Amplify, Africa’s first paid-fellowship for content creators, held a graduation for its inaugural cohorts on Friday 7 April in Nairobi, Kenya. Three teams of young storytellers from Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria presented their final projects to an all-star panel of Africa’s leading business, media and technology personalities. The Fellowship was launched in 2016 by Zain Verjee and Chidi Afulezi, the co-founders of aKoma, a content and storytelling platform focused on Africa.
The judging panel, comprising Professor Bitange Ndemo, Pamela Sittoni of Nation Media Group, Patricia Obozuwa of GE Africa and Google Kenya’s Charles Murito, commended the Amplify Fellows for a “bold, dynamic and provocative approach to storytelling.” Each country cohort was tasked with creating a branded content campaign for GE Africa. The judges singled out Kenya in particular for their attention to detail and their ability to bring to life some compelling stories about the impact GE Africa was having in Kenya.
Launched in September 2016 in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, Amplify’s mission is to develop a fellowship of young, dynamic multimedia content creators who will craft compelling stories about Africa. The inaugural graduation, held in Nairobi was the culmination of an intensive six-month fellowship that saw 25 fellows – writers, photographers, animators, and videographers – learn technical, creative and business skills to enhance their careers in content creation for Africa.
Zain Verjee, aKoma Co-Founder & CEO says, “Seeing our first group of Amplify fellows flex their creative talent and take storytelling to new levels in their final presentations, both creatively and technically, has been an incredible experience. Our Fellows consistently delivered stories and insights, from across Africa, that are generally ignored by international media outlets. The entire process of this inaugural Fellowship has revealed the dynamic talent bursting out of every seam of the continent”.
“Stories are so important to our perception of one another and our understanding of ourselves,” says Jamie Farshchi, Editorial Manager, The MasterCard Foundation. “Through aKoma, the Amplify Fellows are broadening our understanding by telling stories that may not otherwise be heard.”
Patricia Obozuwa, Director of Communications & Public Affairs of GE Africa expressing excitement at the graduation said “We are committed to skills development in Africa and as such, are proud to partner with aKoma on this first of a kind training initiative.
“There is no better time than now to invest in developing content creators who can help tell the African story in new and exciting ways” she added.
Verjee concludes, “Together with our partners, The MasterCard Foundation and GE Africa, we have been able to deliver mentorship, facilitate pan-African collaboration between young creatives and foster a community of learning, shared interests and, importantly, passion for authentic African storytelling. The Amplify Fellows are the next generation of influencers and thinkers for Africa, and we are thrilled to have been a part of their journey”. The fellows themselves described the fellowship in a word: “Afrithentic”.
Founded by CNN alumni Zain Verjee and Chidi Afulezi, aKoma is an open source content platform and storytelling community where a combination of user generated and original content about Africa and its diaspora are created, published and shared with the world.