Mekatilili Fellowship Program

Mordecai Nuni

Mekatilili is a learning initiative that provides a platform for African youth to enhance technical skills through creative learning approaches that strive to empower learners and enable access to broader job opportunities and meaningful work. Founded in 2016, the program has reached over 400 young people whose average age demographic ranges from 14 – 25 years. The program is conducted through hands on, interactive workshops focusing on human-centered design, rapid prototyping, electronics, computer science, and professional development. 

Mekatilili Fellowship Program

In 2019, the initiative launched the Mekatilili Fellowship Program (MFP), which is an annual gathering of African innovators that aims to foster open ended, playful, and peer-driven learning to promote the development of appropriate and sustainable local technical solutions. 

Unlike traditional vocational training, MFP adopts pedagogy and creative learning techniques that strive to empower learners. These constructionist techniques are drawn from the Lifelong Kindergarten group and inspired by Mitch Resnick’s four P’s of creative learning: projects, peers, passion, and play.

The fellowship aspires to create open ended, playful, passionate, and peer-driven learning while following these core values:

  • Inclusivity: Bring together a diverse group of young talent from various regions. Inclusivity is not just bound to the participant selection criteria, but also refers to an openness to bold ideas.
  • Collaborative: Creating a brave space for open collaboration among participants to enhance the quality of ideas, inspire constructive feedback, and build lasting relationships.
  • Africa-focused: Nurturing and developing talent in Africa to spur a new generation of makers, scientists, researchers, innovators, and change makers who will use their skills to create a better future for the continent.
  • Replicable: Adaptable, well-structured, and based on a sustainable model to create long-lasting impact.

MFP is a unique opportunity for makers to work on projects that they are passionate about and to collaborate with peers on a global scale, while co-designing appropriate solutions that can help us to get one step closer to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The inaugural program was a learning opportunity in collaboration with the Technological Innovations for Inclusive Learning and Teaching (tiilt) Lab at Northwestern University, and was supported by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab and The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT.  It was focused on Human-Centered Design, the Internet of things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).