After months of planning, MozFest House Kenya was held in the beautiful Shamba Cafe in Nairobi, Kenya. In an open concept barn space, verandah, and tents, hundreds of builders, activists, and researchers gathered from across the continent to discuss trustworthy AI from an African lens, with a focus on East and Southern Africa.

MozFest House Kenya Location

Shamba Events, Nairobi, Kenya

MozFest IMG_8029

The Barn at MozFest House: Kenya

Day 1 Highlights

Amidst a backdrop of a beautiful rustic barn, a warm breeze and exciting energy in the air from the 200+ participants who traveled from across the region to attend, the two-day event was kicked off by J. Bob Alotta, Senior Vice President of Global Programs, and Chenai Chair, Senior Program Officer Africa Innovation Mradi. Both highlighted the intention and purpose of this convening: bringing together different stakeholders to lead the conversation on what Trustworthy AI should look like in East and Southern Africa.

During breaks between sessions, people weaved throughout the airy Shamba Events venue, enjoying the sunshine, delicious local lunches, treats and freshly brewed coffee. The hail storm that graced the afternoon did not stop people from listening in on the insights being shared on the first Dialogues and Debates on Confronting the Margins moderated by Senior Program Officer, Roselyn Odoyo.

J. Bob
MozFest Lanyards

Sessions on Day 1 included:

  • The Case for Feminist Tech Governance with Rutendo Chabikwa and Nancy Salem, which provided a feminist analysis of African regional AI policies
  • African Feminism in Big Social Data: Why We Must Advance Radical Care in Digital Activism Engagement with Ololade Faniyi and Ann Holland, which explored the #womensmarchZambia movement against gender-based violence
  • What is the path towards inclusive digital identity? Which covered the digital ID movement, AI and the risk of digitizing discrimination in East Africa with Grace Mutung'u, Mustafa Mahmoud Yousif, Muthuri Kathure
  • Empowering Communities: Bridging Data Gaps, AI Localization, and Fostering Digital Collaboration with Tanatswa Mukwacha, Valentine Muhamba, Harvey Lukasa Binamu which covered local curation of data for AI models, and how to improve access to the internet in connectivity-challenged communities

Day 2 Highlights

On Day 2, we heard from our keynote speaker Daniel Motaung, who is known for whistleblowing on Meta’s outsourcing company, Sama, where he was hired for content moderation and paid $2.20/hr.

Daniel Motoung at MozFest House: Kenya
Daniel Motoung at MozFest House: Kenya

Daniel spoke about his story and what he thinks needs to happen to hold tech companies accountable, including building global content moderator workers’ unions, advocating for better pay for content moderators, and including content moderators in high-level discussions at big tech companies.

Daniel shared how, when he applied for the job in content moderation, he thought he would be working with newspapers. After he was hired he learned he was working online, and for a social media company. Turns out he had signed up to screen graphic and traumatic images and videos for Meta via their contracting company, Sama. He was not given prior information about what this job would be, and did not have adequate support after regularly watching gruesome content - some of the darkest things humans are capable of. He developed PTSD as a result and ended up suing Meta for work-related damages.

On Day 2, we also had the Data Futures Lab showcase which featured five projects supported by Mozilla:

Chenai Chair at MozFest House: Kenya
Chenai Chair at MozFest House Kenya

After sessions concluded on Day 2, Chenai Chair closed off the event, celebrating a vision that had come to be through the Africa Mradi program and excitement of future convening with Mozilla and the community. In true celebration, we ended with music, food and drinks! Participants received dance lessons from the Crackerz dance crew with Wasanii Mtaani/Artists in the Hood and then enjoyed live performances from Andy DJ and The Beat Parade Band as networking continued over an outdoor BBQ dinner.

Art at MozFest

Not to be missed were the art installations by local artists, ranging from printed art to virtual reality experiences that participants enjoyed in between sessions. Local artists included Ed Wainaina, Jacque Njeri, Margaret Ngigi, Esther Mwema, Picha Images, and Obsidian Circus.

Art at MozFest House: Kenya
Yoga at MozFest House: Kenya
Experience MFHK
Experience MFHK

Virtual Sessions

While MozFest House: Kenya was a in-person event, with Dialogues and Debates live streamed from the venue, we had to postpone three of our sessions due to an unexpected hailstorm(!!). These sessions were live streamed on MozFest Discord on the 23rd and 24th October. You can watch the Dialogues and Debates on our website.

Want to Relive the Moments?

We have multiple ways to immerse in the experiences!

Art at MozFest House Kenya

Art at MozFest House: Kenya

VR at MozFest House Kenya

VR at MozFest House: Kenya

Thank you to Chenai Chair for contributions to this blog post.

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world.

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