My readers often wonder and ask me the origin of the name Kataru Concepts, its meaning, impact on my life, and relationship with Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO). Today in this blog, I want to delve into this matter so that readers can understand the power and influence of the name, the programs we run, and how it all began.
Having been brought up by a father who was a primary school teacher, a reputable farmer practicing mixed farming, and an elected farmer’s representative in Mumias Outgrowers Company (MOCO) a local company that represented farmers’ interests in the newly commissioned Mumias Sugar Company (MSC), my early life was spent helping around the farm and watching my father address farmers grievances.
When I vied for the Member of County Assembly (MCA) seat, East Wanga ward, Mumias East sub-county, Kakamega County in 2013, I did not know that I had begun a journey into community service. In Kenya, MCA is the lowest elective seat, where members sit in their respective county Assemblies and legislate on laws that govern and manage devolved resources aimed at improving the livelihoods of the common mwananchi (residents). While vying for the seat, I established a “three-point agenda” which included;
- Improved agricultural practices that would open ways for agribusiness
- Improved health by provision of basic health services from the county government
- Community empowerment touching on organized groups such as youth and women groups, self-help groups, and associations
The rebirth of “Kataru Concepts”
While on the campaign trail, I would always open my speech with the words, “I have THREE promises to work on if I get elected” which elicited excitement in my audience, who resonated with and recited the three points ululating and hanging on every word! That was when voters started calling me “Owa Kataru” which in my local Luhya-Wanga dialect meant, “the one with three points”. Unfortunately, I lost the 2013 election to a more experienced opponent but was inspired to set up a blog which I named “Kataru Concepts”, and decided to conceptualize my three-point agenda in readiness for the next elective contest or non-elective opportunity that could enable me to fulfill my desire to serve my community and push my “three-point agenda”.
My big opportunity with SAWBO animation videos
In late 2019, I was introduced to SAWBO by my former student, Sammy Lutomia whom I had taught computers while he was still young. At first, I was hesitant because I didn’t understand what was expected of me, but he persisted. He encouraged me to turn my blogging prowess from the less rewarding political genre to a more development-oriented approach. After watching several animation videos and studying the categories listed in the SAWBO video library, I discovered the content was exactly what I was looking for to complete my pet three-point agenda for serving my community.
Through SAWBO, I found lots of scientifically researched, proven, and digitally captured educational content that would benefit farmers, health workers, traders, transport operators, warehousing agents, structured community-based groups, and individuals too. My excitement came when I discovered that this content was being offered by SAWBO at no cost, and was simple to access, download, watch, understand, and even share with friends and family with ease via WhatsApp and other social media platforms and apps such as Bluetooth and Xender.
I also noticed that SAWBO content could be shared on flash disks and memory sticks, then watched on TV screens, on computers and laptops, and transmitted as a TV program by TV stations. These animation videos were further simplified by translations into several international and local languages and dialects which make them accessible to both the literate and semi-literate members of our society.
Visiting communities with animation videos
During the three years as a SAWBO knowledge partner, content manager, and developer, I have had the opportunity to work and interact with several Kenyan and African communities on a number of educative processes captured in the animated videos. We have conducted many training sessions, farm visits, household visits with health workers, and online training sessions. This experience has enriched my knowledge and understanding of what a fulfilling service to one’s community means. It has made me strongly believe that to serve, you don’t necessarily need a political or elective office, but just a calling, a passion, a push, and an urge to do something better for the next person and generation.
Together with the team that I created over the years, we have had the opportunity to build a wide network of volunteers and content beneficiaries in all the 47 counties of the Republic of Kenya, and we are in the process of reaching out to our friends and neighbors across Africa. We have also brought together a number of professionals from several fields that offer guidance and plan our activities as we seek to provide solutions using the readily available and free SAWBO content.
Advice to fellow bloggers and online platform users
To my fellow bloggers and social media users who might be struggling to seek an identity in the content they develop and live a meaningful life pursuing their dreams and building a cohesive society, SAWBO offers a lot of life-changing content on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as fighting hunger, conserving our environment, sustainable agriculture, etc. The Kenyan government is at the forefront of pushing for the realization of the “Vision 2030” and the “Big Four Agenda” where digital content provided by SAWBO plays an integral role. Besides using digital platforms for political purposes (which flows in most Kenyan veins), please venture into development and share ideas that enhance the growth within your society.