GitHub Field Day Nairobi 2022

The tagline for the event was: "An unconference for leaders of technical student communities".

I applied because I thought it would be a really cool oportunity to meet other community leaders and get to hear their stories. A while ago, I would describe my efforts as trying to become a community leader or trying to understand the value of communities. But, a good friend of mine challenged my use of the word "trying". What she said went something like, "there's no trying, just doing or not doing." For some reason that stuck with me. That said my goal is to become a better community leader and leader in general.

I currently lead a group of four including myself as we explore web development. I also lead a tennis team as a team manager. So naturally, I would like to learn how to be a better leader and how to keep my groups engaged and self sufficient. In a way that ensures the groups keep going even in my absentia and when I eventually transition to other things.

But I digress. The day was really cool. I was approached to volunteer which I happily accepted. This opened me up to the chaos that is event planning. Props to anyone out there who plans events. You're quite something.

When the dust settled, I joined the one of 3 breakout rooms. Our room had really cool discussions where I got a tonne of insights from.

Here are some of the ideas and lessons shared that I remember and that stood out to me.

  1. How to think about funding as a community leader
  • Start at home and with what resources your school can avail you. Involve your HODs and ask them for specific support. One great way of facilitaing this is by having a budget that can be floated to them for consideration.
  • Start planning early to allow for things to go wrong and delays in getting support to be accomodated.
  • Collaborate with other communinties in your school. Think DSC collaborating with a GitHub community or a Microsoft community to get events off the ground
  • Approach companies that might have an interest in your developer community or even community as a whole. Think startups and big companies that can come in and give you support.
  • Think of support and funding as a mixed stew. You throw in support in different shapes to form your entire stew.
  1. Being in touch with your community as a leader
  • A great example of this was a DSC lead who talked about her experience with her community memebers. They were always bringing up the issue of members not signing up and new recruits being low. But one day, the lead got to interact with members as she awaited a delayed meeting to take place. In this interaction, she learnt that the signup form was a little buggy and it needed an extra step to submit your details but most people would miss it and endup never getting to apply. She also realized that Freshers didn't know about the DSC club but the club just had the assuption that everyone knows about them but they just aren't signing up.
  1. Extending your ability to work as a leader by delegating
  • this one is dear to my heart because I have soo many ambitions but soo little time. And even as I start, I see how for my groups, my presence seems to be the heart of the group and that I can already see will be problematic in the scenario where I have all my endevours clashing and some community activities need to still run. Multiplying myself by identifying individuals with potential and bringing them under my wing and mentoring them, then having them take over some responsibilites and setting them up to take over in my absentia sounded like a really cool way to make sure that the heart of the club is living body of individuals who always make sure to grow.

Lol an interesting way to think about this is redundancies. in cloud computing because I'm taking a cloud computing class. Lol maybe I should make this article a cloud computing adjacent article and try and make associations to help me study

  1. Leaning on the strenghts of established resorces and documenting as much as you can
  • this was actually my own point. And I think I kinda started off a solution for a problem I am having. So I mentioned earlier that I lead a community of 4 web developers including myself. One issue I am already facing is creating and using my own training material to take them through things. This is great from the perspective of I get to solidify my own knowledge. But it hit a bottleneck pretty fast where whenever other things I am doing ramp up, we stall because I can't create the content we need to move on. I think I'll pivot to already created content and work more like a facilitator. And then work on making sure checkin sessions can happen without me and that documenting of these sessions and the progress we've made is always done.