Last year, Lido Nation connected with a group of young college graduates, who worked with us as we started to explore what a partnership and training program could look like in Kenya. Darlington started a developer mentorship program with two young people, and Stephanie spearheaded a “test project” with another group to translate some of our articles into Swahili, one of the official languages of Kenya.
The Swahili translation project led to one of our first funded proposals on Project Catalyst - to translate the rest of our website into Swahili! In the next round of Project Catalyst, the combined efforts of the developer mentees and our new translation team helped get us the YES votes on our biggest Project Catalyst proposal so far, to establish an official Cardano Lab in Kenya.
The Ngong Road Blockchain Lab was also made possible through partnership with Friends of Ngong Road (FoNR), the Ngong Road Children’s Foundation (NRCF), and the newly founded TechMates training program. FoNR/NRCF provide schooling and support to Nairobi youth who would otherwise be unable to access good education. The TechMates is a newly established training program, working to help launch program graduates into their adult careers in the tech world. It is the young adults in this program that are launching the Lab with us.
Over the next nine months, we will be continuing and expanding our programs at the Lab. Participants at the Lab are paid contractors with Lido Nation (funded through Project Catalyst), so they are able to dedicate meaningful time and effort to learning and growing with us.
The developer mentorship program will host new cohorts of mentees; Darlington will continue to lead this program, but we will also look to our veteran participants to act as mentors, and start to take some leadership roles with future groups. Mentees who complete the program will have gained valuable blockchain programming skills, which will open up lots of meaningful work opportunities to them.
The translation program will carry forward as well, and then start to evolve as the current translation team gets “caught up” on Lido Nation translation by mid summer. While translation has been their first priority, the translation team has also been tasked with conducting “research” on Cardano. This learning is in part to inform their translation work, but will also help prepare them for their next roles with the Lab, and beyond. Their first new project will be to write some original Cardano articles - in Swahili! They will provide English translations as well, but we are excited to be able to start providing Swahili-first content to our new and growing audience in Africa.
Our next goal is to start creating sustainable work opportunities for this “Community Building” team within the Cardano ecosystem. We are developing a curriculum that will train lab participants in how to participate in paid work within the Cardano community, starting with Community Advising for Project Catalyst. This work is not necessarily easy, but it is achievable for anyone willing to invest some time and effort. In the future, this team can help train-in new Lab participants on this work.
Each of our programs at the Lab is a starting point - we hope each individual who participates with us at the Lab will experience personal growth and find new opportunities individually. We also hope to see organic growth of awareness and participation in Cardano, as Lab participants are able to become local leaders among their peers. We are so proud of the work the TechMates have put in so far, and look forward to continuing to work with them - because the future is for everyone!