The Need To Explore Space: Tunapanda Institute Plans to Open A Space Exploration Facility in Kibera

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Tunapanda Institute was started 6 years ago by Jay Larson and Mick Larson, two globally nomadic brothers from the US with the aim of spreading digital skills globally, starting with Africa. The institution’s model of training young people for three months in practical skills in the fields of technology, design, and business has proven to work for the past 6 years. More than 300 young people have graduated from the programme. Moreover, the programme doesn’t stop after the three months of training; we have an apprenticeship programme where we select a group of graduates with curiosity and eager to learn more and realize their goals in the fields we teach them and help them in the process. Also, we’ve formed partnerships with local firms such as M-Kopa and Nivi to absorb our graduates in related jobs.

As opposed to the standard learning processes in most high schools, colleges, or universities where A-for-Apple type of learning or memorization has prevailed, we use “learn by doing” technique to enhance interactivity and fun during the learning process. The learners put to practice what they’ve learnt in the class to ensure that they’ve understood what they learnt in the classroom.

Also, our curriculum, which is highly dynamic depending on the feedback we get from the content-consumers, matches the current market needs. We train and teach our trainees the real skills that will enable them to get employed in the real world. We’re aware of the importance of soft skills such as communication, human-centred design, design thinking, peer-to-peer deliberation, and collaboration in the current world. MacAuthor Foundation projected that 65% of the current school going children will eventually be employed in jobs that don ’t exist yet. Not forgetting about technical skills, we train our students in coding and programming, project management, and technical writing skills.

How do we earn money to support the training and pay immediate bills? You might ask. We do clientele works in the fields such as web design & development, market research, software usability testing, content development, and training kids. We plough part of the money we get from these “gigs” to pay our immediate bills such as electricity, water, rent, and lunch. We also apply for grants. For example, Cohort 9’s three months training was supported by the Embassy of Finland. In return, we created and delivered open source content on digital photography, robotics, 2D design, digital storytelling, and training, coaching, & mentoring.

Tunapanda Institute is influenced, organized and managed by the next level of human consciousness. We are using a new paradigm of management of organizations called Teal (specifically Holacracy). The institution focuses on three main prospects for the general growth:

    • Self-management
    • Wholeness
  • Evolutionary purpose

Self-management

Probably you’re familiar with the traditional management system where the CEO, CTO, CFO are among the highest ranked people in an organization. The hierarchy and distribution of power are not even. The pyramid provides the top executives with much power to suppress or even sometimes, to bully the people lower in the pyramid. In a teal organization like Tunapanda Institute, there is no boss or anyone to chase or yell at people. This means that we are creating a much more powerful and fluid systems of almost equally distributed authority. This is vital for the enhanced innovativeness and creativeness of the members. No grown-up likes to be looked after or yelled at.

Wholeness

Enormous energy is produced when we drop the mask and dare to fully be ourselves. Instead of focusing on professional masks such as attires which signals a person’s professional identity and rank, we strive to provide a conducive environment for the workers by not dictating to them the rules and regulations which tend to restrict them from being themselves.

Evolutionary purpose

The wholeness as you might have noticed is not effective when a company isn’t driven by some principles. An organization need to be aware of their mission statement and principles that are guiding them to move closer to achieving their underlying goal. At Tunapanda Institute, we put our purpose of creating content that helps to spread digital content the top priority. The institution is therefore set to remind employees of the underlying purpose, and any practice that tends to violate this is unacceptable and is tackled immediately.

Next moves?

Tunapanda Institute would like to open doors to more kids and young people to learn cutting-edge skills, share knowledge, be inspired, and have an active role in creating the future. As a result, we’d like to open a training centre just minutes away from our current core training facility in Kibera to allow these kids and young people to explore space. Imagine what it would be like to explore outer space while they develop skills and projects for use here on Earth.

It will probably take us some time to get to the moon (and generally to explore the space) but we can start by training people in the skills that will lead us there. These same skills will help keep our planet and people healthy and employed.

We need your help to launch this amazing project (Kibera Aeronautics and Space Academy). We have a campaign on Indiegogo. You can support us by donating and/or sharing with your network. Your effort will help open doors to more people who have not gotten the chance [but would like] to learn more about space.

Recurring and 1-time donations can also be made via credit card, offline payment (contact us via info@tunapanda.org), or Bitcoin.

Visit tunapanda.org for more information. This article first appeared on Tunapanda’s Medium publication.

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