Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Illinois. She grew up in abject poverty in Mabafweni, a town of 20,000 people in Kenya, and was the first woman to obtain a Ph.D. She recalls how sad she felt at her graduation because her parents were too poor to attend:
“I remember crying because I decided I would do anything and everything that I could to ensure that I would pave the way for many, many more.”
Ngumbi and her parents founded the Dr. Ndumi Faulu Academy, a school for children in Kenya, in 2012. The school began with 14 and grew to 110 students eventually getting permanent classrooms, greenhouses, a science lab, and a library. Two years later, she created Oyeska Greens, a startup that teaches farmers how to use updated agricultural methods and technologies. Besides her two non-profit startups, the "people's scientist" believes science must be as publicly available as possible because when science wins, the public wins.
The popular streaming platform, Twitch, does not allow identity-based tagging. This means that marginalized streamers who associate with certain communities and categories like “trans,” “Black,” or “lesbian,” cannot easily find themselves. On March 20th, Trans LIfeline launched Peer2Peer, a tool that allows content creators and viewers on Twitch to connect with each other through identity-based tags.
Harassment for marginalized groups is a problem on Twitch which is mitigated partly through visibility and community. Yana Calou, PR director of Trans Lifeline, adding identity-based tags improves peer support because:
You have the ability to find and connect with community, you actually have much more resilience and support in dealing with harassment. ... being able to find other trans people on Twitch to be able to watch and connect with as you’re questioning or coming out, having those kinds of contact can mean that that’s maybe the first time that people are really interacting with another trans person.
Peer2Peer is not only for trans users. It has tags relating to racial identity, Black, Asian, people of color, disability, religion, and so on.
Rick Wolfe is internationally known for his unique animated conversation approach. He is the co-author of Innovation at the Kitchen Table: Better Business Through Conversation. He facilitates better conversations that drive performance outcomes by helping people connect deeper with themselves and others.
Wolfe and his colleague, Jim Carfrae, recently hosted an online event where a group of professionals discussed how to better communicate and create a comfortable environment for information sharing that "helps people make the journey from ideas to action”. Noreena Hertz, author of The Lonely Century, says:
Conversation is hard, maybe harder than ever, in this isolating, "lonely century".
Wolfe believes facilitation improves conversation by allowing it to continue, to gently guide it, and pick up on a thread to see where it lands. A real conversation gets to the heart of people, who serve each other, where everyone rises.