Seven Kenyans are among 40 young leaders celebrated by Facebook for making a positive impact in an event held in Accra, Ghana last week.
Facebook gathered young leaders drawn from across 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the function dubbed Celebrating Icons of Change to celebrate their role in their respective communities as drivers of change.
“This programme is giving young Africans the heart of change and the opportunity to come together to learn and share ideas about the impact they are having in their countries and across the region,” said Kojo Boakye, Facebook head of public policy for Africa .
He said Facebook is taking its rightful place by partnering with communities to help solve issues plaguing the continent.
The two-day event brought together young leaders, developers and entrepreneurs who mostly use Facebook as a platform to share ideas that promote social and economic change.
"This event is about celebrating those people, the amazing talent, innovation and businesses we’re seeing emerge, and the young people who are accelerating this growth, and building an incredible future for the continent,” said Kezia Anim-Addo, Facebook communications manager sub-Saharan Africa.
Facebook, she said is increasingly seeing its role as supporting and investing in various communities on the continent, in particular the young people.
The participants included community leaders who have started Facebook Groups dedicated to a topic or collective experience, which are having a positive impact in their communities.
Also feted at the event were developer circle leaders who create social media groups that can be used by young innovators to connect, share ideas, learn and collaborate.
Facebook communications manager for East Africa Janet Kemboi said the programme is meant to recognise impactful ideas by young people using the available resources.
Besides developer circles and community leaders, the event also invited entrepreneurs who use the social media network to promote their businesses and reach more people.
“SMBs and entrepreneurs are young people who have started businesses which are making an impact in their communities and beyond,” Ms Kemboi said.
Among the Kenyans recognised was James Odede, a young community leader who has started a tech hub in Kisumu to teach young people how to code. There are about 30 tech hubs in Kenya and all of them are located in Nairobi. The facility has so far trained over 50 young people mostly from high school.
“Tech education is very expensive especially outside Nairobi. So our initiative is targeting those people who cannot afford to pay high fees charged for tech training,” said Mr Odede, a computer science graduate from Maseno University.
Asha Mweru has a Facebook Group with about 3,000 members, which serves as a platform for young women in business and career to share ideas on how to grow their enterprises. The group, Women Work Kenya, offers training and in some cases help women entrepreneurs to raise capital for their ventures. “We are a group that offer assistance especially in training, capacity building and knowledge share to women who might be lacking the support they need to move forward,” said Ms Asha Mweru.