Mmofra Foundation’s Pinterest page has 23 boards and counting!
Pinterest provides fantastic opportunities for virtual volunteering. However, pinning is not anywhere near as widespread in our part of the world. For one thing, reliable wi-fi access and bandwidth are still a problem for most people.
Enter our partner organization Friends of Mmofra in Spokane, Washington State, USA, which “designs web-based opportunities to enrich cultural literacy and global connection”. In practice, this means in collaboration with us, they organize student volunteers from high school to college level, to research and create boards on topics we are interested in.
Friends of Mmofra uses a model it calls parallel projects through virtual service, based on a relationship of mutual benefit rather than charity. Students in Spokane use African inspired projects to improve their global awareness as well as their technical and leadership skills. Children in Ghana, and everywhere, gain access to cultural collections they can take ownership of, and learn from.
In addition to their curation interest as under-represented cultures and topics online, our Pinterest boards are very valuable tools for getting connected. They have helped us get attention in communities we’d like to talk to, and to make the Top Story listing for a number of online newspapers recently.
Drew, 16, worked on the Everything Ananse board as an after-school online research project on folktale culture of West Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. She’s also been active on our favorite Galimoto Selfmade Toys board.
She says: “I would like to thank you so much for the amazing opportunity you have given me with [Friends of Mmofra]. I have learned so much and enjoyed it even more. So Thank you! And know what you are doing is truly amazing …”.
Other students are helping to create boards of young adult as well as children’s books. Before this exercise, some of them may never have thought of reading a book by an African author, or thinking about the differences in young adult book themes across cultures.
The added value of our collections is that they include pictures, audio and video. On the Young Adult booklist board for example, you can find the novel Powder Necklace, and also listen to author Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond read from her book.
College students in a recent class on Contemporary Africa at Whitworth University, Spokane, USA, opted to curate themed boards of African stamps on their own Pinterest pages. Here’s one by “Amina” on flora and fauna in African stamps, and another by “Waceera”, on dinosaur stamps!
We’re grateful to the Bino and Fino team in Nigeria for their words of encouragement on our Animated Africa board which, of course, features their wonderful work.