Waza Experience

Cite as:

Okune, Angela, Philip Ochola Mak'Anyengo, Sylvester Wachira Ndaiga, Sidney Ochieng, Rhoda Omenya, Chris Orwa, Nanjira Sambuli, and Varyanne Sika. 2018. "Waza Experience." In iHub Research (2011 - 2017): A Critical Technology Action Research Group Within Nairobi's Flagship Tech Innovation Hub, created by Okune et al. In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.


AO: Waza (Swahili for “Active Thinking”) Experience was an iHub community initiative that aimed to foster active thinking and creativity in Kenyan youth. Several members from the iHub Research team were involved in its conception and day-to-day planning and management. The program sought to train the next generation of tech researchers to tap into their innate curiousity.

This PECE essay helps to answer the STS Across Borders analytic question: “What educational programs have been built within and through this STS formation?

This essay is part of a broader exhibit on iHub Research.

STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more

Studying Waza Experience

AO: Given that the program was run by researchers, a central aspect of running Waza was to also iteratively learn and reflect on the process. Each year, we made tweaks to the curriculum and adjusted the program based on what we had learned. The team also wrote and presented on these learnings. For example, in February 2015, Wachira and Anne Salim traveled to Mbita, Kenya to speak about the camps at Tedx Mbita. They also presented a research paper at ICTD 2015 conference in Singapore and in November 2015, they showcased highlights from the program at the ict4si.org conference.


Ndaiga, Wachira, and Anne Salim. 2015. “Kids Hacker Camps in Kenya: Hardware Hacking Effectiveness in Skills Transfer.” In Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, 52:1–52:4. ICTD ’

Abstract: " Hardware hacking involves modifying hardware (not limited to computers) to expand its capabilities. The iHub Kids Hacker Camps (KHC) have been run successively for over 17 months. KHC was initiated and developed in the spirit of project based learning to encourage kids and...Read more

How did iHub Research embody principles of experimentality?

Wachira Ndaiga (July 2018): "One great example would be the Kids Hacker Camp Program and Curriculum Design. Having understood that there was a need for quality exploratory and educational platforms tailored to the needs of young children (9 - 12 yrs), iHub Research pioneered a study in the effectiveness of hardware hacking as a viable method of skills transfer. Various partners were identified such as the MIT Media Lab, Raspberry Pi Foundation and IEEE with whom we worked with to develop both the tools and framework upon which Educational Technology (EdTech) instruction could be based. Experiments involved iteratively trialing the curriculum and tools over week long holiday camps over a 2 year duration, resulting in the development of an educational tool dubbed ‘Panyabot’. The latter claimed praise and awards from the Africa Robotics Network (AFRON) 2014 Design Challenge, competing against world-class efforts from MIT and Harvard (SEE MORE HERE). Additionally, outreach and promotion through/of our work allowed for wide interest having presented our research at numerous forums such as ICTD ‘15 as well as a TEDx event. Our research went on to further assist similar programs in countries like Ghana."

Waza Experience website

Waza Experience 2015 newsletter

AO: This newsletter provides a snapshot of how the program had evolved by 2015.Read more

Photo Albums

Photos Set 1

Photos Set 2