Community Entrepreneurship: Solving Problems And Weaving Society Back Together | SkollWF 2019

Community Entrepreneurship: Solving Problems And Weaving Society Back Together | SkollWF 2019


– Super, hi everybody. Thanks for coming. I’m Deepti, I lead a
partnerships team at Facebook that’s focused on supporting individuals like the ones it is that you just met to make sure that their
work can be sustainable but not only sustainable but they can really build a career path and dedicate their lives
to doing what it is that they’re really passionate about. And the reason why we’re
investing so much in them is because we believe that
this is kind of a new breed of entrepreneurship it
is that we’re seeing, that we’re calling
community entrepreneurship, that are addressing social issues and solving the problems it is that affect us in our daily lives but also doing this really hard work of weaving our society back together in this moment of deep
social fragmentation and polarization. Hold on, I had some
statistics, okay, cool. Why does this matter to Facebook? Is probably a question it is
that’s on your guyses mind and why are we investing so much. We actually changed the mission
of our company two years ago it used to be, to make the
world more open and connected but in 2016, we changed it to, give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. And as a part of that, what we realize is that there were individuals
like the ones it is that you just met and you’re
gonna meet a couple more later, who are really at the
helm of using the platform to build community and
we wanted to be able to really support them. Community is a word it is that I think means something to all of us. We each have our own
definition of community. I hear the word community used a lot at events like this, at Skoll. Often, I think that we
use this word community to talk about an aggregation of people. At Facebook, as it
regards this work around building community and
community entrepreneurship, we’ve a very specific
definition of community and the types of communities it is that we’re trying to build. And that’s the relationship
between one person and a group of people which is
a give-and-take relationship. Where the individual is
giving trust and investment and in return, getting a
sense of safety, security, safety, connection and belonging. What community isn’t to us is just a group of people that you serve because that dynamic
relationship isn’t there nor is it just like the people
it is that you live with or that you may have an identity
kind of connection with, it really is this dynamic relationship that we’re trying to
foster more of in society. The phenomenon it is that we see is people really going
from community management. How many of you have an
organization that has somebody who’s a community manager in it and like think about community management? I see lots of hands going up, right? We think about community management, we think about kind of how we wanna serve the stakeholders we care about the most and we also think about how
we’re gonna get feedback from those individuals to make sure that we’re
designing from their perspective and I think that design
theory has really helped us take this human-centered design approach to really make sure that we’re
listening to their feedback and I believe this is something
it is that we’re all doing. But what we believe we need to do is actually move from community management to community entrepreneurship. The difference between these two pictures, there’s people, we’re listening
to them, we’re serving them but it’s the lines that
are connecting them. So, the strength of the, start on the left, is in
the relationships it is that are being built between people, between the people it
is that we’re serving not just kind of this like
more top-down approach. And this is really the phenomenon
it is that we’re seeing, that our platform is providing
these community entrepreneurs to really be able to build communities that have this resilience,
that have this strength, that are building this social capital and this relational capital it
is that we’re really losing. I’ll just take a break. How many of you guys
are in a Facebook group? Okay, so y’all know that it’s, usually, we find a lot of
value in these Facebook groups and how many of you are
adminning a Facebook group? Great, so then you guys
will also appreciate how much time and effort it
really takes to make sure that the group is thriving in a way where the relationships are
really being built and how Facebook groups as a product
really allows for that relationship to be built between people, not only between the leader and the individuals it is
that are trying to be served. And so for us, this is
really really important. We’re here at Skoll
where we’re talking about really big issues like child health, agriculture, education and you’ll meet some of
our community entrepreneurs who are addressing those issues. But what’s really inspired us is that they’re not
only tackling the issue, they’re not only solving the problem, they’re not only serving people but they’re really addressing this moment in time it is
that we are operating in where our societies are
really breaking apart and the social fabric of
the lives it is that we live need to be rewoven together and so that’s why I was
looking for this piece of paper to share some of these statistics. 40 years ago, 60% of people
said they trusted each other. Today, only 19% of people
say they trust other people. Today, loneliness is
doubled from 40 years ago. In 1970, 30% of people said they hung out with
their neighbors twice a week and today, 8% of people
say that they hang out with their neighbors at
any time and 33% of people say they’ve never met their neighbors. We’re really living in a moment,
some of you may have read Bob Putnam’s work on Bowling
Alone where our social capital, our relational capital is what’s declining and I think that too often,
we don’t really address that as a social issue that we
need to tackle head-on, we focus on the things
that are more technical, agriculture, water, education,
but we really believe that we need to tackle this head-on and that these community
entrepreneurs are at the helm of really demonstrating a new path for us. We want to really establish
this path for them. We’re here at Skoll celebrating
social entrepreneurship. My career has been built
as a social entrepreneur. I started at Acumen in 2005. I helped start the Acumen
Fund Fellowship Program, I ran it for the first three years and then I started a
social enterprise myself in education, business in partnership with the
Skoll Awardee actually, Vicky Colbert from Columbia. And what I personally realized is that, as I was running this social enterprise, what attracted me to
Jacqueline and the Acumen Fund was this idea that the market
was gonna be a listening tool, that we were really gonna
listen to what people needed and as we treated them as customers, we were really gonna make
sure that we serve their needs as opposed to what
traditional aid was doing by dropping what it is that
we believed people needed. But when I was that social
entrepreneur myself, I found myself in a position
where I was actually not listening to the parents, the children and the teachers as much
as I wish I could have and really listening
and trying to figure out what the needs of my
investors were to satisfy them so that I could stay sustainable. That’s when I was like,
I need to take a break because this promise of listening and Edgar Villanueva reminded us yesterday that that’s what we need to figure out how to do better, is radically listen. That was the question it
is that was affecting me a few years ago and so, I went
back to the Kennedy School and I met Marshall Ganz
who then introduced me to that snowflake model it
is that I showed you before. I studied community
organizing, I went to India, I created a community organizing platform. But what I realize, the
work it is that I was doing was all offline so I’m not a technologist but some of the community
organizers I was working with were using Facebook and
using Facebook groups to hold their communities together. And that’s really what
brought me to Facebook is to really think about,
how do we do this at scale? You’re gonna meet some
community entrepreneurs in a few minutes who are working with almost two million people
in their community. And that kind of scale to be able to rebuild our social capital, it’s just such a unique
opportunity that Facebook can serve but the challenge is is that, these individuals aren’t supported. The world of social entrepreneurship, the world of NGOs and social
change doesn’t understand what the work of these
community entrepreneurs are and so, that’s why we’re here at Skoll. We really wanna use this time
even with you guys really as a conversation to learn
and figure out how we partner and that’s where my focus is, is like building partnerships
with organizations who can help us unlock these four buckets. We know we need to move
more capital to them. Facebook has invested $10
million through a program called Facebook Community
Leadership Program in them. But that’s not enough, we need
to unlock the philanthropic and venture environments in order to fund these organizations. We need help to be able to figure out how we tell their story. Being able to tell the story
of trust being rebuilt, social capital being rebuilt,
is a hard story to tell. It’s not fitting in the Excel spreadsheets and the M&E forms it is
that we usually ask for. We need to invest in them
from a training perspective and create jobs for people
who have these skills and then finally, we need
a new cultural narrative. So, we need public and
institutional organizations to really help us share a message of rebuilding our communities, rebuilding our relationships
with one another. I personally feel after a long career in the social enterprise space that, it’s sometimes too easy
to focus on the technical, what we can fix technically. This is not something
that we’re gonna be able to fix technically and so, we all need to work together to figure out what this new language is
and how we’re gonna do it. Facebook has taken some early
steps in this direction. We launched this program called the Facebook Community Leadership Program, where we identified 115,
we selected 115 individuals from over 6,000 applications
from over 180 countries. All of these individuals
are building community. They’re not running a non-profit, they’re not running a social enterprise, they’re using their
ordinariness as an individual like the ordinariness of all of us, their desire to want to
connect with other people and using the connections
between people to solve problems. We gave five of them a million dollars and we gave 110 of them $50,000. But I think more important
than the money has been, them being able to meet each other. Too often, these
individuals are often asked what do you do? And it’s like, well, I run a community. Well, what does that mean? Well, I have a Facebook group. Well, what do you really do? And it’s just not fair. It’s like some of these individuals
spending 60 hours a week managing their group and saving people from domestic violence cases and they don’t have a
professional identity that they can necessarily
be proud of and so, when they connect with one
another, they’re reinforced that the work it is that they do matters and that other people understand
the work it is that they do and they can find this
camaraderie in the same reason, I think that’s why Skoll was started is that the social
entrepreneur felt lonely and so we wanted to bring them together. I really feel that these
community entrepreneurs are going through the same evolution that we went through 15
years ago as an industry. And then finally, we take them through a one year long training program. So, they meet three times
and we’re really evolving what it is that we train them in by listening to what it
is that they need the most and so this isn’t us
trying to superimpose like, this is how we believe you
need to build community. Frankly, these people know
how to build community I think, better than anybody in this room. So, we’re trying to really learn from them to figure out then, how
we scale and support them. I’m really excited for you
guys to meet some of them live. You guys wanna come down? Yeah, and I hope you
guys, I’m sure you will be equally as inspired as I’ve been, really. My career’s taken this huge shift in really wanting to figure
out how we address these issues around social capital, how we can weave our society back together but that’s only been because
I’ve met all of you guys and I’ve seen this phenomenon happen at such incredible scale
through the work it is that you guys do and so,
we’re gonna use this panel for me to ask them some questions, for you to get a sense of
what their work is all about and then, we’ll open it up for discussion. I will say that we know that we know, we don’t know what we don’t know. That this is new, I feel
like they are really breaking new ground
and we need to leverage the expertise of individuals in this room to really figure out how we
support this new phenomenon that’s happening and these individuals who really have this unique talent and commitment to building community. Lola, I’d love to start with you. I’ve mentioned it a couple
times to the audience but what really inspires
me about this work is, how I see ordinary
people support each other without necessarily
needing the intervention of anybody from the outside. Every time I get on the phone with you, every time we have dinner,
you tell me another story of that happening in your community. Could you share that with the audience? – Hello everyone, I’m Lola Omolola, I live in Chicago, United
States and I run Female IN. We started out as Female in
Nigeria and now, are Female IN because we realized that our community was getting much more
diverse really quickly and we wanted every woman from
everywhere across the world to feel like whenever she’s here, she can know that she’s at home too. So, we dropped the geographical location and we’re now Female IN and we kept the acronym
because we like it. So, FIN for short. My community started as my
response to a tragic event that happened in Nigeria when
armed men stormed a school and kidnapped 276 girls. You may have heard of the
Bring Back Our Girls campaign. You see, I was raised in Nigeria
and from a very early age, when you’re a little girl,
usually around three years old, whenever you show any
sign of self-awareness, usually at that age, we’re very curious we start to express ourselves. It’s a new shiny thing, that we can talk and we can hear our own
selves and we use it a lot. So, essentially what happens here is that, whenever girls expresses herself
or has an opinion to share, there’s usually someone next to her that dissuades her from doing just that. The way it works is, she would put, usually a woman too by the way, she would put two fingers together, dig it into a really soft
part of your side and twist. It’s a pinch, you get a pinch
every time you say something and it’s usually followed by a shush. I call them the pinches and shushes. Essentially, we are trained,
well trained with pain to shut up, to be silent. How can we be human, how can we exist, how can we take space if we are unable to even be acknowledged as people? That’s what happen when we’re not expressing our experiences. I wanted to change that and that was why I started our community. I felt like it’s because of
the fact that that is missing, is why events like what
happened with the girls, almost 300 girls being
abducted from their schools, I felt that it was because
of things like that that that happened. I think is this foundational issue. So, silence has been a problem for us and I wanted to change it, is why I started our Facebook group, to find women who were
like me, who were haunted by the experiences that women were having and weren’t expressing themselves. In the face of misery and violence, we
were remaining silent. Some of the expected
things that have happened as a result of that is that,
look at me, a regular woman, suddenly, I’m leading a movement. We went from zero to 1.5
million in the past three years. That is the strength of the individuals who also want change like I do. Some other unexpected things, other than me being a
leader suddenly is that women are coming out
of the woodwork to show that they are willing
to support other women. We are here sidestepping governments that are not able to
step up for human beings and we’re doing what we need
to do to help and make a change in our own lives just as a community. I’m gonna give you a quick example. There was a day, I think
it really hit home to me what was going on here was not ordinary, is that a woman shared on our group that she was going through
such terrible domestic violence that just a week earlier, her
husband dragged her 10 blocks across the street, not a single person said anything to support her. No one spoke up, no one. This was her experience. I saw this comment that she had made. She in fact, hid it on another
thread that was unrelated. I reached out to her
because that’s what we do and I said, is this you? She said yeah, that’s
what’s happening to me but nobody has ever listened, I had no expectation of
anyone listening today. And anyway, she was able
to put the story up there, to share her story because
I had talked to her about doing that and the
rest of the community feverishly came to her aid. Within minutes, she was offered donations to get out of that situation. It didn’t end there. She got two offers of a place to stay, she got individuals who were
willing to go to her new place and we have photos to prove,
to babysit her children, she had three, so that she
could go look for a job while she stayed in the apartments that they had secured for her. One of them by the way, had
allowed her to live there for two years until she
was back on her feet. This is how it’s working
in our communities and this story is not
unusual, this is not isolated. This is a daily, just
daily show, daily display of human beings standing
up to create change and to essentially, rescue the world. – Awesome Lola, thank
you for sharing that. And really, like Lola saying that this doesn’t just happen
like, it’s not a story, it’s not an anecdote, this
is a pattern and a trend that happens in her
community day in and day out. And it’s really really
remarkable to see people step up for each other in this way. And also, I think that,
particularly when we talk about community building happening online, I think your story really
demonstrates the impact that then happens offline,
babysitting in a new home and a flight out of the
situation that she was in. Alejandra and Vanessa, you
guys also really focus on this connection between
the online and the offline and also, just so everybody
knows, in this program it is where we funded community
leaders, one of the qualifications was that you had to be
building your community offline as well and so,
we’re not of the belief that just by connecting people, that that means that a
community is being built but because we have this adherence to this definition of community around this give-and-take relationship, we really believe that
does need to manifest in real life too. And so, I would love for you guys to share how you see that intersection happen. – Hi everyone. My name is Alejandra and this
is my twin sister, Vanessa and we are from Ecuador. We started AWEIK, our community,
to inspire young people to use their talents to give
back in sustainable ways. As cliche as this may sound
in this room, when we were 19, we went to India and worked
for social enterprises and instantly fell in
love with the concept. And we wanted to go back and meet all the social
entrepreneurs in our country and we went there and started
talking to young people and were surprised that not many knew about this way of doing business. No one even saw this as a career path. There was this negative stigma about having a profitable business and also making an impact. Young people were facing, they had to choose between making a living or actually doing good, right? So, we were like, no,
this cannot be happening and we decided to start this community of young social entrepreneurs
in Latin America to find more people like us
and also to inspire others to take this path as a career. – And talking about this
constant offline-online impact, since this event was once
a year, we really needed to keep this constant
interaction throughout the year and we saw many stories that these two really had to work
together in order to make the most sustainable impact. One story that comes to mind
is the story about Wilson. He’s a social entrepreneur
from our community and he wanted to rescue all the traditions of the indigenous woman
in medicinal plants by selling their products. We feature him on an online
video and we posted it and the video went viral. A lot of people starting
to demand his products even people from the U.S.
starting to ask for his products. The only problem was that he wasn’t ready to meet that demand yet so, that’s when we really
realized that, okay, it’s not only about a showing them online but also making the offline
work meet that demand so he can take advantage of all of this. So, it really comes this dynamic where you cannot lose track of one or the other, it’s both that work together
that make the biggest impact. – Yes and another important aspect of the offline work that we do is that, we created this conference
around social entrepreneurship. And this event allowed us to connect and engage with some
organizations and corporations outside of our online community and we really started to
articulate the ecosystem for young entrepreneurs in our country. And it was amazing to see that we were not only changing
the mindset of young people but also of CEOs from big corporations. For example, after our event, the CEO of a local bank came to us and he was very inspired by this concept and he told us that he
wanted to work with us. So, what we did is reallocate the money that he usually spent
on a marketing campaign to provide seed funding for social entrepreneurs in our city. – And one last example
that comes to mind is that, when we show Wilson’s story, he was from a farming community and
he wanted to empower his mom that was an indigenous woman. Another boy from like another
farmer village in Ecuador saw his story online and he realized that his story had power and
that his own story matter and that he could do something
for his own community. So, he approach us after
an event telling us that he really wanted to do something for potato farmers in Ecuador and we kept online contact
with him for over a year and at our last event in Medellin, he approached to us, he was so empowered, he traveled more than
48 hours to get there with other five farmers
and he told us that he had already started his business, that he was inspired by Wilson’s story. So, we just keep seeing this
constant reaction of online but it manifests really offline, all the impact that we are seeing. – Awesome, thank you for sharing that. I think it demonstrates– Both the relational capacity of what it is that you’re building but also, a key thing it is that you learn when you’re learning and
studying community organizing, is you meet people where they’re at and I think that that’s
really what you’re doing, you’re meeting young
people where they’re at. Htet, you also are working
on empowering young people by meeting them where they are in Myanmar. Can you help us understand
what it is that you do and the impact that
you’re seeing as a result? – Thank you Deepti. I will just start with the impact first. – Okay. – We have a girl named Sarah. She just recently graduated and then, she live in a quite a rural area. As a traditional and as it is, so she was arranged marriage in the process of being arranged
marriage by her parents. She can use Facebook twice
a day, morning and night and then other than that, she
has to help with the chores and she can only move if
her brother accompany her to the places that she go. So, that’s the case. And then one day, she
reach out to us and ask, I really wanna go abroad and
study and travel the world so, please get me the way. We have this Facebook community
that we inform young people what are the options and the
choices that they can take and also, upscale Sarah to the point that a person who only know,
minimally how to use Facebook really minimally. We train her to be a Facebook page manager and being able to use Google too and being able to use online, work online just by being online. This Sarah today now, she has a chance to go study at a critical
thinking school in Yangon which is quite rare in Myanmar. And also, she has a chance to go travel at least two or three country. So, this is Sarah, the impact that one of the
case that I wanted to show. Our community is called Myanmar Youth Employment Opportunities. It sounds as it is. We are created as a community
of leader and learner to build an online-offline
integrated learning community to empower Myanmar young people like Sarah so they can catch up with
the rest of the world and also compete in a
changing digital landscape. As you all know, Myanmar
is in a transition period to democratic process and
we just recently got digital to internet, probably faster
than most of the countries and with those changes even still, our education system is quite
oppressed for the past decade. There is a huge gap between what the skills been offering
institutions in the country and what the market of opening up the modern capitalist economy need. So, we’re going in there as a community to handhold the period of
the Myanmar young people so they can jump this gap. That’s essentially what
our community does and like the impact but if you ask me where
the next generation is. In Myanmar, the median age is 27 years old so, when we talk about next generation, it’s not really like
the future or anything, it’s about now, like really now, today. So, we really have to
empower these young people and give them the choices
about what to survive and upscale them, both online and offline. Really, I wanna bring
on this one perspective of offline community and
online integration is what is. On the online community, we
build 80,000 young people, it’s on our community right
now actively across the country including the conflict area where the current war is going on. And then, we have the offline community across 45 universities and we train 4,000 young people offline and 2,500 alone in last three months. This skill is and present
like, it’s unusual in Myanmar especially the bureaucratic systems, anything changing like this cannot happen. So, we could train these
4,000 through the community that come on our online, get the resources and go back into the offline
community and train them. There are 500,000 young
people today that need, about to become like Sarah
so we need more, yeah, additional support and
tap the possibility. – Yeah, thank you for sharing
this especially that last bit, I think it really demonstrates
the power of scale in community building. She’s able to reach so many people because you’re empowering people who then reach out to other people. What that has required is
a willingness to let go and really trusting the people to then take it to these
45 different universities. And I find that too
often, we’re not willing to let go in that way but
what I think you guys do is trust in this remarkable way and that’s why I believe that
they’re really at the helm of addressing this trust deficit that we really live in today. But you’ve also seen how
they’re each addressing a different social issue it is that has probably been
a theme here at Skoll whether it’s women’s issues or education, helping people become entrepreneurs. Dr. Boyede, you work on
child health really directly which is a topic it is that I know some of us
are thinking about here. But coming from a family of
doctors, my mom’s a doctor, my dad’s a doctor, my sister’s a doctor, my brother-in-law’s a doctor,
I would say that it’s not necessarily very typical for a doctor to look to a Facebook group to
be able to provide that care and so I’m just curious why you chose that and what your challenges are. – Hi everyone, I’m Dr. Gbemisola Boyede, I’m a pediatrician from Nigeria. So, answer Deepti’s
question, as a pediatrician, I attend conferences every year organized by pediatricians
for pediatricians and one of the things we always discuss is about the child mortality
statistics in Nigeria which is one of the worst in the world and we’re always looking
at how can we reduce it. We already know what to do, we know 75% of what to do
to drastically reduce it along with hCG 3.0 and all that but every year, nothing
change, we come back and we still repeat the same story. And I realized that there is a gap. We are the pediatricians
talking to each other but the mothers who are
supposed to implement this choice of over strategies,
nobody’s talking to them. So, I decided to create a platform where I can ask the
mothers, know what to do to prevent their children from dying and what platform is
best used than Facebook when majority are already on. So, I started a Facebook group
called Ask the Pediatricians. On Facebook, lots of mothers in Nigeria are used to asking other people questions and sometimes, people also
give them the wrong answer so it’s even worse and that’s
why I created a platform where mothers can actually
ask the professionals so they are sure that when
they get answers here, this is from a child health professional and they can rely on them. And one of the things we also
do is to break down myths or beliefs that are actually
dangerous to child health and those are the reason
why our children are dying. We’ve been able to create a
community that grew quickly, we have over 500,000 women and men as well from our community and
they can ask questions and through this platform, we’ve been able to
correct our belief system. So, mothers are proud to show for that I’m exclusively breastfeeding my babies, all the mistakes I made
with the previous children, I don’t make them anymore. But a mother particularly, for example, posted a picture of a child that was so severely malnourished. People were wondering, was this child from a war-torn country and we
were able to reach out to her but beyond what gave we
her as health information, we also went offline to reach out so that girl had tied into the hospital and three months later,
that child as you know, remarkably recovered and
this is like a typical story that we said again. That child would have become one of those mortality statistics if not for the intervention
we were able to do. But we also realized
that there are mothers who don’t have access to smartphones, who don’t have access to social media, who also need this particular
intervention and so, beyond what we do online,
we also do offline. We do community medical outreaches so, communities that are quite indigent that have very limited access
to healthcare professionals or healthcare facilities,
we do that as well and through that, we’re also able to reach thousands of indigent children. Basically, that’s what we do on Ask a Pediatrician Foundation. – Awesome, that’s very awesome. I’m gonna ask Noah one last question and then what I would love to
do is open it up to all of you to share some of the
challenges and where it is that this community can
really potentially help us and then turn it over to you guys. But Noah, you have been a really formative part of my last year as we’ve been establishing
this new identity of a community entrepreneur. Noah is one of the FCLP residents whom we have given a million
dollars to help his vision of the African Farmers
Club really come alive. I would love for you to share what it’s meant to you
to take on this identity of a community entrepreneur and what it’s meant to get this large piece of funding and the challenges it is that have come with it. – My name is Noah Nasiali Kadima, a father of three, two
boys, twins and a small girl and my background is in tech. My background is in IT,
building tech solutions for the intelligent systems but this is my 13th year as a farmer and my first year as a
farmer sitting on the table and you might be wondering what I mean. A lot of discussions have
been done about farmers. Farmers have been told this is
the right fertilizer to use, you need to use this type
of fertilizer for this soil. They’ve been told basic things like, this is the price of
tractors plowing your land, it’s already been set, irrigation systems have been put there. But last year was a different year and as they say, this is my
first year sitting on the table. Deepti, thank you for Facebook,
they put me on the table to listen to me, to listen
to the African farmers, what do we need? And this is a
transformational change for me as well as farmers in Africa because we discuss about hunger
but we did not discuss who is this person who is
supposed to help us curb hunger? And as the second SDG raises the issue of zero hunger, what are we talking about if
we don’t talk to the farmers? One of the reasons why I
started the Africa Farmers Club was my personal story. I remember I was contracted to
plant cabbages for somebody. Again, this was another story
of being told what to grow and I planted six acres of cabbages. It’s a very interesting story because I grew cabbages and I
remember they were very good because one of, I think the
smallest was like nine kilos. When it came to buy, the
person who had contracted me, who had also been given
funding did not show up so, I was stuck there
with 75,000 cabbages. – And it wasn’t a person,
it was an aid organization that contracted you?
– Yes, yes, yes. And those are 75,000 cabbages and I don’t, I don’t even eat cabbages. And I remember my wife asked me, now we’re going to make cabbage soup? It really disturbed me and
as I was, at some point because the cabbages were now rotting because I didn’t know
when to sell, how to sell, even how to check how ready cabbages were. As I was going back home, I asked myself, probably I’m still
young, I can bounce back, probably even look for a job
but what about this farmer who, that is everything to
them, what happens to them? Before I reached home, I
remember I asked myself, should I start a group? We started a WhatsApp group
initially but after that, I realized this is more
than just a small community and we started the Africa
Farmers Club, July 27th, 2017, it’s a date I’ll never forget. This group has transformed,
it has transformed because it is no longer about Noah Nasiali and today, me being here, it’s not talking about me,
myself and my experience, it is talking about the
real African farmers, what is the story that the world knows about the real African farmer? And it’s a different world. Yes, we are having challenges,
quite a number of challenges but being given a platform
as great as Facebook to be able to share our stories, I remember when we started the group to be able to know that this is a farmer, I asked people who were
joining to take a selfie on their farms and they did that and then people kept on asking, but what about those who
don’t have smartphones? I remember one person asked me, what about the other farmers
who are not available? And I said, we will get to that level. But as we started the community, we started getting very
interesting questions like, can you guys organize and come
and train my farm workers? Where can we come and learn this? I have never studied agriculture and so, that was an opportunity again to reach out using the platform and the community to experts in the industry, experts who are listening to farmers, who are trying to solve farmers’ problems. And we reached out to them, we
organized online discussions and just getting back to
the question you’ve asked, with the resources that are available, now that I’m sitting on the table as well, I’m able to, be able to
bring out these real issues and talking to the
community, to the world. What can you do, what
can we build for farmers? Back home, there’s a part of the country, it’s called Turkana, where
for the longest time, we’ve always heard that
people are dying of hunger and there’s no food. One of our community
members that are there, just to give a short
background, our communities, we have 128,000 farmers across Africa but apart from just the online community, we also have the online communities, we’re also building because
some of the farm workers might not have a smartphone,
how can we reach out to them? And so we’re also building a
very strong offline community with this, thank you to the
resources that now we have. And now, back to the story about Turkana, what happened is that, one of
the members of the community, she told us, please come over
and just see what we’re doing. I remember me and my team,
we started asking ourselves, what do we expect? So, we said, it’s quite a
distance, around 700 kilometers and we cannot just drive
there with food aid and we didn’t want to do the same thing because this is the same
story that has been done for more than 30 years. I’m not yet 40 so I don’t know how it can be 40 years. What happened is, I
remember, she’s called Lucia, she asked us, could you just
come with seeds and fertilizer and basic chemicals and some inputs, even like hoes, jembes for the farms. And we asked ourselves in
the office, is it real, should we really carry this? And we said fine, let’s go and see. When we reached there, it
was a different experience, it was totally different. The post that you’re seeing there, it was, I think less than a
kilometer from the airstrip, there are some farms,
good established farms but where the challenge is
that, the farmers in this area have never been taught what to grow, they’ve never been taught
why they need to grow. One of the big organization has
been raising a lot of money, close to two billion
Kenyan shillings every year to be able to support
and bring out the hunger in this region but this year was different because once we went there, then the announcement was meant to be done about hunger in Turkana
has not been made yet, I don’t know if it’s being made now but we helped out these farmers, we understood and started training them. We showed them basic things like how to plow their land, how to grow. I remember, we saw even
cowpeas being planted and there’s pictures
that you’re seeing there, these are some of the things that, these are like less than two weeks ago and thank you to the
resources that now we have through the Facebook
Community Leadership Program. It is a powerful story, reason being, these are people who have never seen or known that they can plant
and grow their own food. They are even now asking,
where do we sell this food? Yeah, that’s it. – Really, for us coming here to Skoll, it really is about learning
and that’s our priority in terms of really
figuring out how we take this very grassroots, very
organic way of solving problems, of connecting people to one another and help institutionalize it, help direct more capital
in this direction, figure out how we can
help you sustain and scale but still allow you back to
what Edgar reminded us yesterday to have the power of deciding what it is that’s required for your community. And so, I would love to
open it up to any of you, maybe Lola, you can start and just, in helping this audience understand how we can best support you
and even what your reflections and learnings of being at Skoll for the last kind of
day and a half has been. – Thank you. In the past two days, I’ve
learned a lot of lessons and it’s been fantastic
listening to voices that I’ve never really
had a lot of opportunities to learn from, to hear. However, there was something that was, that just kept standing out. In every conversation I’ve had, in every panel that I’ve listened to is that the themes seem so similar to something I’ve heard
over and over and over again and they don’t seem to even closely connect with the
experience that I’m having on ground in my community on an almost moment-to-moment basis. In order to help you
understand what I’m saying, I need to paint a picture
of what the typical day as someone who is leading a Facebook group as large as ours looks like. – [Deepti] Just to remind people, you have 1.5 million members. – Yes, I have a 1.5 million
members in our group. We started out in 2015
and almost immediately, even before I knew what
I was trying to do here, what this was going to, I mean, who plans for a million people in a space? Nobody does. My plan was to find women who were as concerned
about the issues as I was, who could help me build an
environment, the conditions and the atmosphere where
women will feel comfortable speaking up about our concerns. My expectations were that,
these women were gonna come here and like punditry, have
general discussions about what happened. I’m gonna give you an example
of one of the early posts that I put on our group. I combed the internet for
voices which represented what I wanted us to talk about
and one of those earlier post was of a woman who wanted
to go cut her hair. I think I found it on Twitter. She wanted to go cut her
hair and the barber said, okay, so you wanna cut your hair, does your husband know about this? And she was like, what do you mean? She said, well, you’re gonna
need a note from your husband to cut your hair. This is the reality for
lots of our members, this is not unusual. Another experience that
I posted in our group was of a woman who said, she
actually was just running from a violent relationship and she
needed to rent her own place with her three children. And the landlord said, “I’m
sorry I can’t rent to a woman, “like where is your man?” And she said, “I’m kind
of running away from him.” And she just plainly told her
that, if a woman living alone, that would make you a prostitute. I expected this, like I said, general conversations to happen because no one was talking about them. The same thing that happened
with the case of the women that were abducted, not
a single media house said the name of a single
one of the girls, no one. Even those who cared the most didn’t think they should
humanize the individuals, they were just numbers,
276, hundreds of women. We can do better and that’s exactly what
it really comes down to. Could you ask the question again, the second part of your question. – I would love for this audience to know what your challenges are but also, you’ve even been really
thoughtful with me, sharing some of your reflections over the last couple of days in terms of connecting
the conversation here to this reality that you know of. – Essentially, it’s a back to back, it’s constant, we’re always there in order to build a no-judgment zone, the conditions to get women
expressing their experiences forthright and outright,
we needed to do the work of staying up, getting up at sunup and not going to sleep till sundown. Essentially, I can’t
dedicate a minute to it or an hour to it or five hours to it, I am running my community all
the time and I’m not alone. I have 10 people who are assisting me to moderate this community. This only makes sense because we have a very
self-policing culture. Because how else? I mean, just consider
that ratio, is impossible. What I’ve noticed since
I’ve been here however, is that a lot of people
that I’ve listened to seem to be discussing things
that seem so theoretical. It doesn’t consider the
collective intelligence of grassroots which is
what I do every single day, is that I wake up to
600 messages in my inbox of women saying, my child is sick and having absolutely no
idea about what to do next. Doctors, hospitals as far as the UK, calling me to say, one of your
members is on suicide hold and she doesn’t wanna talk
to members of her family. She asked us to call you and talk to you. This is how we became a
lifeline for our members. This is how we grow from
zero to 1.5 million members even though we’re a secret group which cannot be found in search. It’s absolutely organic. – Just to make that really clear, if you guys tried on
your phone to find it, you couldn’t find it, so 1.5 million women have
found it through word-of-mouth. – Yes. – Or being referred into the group. – [Audience Member] To become a member, you need to be presented by someone else? – Yes, it’s invite-only. So, just imagine how
much value we must give for each individual who
enters the community to have to go back and add
every single woman she knows. That is what is going
on on our Facebook group and it’s because of the
connections that we’re making there it’s because of the real
transformational changes that we’re making in people’s lives, that we’re now meeting in real, offline, that we’re now meeting around the world. We’ve had events all over
the world from Italy to Ghana to here in the United Kingdom. 3,000 members came together in a meet-up in Lagos, Nigeria, 600 members in London. These are the numbers all over the world. We had so much going
on that we essentially, had to put that on hold, we
had to put our events on hold ’cause they got too big,
this was the problem we had. And so, just imagine the
thirst that we have generated. We’re bringing our events
back this year with a bang. And guess what? We have grown by a million members since. So, the truth of the matter is,
there are lots of challenges when we’re faced with
communities like that and those challenges don’t seem to, the narratives that we have now don’t take those realities
into consideration at all. It doesn’t take into
consideration the fact that, I am a regular woman, a
mom of two little girls and I’m doing this without getting paid. It doesn’t take into consideration at all that this matters enough to me and to other people who
are helping to build this and these guys, that we
wanna die doing this. Being able to make a– Thank you. But there is a lot that
is coming out of this. We’re sidestepping the bureaucracies that are not prioritizing our needs. But I want to hear those
conversations being had with the people who have the ability and the access to the
people who have the ability to help us create this
change in a real way. I’m gonna say great so the
main concerns that we have or should I say, the biggest
worry points that we have. Here I am, a regular
woman from modest means. I wanna help and I know a
whole movement of people who are behind me, who trust that I can. We have proven that we can. How do we do that? First, we wanna be able
to reach individuals who are unable to have
access to the internet and cannot be on Facebook. It’s extremely expensive
to use the internet for most of our members. Yeah, we have members in
more than 99 countries around the world but
there are still people who we haven’t yet been able
to reach, millions more people. Being able to bring them together in such an engaging community can be transformational for the world. Imagine what they could do. Our members aren’t just trying to take, they wanna give. I’ll give you a quick anecdote. A woman has come to our group and said, I had a baby and I don’t
have any money to buy, I’m about to have a baby in two days and I don’t have any money to provide the things that my baby
needs and within minutes, there are people who are
not just offering her a place for a baby to sleep,
they’re going to her house, to go welcome her at the hospital. At scale, this would be magic. And we wanna be able to
do that by number one, bringing physical spaces to
societies, to the locations, going to where women don’t
need to have the internet in order for them to be
able to get this assistance, to get the tone and the
heart of our community, bring it into their local
areas, where they can walk in, be linked to services from
mental illness services to whatever services, to
be able to have access to parenting information in a real way, to be able to have access
to maternal health care in a real way. We are ready to listen and learn from structures that already
exist and what you’re doing but we need you to be
able to listen and learn from what we’re trying to
do here and we have scale, we have the platform to help
you move an army of people to do anything you want
within a short period of time. Within five minutes of my
group, when you make a post, five minutes, I can guarantee
you, 40,000 reactions from your primary target audience. – Awesome Lola, thank you.
– Thank you. – I really wanna make sure
we have time for dialogue, and I think we have to end at one so, I would love to open this up to Q&A unless any of you have
like a burning challenge that you really need
to get off your chest. – I just have one quick note. I run a community for
education as I mentioned and there are challenges that I face when I was talking about technology. In my country, technology,
it’s traditional, you consider that you have to have an app to consider education tech company. No one download app, people don’t even have app
store in the phone anymore. So, we have to redefine
what education tech could potentially be. Is technology proximity,
is it the new tech? So, that’s yeah, it’s my like
burning challenge that I face every time I go talk to people. – Yeah and I think even related
to that, what I often hear, there’s like the tech
when you’re making an app that people are beginning
to understand what that is but there’s the tech when
you’re just using social media to be able to be the tool to serve people and that is something it is
that I feel is that there’s even much less understanding about. Did you wanna say something Noah and then I’ll turn it around? – I think for me, as I started, I mentioned
that I’m a father of twins one day, my son asked me, “Daddy, why are you forcing
us to eat this food? “We don’t want this.” And I looked at him and I wondered, if I told my mom that at that age, it would’ve been a different story . And I thought about it
but this reality hit me when I got the award and I asked myself, what am I going to do? I waited for some proposal from Facebook in that like, you need to do this. But that was so different
because, I was told, think about what you want
to do, you are the expert, let us know what you want
to do, we can help you. And why this is important is because, it gave me and my team the free will, because we have been
building this community. So, my humble appeal to
the community out there is, as Lola has said and she
has said it very well, is we have the community,
we have the people. In my world and this industry, we have the farmers who
know what they want. Please listen to us, as
you build these systems, there’s a lot of agritech, even right now, there’s an agritech
conference going on in Kenya but I am very sure there are no farmers that have been invited to sit there. So, listen to us, we are already there. If my child can say, “Daddy, I
don’t want to eat this food,” probably something else,
what about us farmers? If you’re building irrigation systems, what works well for us? – Thank you. – And one last thing I wanted to share and it echos everyone’s thoughts is that, we are young people and
sometimes we have all the energy, passion, we want to change the world, we want to build new things but of course, we lack the wisdom and experience that only time can give you. So, I guess my humble ask is, please share your
knowledge with us and also, let’s make it a two-way conversation so we can give you our insights
what our generation wants, how do we work, how do we see the world and how can we work with your structure and your way of scaling things
to really push this forward. So, I guess it’s about like listening and just sharing with us as well. – Thank you. I think that’s a great
segue to opening it up to any and all of you to ask any questions. – My question is a theory,
actually I’m, my name’s, oh. My name’s Chloe, I actually
used to live in Myanmar for about four years. I worked for the British
Chamber of Commerce so, I was more in the kind
of private sector side and one of the common, one of
the key challenges in Myanmar is access to human capital
and finding young people and training them in such a way that there’s a sustainability
in terms of skill set. So, my question to you is, how important do you see the
private sector playing a role in facilitating that
because what we found is, not a lot of Myanmar
organizations have the capacity to develop internships or even understood what
the value of an intern would be in their offices,
neither did the international larger organizations? They did have some
capacity to develop that but I think that learning hasn’t quite filtered
down in the system so, what’s your thoughts on
the private sector side but also the government in promoting that? – Thank you for the questions. In Myanmar, as she mentions,
it’s quite a difficulty what we’re to try to change is, we’re trying to change the systems. First, we have a phase
one, inform and inspiring through a Facebook online
community and also teaching. Now, we’re at rescaling people. And then there is a third phase called Connecting Opportunities. That’s the phase that
we’re working on next year and now we’re already started. We’ve identified that, when you go talk to company now, the employee don’t know
how to send emails. The CEO has to sit down and teach, this is how you send emails. They don’t know how to do file sharing. This is a reality that we’re facing in our human capital in Myanmar. So, we’re trying to
train these young people to the point that, it’s
almost unknown in speed so, we’re trying to educate the, like we have Facebook Community
money and then we use that and create a program called ki-te. In English it’s called modern. So, we’re trying to
create a modern workforce and try to bring this
dialogue of companies and government sector
together in one place. We’re trying to train these young people and placements in a tech
company, like e-commerce and also we’re in the
process of discussions of placing these young people into a regional
governments and parliament. If it happens, it’s
gonna be the first time. But there are discussions
going on since last year, it’s just that the dynamic of the need of human capital and the action that they
really have to take, they cannot just sit down in the table and make the miracle happen. So, there are changes
going on in the systems and we’re trying to push it, yeah. – Thank you. Anybody else? – Incredibly inspiring, thanks so much. I wondered if the panel could talk about how you handle sort of maybe
the darker side of groups. I’ve moderated some groups myself and the misogyny that you’re talking about, that your group is protecting
women from and the violence, sometimes that can also
come up in our groups even when they’re private and so, we’ve talked a lot about
the benefits of Facebook and I’m sure you’re very well aware there’s also a lot of
attention on the company about some of the way it’s fueling the darker side of society so, I’d love to gather the wisdom from the
panel of how they manage that. – I think I can try that. Our community has been
basically for farmers and it is very interesting that
sometimes you get situations that you don’t even know what to do. I remember there’s a member
of the committee posted that, she just said, this is the
end, I cannot take it anymore. Interestingly, some of these
posts are not seen as fast. But when I saw this post,
I tried to reach out to her and I could not get her. So, I reached out to someone
else who had replied and said, where are you, I’m coming to your house? And so, I followed with the
person who had mentioned that she’s going to that person’s house and very interestingly, it was, I think, the longest three hours of my life because I was waiting for this lady, the member of our community to reach to this other person’s house and she was stuck in the house screaming and she wanted to take her life and I did not know what to do. I have never reached that
and I thought probably, I’ll only be solving farmers
and farmers’ problems. I didn’t realize farmers problems are more than just the farm. What happened is that, we
had to take down that post because now, everybody
was asking questions, all the bad things were now
also being put out there. We managed to convince her that
I could talk to her on phone and she tried to explain,
she explained to me what the problem was, I was quite far so, I sent one of the moderators
as well to just reach out and go there physically. What I’m trying to say is that, there’s a lot of negative
that will be out there, a lot of negative, even
when you pick a newspaper. Bad sells, bad news sells faster but it is up to us as we are
working with communities, what can we turn, how
can we bring out the best out of what is already out there because, it is already out there but
people are looking for hope. People are looking for
a shoulder to lean on. You’ll not just lean on
anybody you meet in the streets but as we are building these communities, there’s a lot that is going on. I also sit in as the CLC lead as well. – CLC is a program that Facebook runs called Community Leader Circles where we help facilitate community leaders to be able to meet locally
to support each other. – Yes, so, I sit at Nairobi. We see quite a number of
negative posts coming out there but sometimes I ask myself,
when you see a bank robbery, what do you see? Do you see the vehicle
that these bank robbers drove to that particular bank to steal or do you see the robbery itself? It is important for us to
also see the difference. Because if the, there’s a vehicle called Noah
so, I’ll just use my name. If the robbers use Noah to go and steal, will you stop buying Noah because of that? So, it is just to be
able to see what positive can we bring out from these communities that are already there? Because already, negative out there. Do we still sit and dwell on the negative or what can we refine? – Go ahead. – There’s negative. The way we are battling
negativity in our community is by building it into the fabric of our community culture, that negativity, that we have a zero
tolerance for negativity. Think about it, the
mission is to end silence and we have created a no-judgment zone. There’s no way, if people are negative or if there is, just the
atmosphere isn’t right for us to connect and be compassionate, then, our entire community doesn’t work. So, it is the first
thing that needs to go. We’ve battled that with lots of tools that Facebook has actually built to make that workable for us and we’ve also battled that with rules. In my community for instance, because it’s a place where
we put our hearts on display on a daily basis, where we defy a culture that does not prioritize us and so, the first rule is, do not judge. And we’ve taken the extra
step to help people understand what that even means and
what that even looks like. The second is do not share. So, respect is important in that space. You sharing the story of
someone in a private space to another space is not
because we’re afraid, you don’t tell your
story to a million people because you’re afraid but
because you don’t have a right to rob that individual of their voice. They get to decide who
to tell their story to and that is the reason
why that, do not share is another rule that is important to us; we only have five. The third is, we respect your
faith, your personal faith, but in this space, where we have women
from all over the world, you cannot lead with your faith, you have to lead with your
heart and logical thoughts because we can all relate with that. The fourth is no unsolicited advice. So essentially, just because
it pops into your head does not mean it needs to
exit out of your mouth. It is the premier responsibility of every one of us to have self-control and
to bring it to that space. It is a privilege to be in FIN. It is a privilege to
hear stories from women from all over the world. These are stories, many of
them, I’ve never told anyone. A woman shared that, for 40 years, she had kept it to herself that, her father had been sexually
assaulting her for 16 years. This is something that
could easily go viral because it is information that
you cannot find anywhere else but the reason it’s not
going viral is respect. So, I think it really comes
down to us, the leaders, being able to define what our mission is, being able to refine that message and being able to
succinctly and consistently communicate exactly what that mission is to the individuals who
are in our community and to the people who are
outside of our community. I think we have a responsibility
to protect our people. – I think that’s exactly right Lola and what I hope you
guys take away from this is exactly what you ended
with, which is that, building a community is not pushing a few buttons on your phone and starting a Facebook group. That it really is an act of
courageous and moral leadership and that’s what these individuals
are really demonstrating is the responsibility to use your language that you’re taking of the
thousands of people it is, millions of people that
may be following you. It’s not push push push, it’s not just clicktivism, whatever that word is. It really is leadership, it’s judgment, it’s defining the norms and
the rules of your group and so, these leaders are often
approached by a number of NGOs or brands to say, hey, can we distribute through you. And what I know all of you have done is said no more than you’ve said yes because the values and the
norms of your community aren’t gonna be respected. And I think that’s why this
work is harder than it seems and needs the support
of larger institutions to be able to see it through
and ensure it’s sustainable. – [Lola] In our community, we have said no every single time. – Yeah, you’ve never said yes, Lola. – Yeah. The reason why, is not
because we don’t understand, I know the value of being able
to feed myself and my family and I know the value of
being able to give more to our community but I think
that we have to hold out for real help, we have to hold
out to do something massive that is transformational. If I am all passionate about making sure I’m able to do the
things that I need to do, what about the millions of people we can make a difference for? I think that that is more important than me being able to do that. – One last question, I know we’re coming
close to the end of time. Yeah. – Hi, thank you so much
for the incredible, the way you articulate your leadership. Thanks for bringing
community organizing to 2.0. We’ve been doing it as
communities through history so, it’s incredible to
see that human capacity. My question’s to Facebook. In the UK, the west has concerns around access to
information to communities, in asylum applications,
governments having access. So, what is as your responsibility, all community leaders,
what is Facebook doing to support that or how do
you support these spaces for truth and safety to support these incredible leaders? – I think you’re exactly right, I think we have a lot of responsibility. One part of my work is to really establish this new discipline of
community entrepreneurship. Another part of my work
is to really understand how bad actors take
advantage of the platform. And so, what we’re doing
is, actually sitting down, three weeks ago I was in
Beirut in the Middle East so, a different context
than the one that you raised with human rights
activists and civil society really trying to understand
first, more deeply in the same way, the approach
it is that we’ve taken with supporting these
community entrepreneurs is by first listing to them, really understanding
what the challenges are, what their needs are and then
building from that perspective whether it’s the products or
the tools or the programs. And similarly, we’re sitting down with human rights
activists and civil society all over the world but three weeks ago, I was in Beirut meeting
with human rights activists from about 17 different countries to really help us understand
what the challenges really are and then, what we can do to prevent those bad
actors from operating. But yeah, I totally agree, we
have a large responsibility and we’re really beginning
to take some steps on it. I’m getting a marker. Thank you guys very much
for being part of this and yes, please feel free to be in touch as you think about ways it
is that we can work together.

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