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Heidi Williams

Exactly one month ago, I had an Appirian reach out to me about a Silver Lining project idea she had for an organization she’s connected with. Ashley Mennel works with Kenya Community Education & Action (KCEA) organization and wanted to see if we could sponsor a Hackathon to rebuild KCEA’s website in 48 hours. The KCEA is a small nonprofit that provides educational opportunities in Kenya, allowing young Maasai girls to attend secondary education. They rely on their website to raise donations. They needed a new website to tell the girl’s stories and appeal to donors.

kcea1-copyPhoto: Volunteers pictured with KCEA treasurer Julie who graduated from the program (second left), founder Peris Keshe (center) and sponsored student Teresia (second from right) as they visit Teresia’s Village. Teresia is the first girl to obtain a high school education in her village.

I’ve been looking for more opportunities to get employees involved in skills based volunteering. Skills based volunteering allows volunteers to use their unique skills to deliver a greater impact to non-profits. At Appirio, we have incredibly skilled and passionate employees and one of the biggest challenges of managing our Silver Lining program is finding a way to engage employees in impactful volunteering.

Rebuilding a nonprofit website was such an exciting idea, that I said yes right away and suggested we schedule the Hackathon for #GivingTuesday on Nov. 29th. Then I panicked. I’ve never run this type of project before and I just gave myself a 3 week deadline. I started outlining my project steps on a scrap piece of paper on my desk and spent the next 3 weeks chanting these words in my head, “This will go great. It’s all going to work out.”

Step 1: Hackathon approval

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Site go-live on Nov. 30th

Turns out, it did all work out! There is one thing I can never underestimate at Appirio and that is that Appirians show up to help out. I started emailing and asking for help with different parts of the project and everyone said yes. We had volunteers helping with pre-work before the Hackathon and more people volunteering during the Hackathon then we had tasks available. Coming together virtually and in-person on #givingtuesday to give KCEA their website wishlist will be one of the highlights of the Silver Lining program at Appirio.

kcea2Photo: Appirio #givingtuesday Hackathon volunteers Thomas Burris, Rachael Smith, Ashley Mennel, and Rose Walsh work on updating the KCEA Website.

This was a small project for a small organization but it will do big things in the lives of these girls. I encourcage everyone to go find out more about the KCEA and the Girl’s stories on their new site https://educationformaasai.org/. Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who volunteered to help out with the Silver Lining #givingtuesday KCEA Hackathon.

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