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September 22, 2013 (Updated on September 26)

Our hearts go out to the families and the victims of the Westgate mall attack that started yesterday. At the time of this posting, there are still around 30-40 people trapped inside and the Kenyan military is getting ready to storm the building. The killed, the wounded, the hostages, and the soldiers are all in our thoughts. We are saddened and shocked by this senseless act, not because an attack such as this wasn’t expected, but primarily because they targeted innocent people, Kenyans and expatriates alike, in such a heinous and violent massacre. Among the 59 killed so far is a client and partner of g.Maarifa. And among the almost 200 wounded and the hostages still trapped inside are our personal friends and family members.

Nairobi is a small city. We all either have lost someone dear to us or know of someone who has lost someone. This is a sobering reminder that things can change at an instant and what is seen as a safe haven has to be appreciated and not taken for granted.

Everyday, we are proud to be Kenyans, but on this day more than ever. Kenyan Strong.

(Updates- 9/26/2013: the siege has finally ended with an uncertain death toll and numerous people injured. RIP Ravindra. He was not only a personal friend but also a g.Maarifa partner through his work at Financial Sector Deepening Kenya. To the media and most outsiders, the event is over. But it’s not. Healing is a long process, and people’s behaviors are already changing. Al-Shabaab brutally attacked the symbol of African peace and prosperity.)

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by Shiro Wachira

Hello again!

As is the often the case in the world of startup, we come back from a short silence with many exciting updates to report. We’d like to thank all of you for your continued support and look forward to continued partnership in what promise to be an exciting few months!

Expansion into the MENA region

We are most excited to announce that our plan to achieve world domination is well under way! After Evanna spoke at a conference in Tunisia, g.Maarifa received great client as well as investor interest in the MENA region, once more demonstrating the power of a good idea. Consequently, we plan to pilot Orion in Jordan this Fall, and move into the Tunisian market soon thereafter.

The booming MENA consumer mobile market is a very exciting space to be in given remarkable government enthusiasm as well as speedy sales cycles: we are very enthusiastic about scoping out this space and the opportunity to establish g.Maarifa in other emerging markets.

East Africa Update

This is not to say that we are leaving our East African supporters behind! In fact, we are still actively pursuing clients here in Kenya, and interest in g.Maarifa from this region seems to only be growing. Evanna has had weeks with daily client meetings, so we can be sure that she’s earning her keep! One this front, we are happy to welcome our newest client, Living Goods, to the g.Maarifa family and are eager to launch their pilot later this month.

Orion Strategy

We also have a couple of updates on our Orion strategy. As you know, we pivoted our focus to this platform earlier this year and have narrowed down that focus even further. We have decided to work primarily with clients working in 3 sectors: healthcare, financial services, and consumer packaged goods.  We will however continue to work with a range of organization types including: non-profits, large multinationals, and government organizations, among others.

Finally, the promised updates to our website have been uploaded (check it out!) and we look forward to sharing more of our journey with you!

Written by Evanna

April 20- May 5, 2012– Columbus, OH & Evanston, IL

g.Maarifa was featured at the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit at the Ohio State University Fisher School of Business on April 20th, 2012. I was also asked to speak on behalf of g.Maarifa. With almost 900 attendees, I got the message out about the role of social enterprises in East Africa and about the work we are doing at g.Maarifa. It was very humbling and truly an honor to be on the same stage as some of the other awesome and much more established entrepreneurs.

On May 5th, one day before my flight back to Nairobi, Innocent and I pitched g.Maarifa in front of six or seven judges at Northwestern Kellogg School of Business InNUvation Competition. Though we placed third, we received great feedback from the judges, all of whom are experienced entrepreneurs and/or seasoned investors. Oh yes, we also won the Sustainability Award…the prize money will go straight into g.Maarifa’s operations.