This story begins one year ago, I was seated watching TED talks as was my usual Sunday tradition. A quick YouTube search had me running into a local TEDx event which blew my mind. It had always inherently bugged me that there were very few authentic African TEDx talks. Most of the ones with huge traction were held outside the continent and always addressed the ‘Africa and problems’ narrative. Where were the happy stories, where were the random African ideas?
That was the moment I called up Betty King’ori and we Google’d ‘How to organize a TEDx Talk’. It has been onwards and upwards since!
On 5th May 2018, we hosted the first TEDxYouth@Parklands: Under the Nairobi Blue Sky to an amazing audience of changemakers across Nairobi at Safaricom Michael Joseph Center. We had a curated audience of 100, with 11 speakers (see talks), a great speakers coach, a live viewership of 400, 3 live viewing parties, a total reach of 7000 young people powered by an amazing volunteer team of 25+ (all under 26 years old). The application was done under Volunteers for Kenya (V4K) which helps to support the event.
Getting a TEDx license involves an application and an interview. A couple of weeks after the online application, I was seated at my office desk in Nakawuka Uganda fighting internet connectivity to successfully carry out the interview with the TED global team in the US. A week later, we had our license and the craziness began! The first step was to build a strong committee of 8 individuals who would head the different dockets.
First steps first, we had to talk to other organizers. Grace of TEDxRidgeways was instrumental in giving us a TEDx 101 guide in a meeting I attended with Janet Waiyaki, the event organizer. That meeting went on to help us structure the TEDx team and operations and most importantly, linked us with our incredible speaker coach Mr Oltesh Thobias, an author and seasoned Toastmaster and John Maxwell coach and speaker. He’s also delivered a TEDx Talk and an Engage Talk! The most grueling bit of the planning was the whole speaker selection and coaching process which took us 3 months with biweekly coaching sessions.
This year we are getting bigger and better, with a bigger live audience of 400+, and an even more amazing set of speakers. Hosted in May 2019, we are officially scaling and rebranding to TEDxParklands! The V4K directors attended an official TED event in New York which allowed us to bump up the license.
We still have the majority of the team onboard and we’re super stoked that the energy and the vision still remain!
What was once a crazy idea has now grown into a movement of young people looking to change the African Narrative through storytelling and idea sharing.
Our vision and mission still remain the same, we strive to tell untold African stories, giving an international platform to visionaries doing amazing things in different sectors across the board!
This year we are looking to still highlight changemakers across Kenya in the various industries such as entertainment, social enterprises, NGOs, community development, media, art, politics, fashion, entrepreneurship, travel, corporate, technology and youth culture, both as speakers and attendees. We will be opening up our speaker callout for 3 remaining slots this coming week and ticket sales will also begin soon.
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter @TEDxParklands for more information.
Parting Shot: We are forever grateful to the amazing humans and partners who made the first event a success (special shout out to the committee and the V4K team: June, Javan, Lisa, Julie and Joyce) and we’re even more excited for the new set of partners powering TEDxParklands: Under the Nairobi Blue Sky!
For any new partners looking to come on board, feel free to reach out to me or Betty King’ori who is the lead organizer this year!
SEE YOU IN MAY!