I just came from an energizing all-hands town hall meeting with Kenya’s USAID and State Department staff.
I also had the chance to visit a small group of our dedicated Foreign Service Nationals, Kenyans employed by the Mission. These professionals comprise roughly half of our workforce. They are the core of this Agency and the key to what we do. I’m committed to investing more resources in their success: more growth pathways, skill-building workshops and exchange programs that put them in touch with colleagues in other countries.
This is I something emphasized to everyone here: You all are professionals. You are the experts. You are development entrepreneurs.
We need to enable our people to do their best work, with the resources they need, and the freedom to take risks.
We had a great start to our day in Nairobi — we met an inspiring group of Kenyan media and technology entrepreneurs who are the driving force behind Kenya’s blossoming technology community.
Silicon Valley, watch out. This group of entrepreneurs is forging the next frontier in digital media and mobile based technology. From mobile banking and SMS crowd sourcing technology, to mapping slums and watch-dogging government, I’m convinced these are the kinds of transformational actors that are driving Kenya’s future – and Africa’s future.
They’re the likes of Ory Okolloh, founder of Ushahidi and Mzalendo; Joseph Macheru from Google Kenya, Karanja Macharia, founder of Mobile Planet, Kwame Nyongo, founder of Animations; Mike Rabar, founder of Home Boyz Entertainment and Salim Amin from A24. They’re just a sample of a much broader community of entrepreneurs whose influence and impact is building across the continent.
Participants at the workshop, which was funded in part by the USAID Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program, discussed current efforts to develop national programs to reduce emissions from deforestation. At the Copenhagen negotiations in December 2009, the United States Government committed $1 billion to support forest conservation efforts.
I’m looking forward especially to engaging with our African partners in health care, including visits to clinics, and to meeting local entrepreneurs. I’ll also be eager to confer with USAID Country and Regional Team officials — Nairobi is home to a regional office running a broad array of dynamic projects across East Africa. And, I’m going to sound out some of our stellar local staff, who are the backbone of US government missions around the globe.
Stay tuned: We’ll let you know when the trip gets under way, and will provide updates throughout.
Administrator Shah visits Haitian Earthquake Survivor
Hi everyone! Thanks for visiting IMPACTblog, USAID’s new blog. We’re excited about this project and I hope you’ll find it interesting. Every day, I’m told of the fantastic projects USAID is working on throughout the world, and I wanted to create a space where we could share those stories with you in an interactive way.
USAID should seize every chance we get to be more transparent–you may have seen that we renewed this commitment just last week. We want to let people know about the work we do…our successes, our failures, and how we learn always to do better. I hope this will be a place where you can get to know the thousands of development entrepreneurs who make up USAID’s talented staff, the work of our partners, and the
As a special guest to the employee Town Hall meeting held today at USAID, Michelle Obama visited to thank USAID employees around the world for their work. Mrs. Obama reminded staff that her mother-in-law had worked on USAID projects for almost 20 years in Indonesia.
Mrs. Obama shared insights on her visits to USAID projects in Ghana, Russia, and Haiti, and told the staff: “You have always represented what is truly best about America –- the idea that we have an obligation not just to help those in need, but to also help folks beyond our borders build capacity to help themselves.”