Sparking Up Dreams

“This week I will try eating a fried cockroach.” That was one of the things said at Intrinsic’s first team meeting today. Ok, maybe a little more context.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been meeting with various people in Kibera. We’ve had some conversations about Kibera’s challenges and needs, understanding people’s backgrounds and goals, figuring out partnerships with organizations, and finding out what role Intrinsic plays in all of that.

Today, in a small room with mud walls, tin roof, and single lightbulb, we gathered our core group of staff, artisans, and trainees for a meeting to introduce the long-term vision of Intrinsic. As an icebreaker, everyone went around saying one thing they wanted to do before they died. I was thinking of things like visiting places or doing activities. I started off by saying I wanted to learn how to ride a horse. What did the next person say? “Before I die, I want to see everyone in Kibera reach their full potential.” And the next person? “I want to see Kibera be free of trash.” “I want there to be unity among everyone.” “I want to see Kibera transformed into a completely different place.”

People here have big dreams.

Intrinsic is all about holistic development. We’re not just about bringing people income, but are concerned about how they manage that income (we’ll be talking about personal finance classes soon), and how they manage their lives. We want our team to have positive personal and social growth through our character development program. And for that, we introduced Sparks.

Sparks is a social experience that Steven personally went through, and was what initiated the creation of Intrinsic. For 5 weeks, a group of people meet together to answer one question: What’s one risk I can take this week to make myself a better person or make my world a better place? The purpose is to take the dreams that everyone has inside and generate positive forward motion in their lives.

So introducing the first Spark group test in Africa with the Intrinsic team, these were some of the sparks for this week:

– I will pick up the trash in my community.
– I will wash my wife’s laundry.
– I have never taken anyone out to a movie before. I will take my sister to a movie.
– I want to slaughter a cow.
– I will cook for my family.
– I will talk with my cousin whom I haven’t spoken to in a while.
– I will spend time with my daughter. No one else, just me and her.
– My neighbor from Congo makes fried cockroaches. I’ve never had one. This week I will try eating a fried cockroach

The community here in Kibera is about to change. You can feel it in the environment, you can see in the eyes of people as they stare back at you with hope and determination. This place is at a tipping point, and we’re thrilled to be standing at the edge.

To find out more about Sparks, visit