November 3 2022 GM

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Glitter Meetups

Glitter Meetup is the weekly town hall of the Internet Freedom community at the IFF Square on the IFF Mattermost, at 9am EDT / 1pm UTC. Do you need an invite? Learn how to get one here.

Date: Thursday, November 3

Time: 9am EDT / 1pm UTC

Who: Anwulika Okonjo

Moderator: Mardiya

Where: On IFF Mattermost Square Channel.

Introducing Ijeruka, a digital learning platform centering African knowledge

Anwulika Okonjo will share her journey with Ijeruka, the vision behind it and what the development process has been like. She will also talk about building digital community and the transformative potential of digital education (or digital education for collective liberation), based on Pan-African and black feminist principles.

Anwulika Okonjo is a social impact strategist, whose work focuses on using storytelling, technology and community-focused innovations to influence social and systemic change. She is the founder of Ijeruka, a Pan-African digital learning and media tech platform, creating transformative courses and community experiences that centres African and globally marginalised knowledge.

Notes

Anwulika, can you share more on what ijeruka is? What was your vision and inspiration to create a digital learning community centred on feminist Knowledge?

  • Ijeruka is a digital learning community and media tech startup that centres the wealth of knowledge African, black and indigenous communities create. We're just getting ready to launch, so you all are the first to really hear about it, but we'll be creating live and on-demand courses, events, media projects and community experiences that help people navigate the how, why and what of systemic change. Our programs will bring together brilliant emerging African, black and indigenous leaders across disciplines, enabling people to learn about everything from histories, climate change and ecological regeneration, to economic justice, gendered liberation, digital rights and much more from historically/globally marginalised perspectives.

Is Ijeruka going to be a platform that showcases available expertise, a platform with learning curiculum or will it be a space that brings together these experts in person?

  • I started Ijeruka because we're living in a time where globally we are struggling with mass inequality, violence, mounting crises and oppression. In the face of it, a lot of people feel really hopeless, overwhelmed and apathetic about their ability to influence change. For African and historically marginalised people especially, we are doubly disenfranchised and rarely see our own unique histories, cultures and concerns represented even in the most progressive spaces. it makes the feeling of powerlessness even more ubiquitous and difficult to overcome. We keep approaching pervasive problems with with the same mindset and perspectives, privileging what is white and western above all others. So Ijeruka is both a space for people thinking differently and a space the values different knowledge and narratives
  • Our courses will bring people together online for 4-9 week long courses (with a core curriculum and guiding questions), with experts from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. They will be offered live and on-demand.
  • The idea isn't just to privilege "expertise" though. Part of the liberator education principle that guides Ijeruka is the idea that we all have knowledge to share - so it's not about replicating hierarchical learning structures that you'd find it educational institutions. it's really about the community experience and collective inquiry.
  • I like what Minna Salami says about how knowledge comes alive in the body. We're not just passive consumers of it so our ethos emphasises presence, vulnerability, agency and action.

Would you say that the courses have a strong element of storytelling approach to the learning that will be taking place?

  • Yes! The 3 programmatic pillars of Ijeruka are storytelling, education and community.

Anwulika, you started something during lockdown called Reading to Transgress, it was a space where young people read books and share our thoughts, you even hosted Minna Salami. How is Ijeruka a continuation of this work?

  • Reading to Transgress was an Afro-Feminist digital reading group I started as part of my work with Through the Eyes of African Women. The common thread with all of these projects is that they centre collective knowledge-sharing and make an effort to shift power by giving people the opportunity to learn with incredible thinkers who we usually don't get exposed to.
  • We will create both courses, storytelling media projects and community experiences like events, workshops, hands-on projects
  • Our first project is actually the HOPE MANIFESTO

What is the Hope Manifesto?

  • Our Hope Manifesto is essentially our rallying cry - our manifesto of what we stand for. Except, we don't want to create it by ourselves
  • The Hope Manifesto is an exploration of new and old beliefs, skills and practices that have sustained our communities through paradigm shifting, life-altering events. It will be a co-created guide for how we continue to build and resist the destruction of ourselves and our world, along with visions for what it looks like for people and the planet to flourish. It is a manifesto for our generation to think differently. A reminder and a co-created roadmap for the world we want to see.
  • We're curating stories, letters, videos, interviews etc. from African and Afro-diasporan communities that touch on these themes. From generational hope/trauma to Collective Will & Relational Imaginaries. We want people to share their perspectives on what gives them hope, what a thriving future looks like, and how they think we can get there. So you're all welcome to contribute once its out
  • I think it's also important to emphasise that our courses won't just be about big issues like climate change. We're also creating space for more intimate and interpersonal conversations on things like sexuality, spirituality, mental health and wellbeing... all of which in some form tie back to social and systemic change. This is based on my personal belief that transformation begins from within - so we need room to ask ourselves individually "what have I internalised?", and "how do I contribute to helping all life thrive" I find that we neglect that aspect a lot in our conversations.

How can we (the community) contribute and support your work?

  • By signing up, sharing your feedback and questions with me -- I really want to know what people are interested in seeing courses and content wise. What are some topics you'd like to see explored? What would you want from a platform like Ijeruka?

Where can people sign up to receive updates from Ijeruka? Or share how they would like to support your work?

  • Sign up here and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @ijeruka!
  • Other ways contact Anwulika: