Students, alumni and staff are all very excited about the prospects of Elimu Hub becoming a reality. Part of what makes it so exciting is that it began as a small idea about how we could create more space for the Computer Lab at the new NRCF offices. But then as thoughts were shared with the Friends of Ngong Road team, the idea grew. What about something that served more students, and perhaps alumni? What if we could dedicate space to an expanded library? Ideas and feedback were shared back and forth and all around about ways to build a new place that was special for our students. And then, we started dreaming about how could we design the space in a way that was eco-conscious, inexpensive, and inclusive. Thus, the solar-powered shipping container Hub was born.
After we together arrived at an overall design, the U.S. team came back with the thought of naming the place. At first, we were simply thinking we’d call it the “Student Resource Center”. But when we started to consider how to relate the name with our mission, our eyes opened to some creative thinking. Many of our ideas came from asking our students. That got them very excited.
In the end, we decided on “Elimu Hub”. ‘Elimu’ translates to ‘education’ and is aligned with our overall mission. ‘Hub’ helped express how our new place would become a center of activity, innovation, and creativity. The combined name is meaningful in the Kenyan context and it’s easily translatable to our English-speaking sponsors and supporters.
We followed up the new name with creating some wonderful graphics that brought together the physical design of the containers, bringing to life the idea of a central hub. The graphics expressed vitality and creativity and along with the building renderings, Elimu Hub is becoming more real every day.
Each and every week, NRCF and FONR meet as an Operations Committee to share information, express ideas, and work together through issues that keep the organization running smoothly. Last year’s Food from Friends campaign is another example of successful collaboration. We worked to identify the critical needs of the families as a result of the pandemic, and quickly figured out ways to source and safely distribute food support. This was new to all of us and we worked well together to ensure all of our families got through the pandemic at the height of the 2020 crisis.
Our collaborative working relationship is also an essential part of our annual planning process. From September through December each year, we work together to budget and plan activities, programs, and campaigns both in the US and in Kenya. Working together as a united team, with strong communications and appreciation for differing perspectives has made it possible for us to collaboratively manage for the long term and respond to short term issues.
By establishing this style of communication and collaboration, we were able to dream up and pursue Elimu Hub in a relatively short period of time. We are thrilled to be able to bring this safe, reliable resource to our students in Nairobi. We look forward to bringing you along on this journey.