From Acceleration to Deceleration: Amani Institute in 2014!

February 5, 2015


Before launching our next Social Innovation Management Fellowship Program we invite you to look at the adventures 2014 brought to Amani Institute. See below co-founder Roshan Paul’s review of the year.

2014 was quite a year! In March, the 22 people from 15 countries who formed our second class of Social Innovation Management students kicked off their program with a walking safari in Lake Naivasha. Over the next 5 months, they would take classes from field leaders like Kevin Starr and Rajiv Ball, develop and prototype their own social innovation projects, and help launch a community center in the Masai Mara! For their last two months, they were joined by the students of our Advanced Skills in Social Entrepreneurship program, who also created the business plan and model for a radio station in a conflict-ridden part of Northern Kenya as part of their consulting project with British NGO Saferworld. 
Our customized programs for institutions blossomed in ways we couldn’t imagine this year. In April, we were commissioned by Hivos to launch a new product – a 10-day Social Innovation Safari – in partnership with THE NEST. This program saw 19 participants from Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Netherlands, Canada, and Iraq all come together to learn a structured social innovation methodology and apply it during short-term local consulting projects.
Also at home in Kenya, we trained Somali and Kenyan staff for Italian org CISP, energy entrepreneurs as part of the wPower initiative, and artists and creative leaders across East Africa as part of Hivos’ Sondeka Festival. We also developed curriculum for an open online course for the African Management Initiative that has seen nearly 1000 enrollments since it launched. 
But Amani Institute also hit the road in 2014, conducting corporate workshops in Brazil for Supernova’s Program ReDes and Uganda for the Unreasonable Institute, and Fellow and student trainings in the USA for The Global Good Fund, Georgetown University, Davidson College, and more. 
We’ve learned so much in the process of doing these trainings and developing further our higher education model and have been sharing those learnings in a series of articles for the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Check them out and tell us what you think!
In order to do all this, we were delighted to welcome to the team four new staff members in 2014 – Peter FellaCaroline Gertsch and two of our most recent alumni, Bianca Monti and Julia Melo. Stay tuned for more exciting staff updates to be announced by the end of this month!
We also held a simultaneous gathering in three continents in November, saw over 200 people attend our second annual Failfaire in Nairobi, and launched a scholarship fund to ensure we retain the diversity that makes the program so rich (you can donate here).
But we’re proudest of the changemaking steps taken by our alumni. Roseline Orwa took great strides in her tireless campaign for the rights of widows in Kenya. Rodolphe Strauss and his merry band of Sharing Bros have been making their way from Canada to Chile to highlight the way the Sharing Economy is going to change all our lives – their video blogs are worth a watch! Santiago del Guiduce, Santiago Cortes and Rodrigo Alarcon have taken their social innovation course prototype Drums in the Dark all the way to the finalist stage of the global Hivos Social Innovation Award. And Andy McBride became the second Amani student to go from “apprentice” to Chief Operating Officer upon graduation. 
We’re excited for an even bigger 2015 as we launch our first class in Brazil and expand even further in Kenya. If you know any people or networks that would be interested in knowing more about the Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management, this is the time to tell them. Sometimes the best inspirational gift is the one of awareness. 
And so, we wish you not just awareness, but happiness and fulfillment as you navigate 2015. Don’t forget to find time to decelerate




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