My Experience Attending and Moderating a Session at MozFest House Kenya 2023
The first-ever Mozilla Festival (MozFest) House in Africa, took place on September 21st and 22nd in Kenya at Nairobi’s Shamba House Cafe. I was excited to not only attend, but to moderate a session during MozFest House: Kenya.
About MozFest House
MozFest House: Kenya is a regional extension of MozFest, the premiere gathering for activists, artists, technologists, policymakers, researchers and educators in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. This was the second MozFest this year, with the first taking place in Amsterdam.
MozFest House: Kenya is the embodiment of Mozilla’s Africa Innovation Mradi convening strategy, facilitating spaces for diverse communities to come together to share knowledge, debate and build partnerships focused on the development and governance of digital technologies in Eastern and Southern Africa.
This year, MozFest House was focused on harnessing our collective power to better our digital landscape, build transformative systems, and sustain momentum within our community towards positive human and digital rights progress especially with emerging trends in AI and Big Tech.
Right now, tech workers in Kenya are fighting for better working conditions and pay with Kenya being at the center of the conversations around AI and content moderation. Digital extractivism and exploitation are at the top of the list for activists and policymakers to tackle. With that in mind, there were over 20 sessions put together by different African researchers, artists, policymakers and technologists, and the keynote speaker was announced as Facebook whistleblower, Daniel Motaung.
Mozfest House: Kenya
On day 1, I attended 5 sessions and learned quite a bit about AI and the conversations being had in the space with regards to ethics, data privacy, accessibility, language and training. It was clear that there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to ethically harnessing AI tools on the continent.
On day 2, Daniel Moutang gave his keynote and it was a powerful reminder that the work we are doing for a better internet is more important than ever. Social media, AI and other tools and platforms are only as good or as bad as we allow them to be. It is our job to demand accountability and transparency from Big Tech and from our governments.
Moderating My Session
I also moderated a Pan-African conversation on human rights in the digital world. On my panel were James Wamathai, Director of Partnerships at the Bloggers Association of Kenya, Sani Suleiman Sani, Program officer at Paradigm Initiative, from Nigeria and Richard Mulonga, CEO at Bloggers of Zambia, from Zambia. The conversation was robust and focused on the different ways in which we need to take businesses and tech companies to task on protecting human rights online and how we can collaborate and learn from one another across Africa.
There was also a Data Futures Lab showcase where local projects, organizations and initiatives experimenting with better models of data governance showcased their work. Mozilla awarded impact grants totaling $30,000 and an audience favorite for “greatest potential impact.”
I was interviewed on the last night about my experience by TV47 and it was a great conversation. In true, Mozilla spirit, there was great entertainment from wonderful Kenyan artistes including Coster Ojwang’, Only Rosa and Mutoriah.
Tickets to the MozFest House: Kenya were free and the event sold out, but you could still catch live streams of some of the sessions online. All in all, it was a great experience and hopefully one of many MozFest Houses on the continent.http://www.mwendengao.com/2023/09/24/my-experience-attending-and-moderating-a-session-at-mozfest-house-kenya-2023/EventsTech