posted Jun 26, 2010, 7:32 AM by Chris LoRusso   [ updated Jul 1, 2010, 2:21 PM ]
First off, let us apologize for the delay in sharing the events of MsaniiFest.  Towards the end of our trip, we experienced some hardware issues (dropped netbooks can have that effect) while maintaining an increasingly hectic travel schedule, so it was difficult to set aside some time with a reliable internet connection.  That said, I previously mentioned MsaniiFest (msanii = Swahili for artist, remember?).  The Festival was organized entirely through WishVast SMS and something that we're proud to say, turned out to be a huge hit.  One of the most powerful aspects of WishVast remains that of self-organization.  The crowdsourced genius of Wikipedia probably defines this concept best: "Self-organization is the process where a structure or pattern appears in a system without a central authority or external element imposing it."  For a shining example of the power of self-organization, check out what the folks at Meetup have done over the years.  When given the platform to do so, people have repeatably taken the initiative to self-organize to help solve some of the world's toughest problems.  

**Chanakya and I had some fun making a video about Life's Principles back on campus, and of course, we included self-organization.  For a more serious look, be sure to check out Scott and Kaylyn's Tech Movie.**

So what does all this talk of self-organization actually mean?  Some artists were interested in setting up a WishVast group to improve their ability to communicate with each other around common interests and issues pertaining to the local art community.  Through SMS and their newly formed group, WishVast empowered them to self-organize and pull off a wonderful event to cap off our time in Nyeri.  All in, there were about 30 vendors that participated, combining to form a great collection of paintings, jewelry, instruments and other local crafts.  We added other activities to make this an event for all ages, like a talent show, face painting, and music, culminating with a Kenya vs. USA soccer match.

In true double bottom-line fashion, the WishVast team structured the event to serve as a fundraiser for the CYEC as well.  A portion of each sale went directly to benefit the children that we had become so close with over the course of the month. 

If you're reading this, maybe you know someone from  WishVast or Mashavu?  Perhaps you found yourself on the receiving end of some local crafts (and indirectly made a contribution to the CYEC).  If not, there's always next year.  Although this was the first ever MsaniiFest, there is already talk of a MasniiFest II.  We'll be sure to keep you updated on that. 

Perhaps via SMS.