Our keynote speaker at "Africa-UK Connections in Practice - New Approaches for 2015" was Tim Unwin (more about Prof Tim Unwin and his various roles.) Tim was at our event "as himself". Here is the keynote video.
Why we value Tim Unwin
Tim's connections to what he has described as the "Dadamac family" go back many years. Tim has a wonderful way of saying the kind of things that we believe and experience in Dadamac, but seldom hear spoken about elsewhere. We value him enormously for his validation of our work and:
- His deep understanding of realities on the ground, such as the ones we represent.
- His standing in the worlds of academia, and policy making, where practitioners voices are seldom heard.
- His work in ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development) advocating for the unempowered.
Contributing to Dadamac
It is characteristic of Dadamac that people "give of themselves", and Tim was a great example. He travels widely so his weekends in the UK are precious. Not only did he give the keynote, but he stayed until the early afternoon to be further involved. Tim also recognises Dadamac's financial realities and willingly covered his own expenses. On the day itself I was reminded of my time as a classroom teacher, when Tim greeted me and thrust his "dinner money" into my hand.
A valuable outcome
Another feature of Dadamac is the way that people often connect online long before they meet face-to-face.
Tim Unwin and John Dada have connected at a distance through Dadamac for many years, but January 10th was their first opportunity to meet face-to-face. John referred to his appreciation of Tim's work and influence in a video that we made after Dadamac Day 2013 (video currently linked to from our front page)
During the time set aside for group discussion Tim and John had the chance to share a table, along with Elfneh Bariso and others, to address issues they all care about, and see from different perspectives. For Nikki Fishman and I, knowing that we had finally enabled that face-to-face meeting, was one of the key outcomes of the event.