7 TEDTalks About Empowerment in Africa To Watch This Week

7 TEDTalks About Empowerment in Africa To Watch This Week

Posted by Cera Muchiri on


TEDTalks are a great resource for anyone in search of ideas worth practicing. TED hosts a great variety of videos, but it’s easy to be at a loss for where to start your educational binge. Below are a few TEDTalks about empowerment and equality vis a vis Africa.

  1. Empower a girl, transform a community | Kakenya Ntaiya

Kakenya Ntaiya is a Kenyan educator and activist. She was betrothed to be married at the tender age of 5 after undergoing FGM as per Maasai tradition. By her own wits as a teen, she managed to negotiate her way out of that marriage though, and do what no other woman from her community had done before: study abroad. 

After earning her PhD in education from the University of Pittsburgh, Kakenya returned to her community to facilitate vulnerable girls’ education and empowerment. She founded Kakenya’s Dream, which works towards ending harmful traditional practices in Kenya. She has earned several awards, including the 2018 Break The Silence McGrath Activist Award.


2. William Kamkwamba: How I Built a Windmill

William Kamkwamba is the Malawian innovator whose story was turned into the Netflix film “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. He was just 14 years old when he built his family an electricity generating windmill from bicycle spare parts. The only technical education he had had by then was just an old library book.


His story is similar to Richard Turere’s who also has a TEDTalk on how a simple invention helped cure the human wildlife conflict that was perennial in his area. 

3. The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The story we tell about ourselves, whether by ourselves or by others, affects how we live. In this TEDTalk the Nigerian writer Chimamanda charts the journey of how she came to see the danger of a single story.

Chimamanda builds on the same ideas explored by the late BBC journalist Komla Dumor in his TEDxEuston talk Telling the African Story”.

4. How Africa Can Keep Rising | Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo is a distinguished Nigerian economist and development expert. She has served in key positions at the World Bank, Gavi, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Center for Global Development.

While serving as Finance Minister in Nigeria, she helped found African Risk Capacity, a specialized agency of the African Union to help member states prepare for and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters. 

This Talk speaks on how this agency can serve as a model to keep Africa rising.

5. We can end poverty, but this is why we haven't | Teva Sienicki | TEDxMileHighWomen

Teva is an American social worker. She has experience running non-profits catering for the homeless and refugees. She transformed Growing Home, a small shelter program from serving 30 families into a comprehensive anti-poverty organisation that currently serves 4,600 families annually.

While Teva’s work and Talk are not about Africa, the ideas and principles apply.

 6. Three Reasons Why We Can Win the Fight Against Poverty | Andrew Youn

Andrew Youn founded The One Acre Fund in Kenya along with John Gachunga. The One Acre Fund makes low-interest loans and provides agricultural education to East African farmers. It creates groups of 200 farmers who get better prices by buying modern commercial seeds in bulk. The fund also provides crop insurance and claims that on average farmers working with them double their profits in a single planting season.

In this Talk he discusses how the majority of the world’s poor are farmers and offers practical ideas about how this situation can be changed.

While Youn’s work has been very controversial and my opinion on him and his work is very conflicted, the vision he lays out in this TEDTalk is very important in the way we think about small scale farming in Africa.

7. Africa is poor and 5 other myths | Simon Moss | TEDxWarwick

Simon Moss is a campaigning and community education expert. He has contributed on development issues at some of the world's leading conferences including the G20, the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is the co-founder of the Global Poverty Project, an education and campaigning organisation working towards the end of extreme poverty, and wrote the ground-breaking 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation, which has been delivered 750+ times to 100,000+ people since 2009.


In this Talk he talks about how aid and volunteering cannot help end poverty, and gives ideas on how each individual can contribute to the empowerment of their fellow humans in any part of the world.

I found much inspiration from this collection of ideas on ending inequality and starting on a journey of empowerment. I hope you did too. If I left any talk out, please leave a comment below.

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