can be able to use the skills to get jobs or venture into entrepreneurship.

Miriam places a lot of importance on having a positive attitude. She notes that it can be hard to maintain a positive attitude, but points out some step towards building a positive attitude as follows:

  1. Choose to embrace life.
  2. Let go and embrace the moment, whether it contains an obstacle or an opportunity. Stop fussing over trivial matters and start focusing on what’s really important to you.
  3. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and bring out the best in you.
  4. Reinforce Positivity in Yourself. Use positive words in your inner dialogues, or when talking with others.
  5. Do what makes you happy and isn’t harmful.
  6. Love yourself, Stay cool