Of my Ambassadorship LOL
I was asked in January 2022 by the previous Ambassador Kokayi Issa to join the ambassador's team for the Interledger Foundation and the Grant for the web for the time period of March 2022 till October 2022. I was already aware of the Interledger foundation and the Grant for the Web due to my work with Snakenation who is a current grantee for the financial call for proposal. You can read their interim report here.
Now that I have ended my time as an Ambassador I want to give the community more insight into what it means to be an Ambassador for the Interledger Foundation. My reasoning behind it is the upcoming call for proposals seeking new Ambassadors. Hint: it's absolutely not similar to an influencer ambassadorship.
Ambassadors are builders, advocates, organizers, researchers, creatives, cross-disciplinary, thought leaders, people who are part of the epicenter of change, People who are independent, follow their own path and have a positive attitude and aspirational presence in their own communities. The truth is no one is all of the above and it could also be that the goal of your ambassadorship is to focus on a build as David Lockie did in 2021.
For the onboarding as an Ambassador at the Interledger Foundation you are asked to write out a work plan, Spanning over a six months on how your presence at the foundation will increase their community reach, create a technical build , create a Web Monetized lesson plan (these are examples of previous or current ambassadorships)
For my Ambassadorship, I wrote out a plan about how I thought my presence would support the foundation and its mission in my own surroundings. Since I am part of the Euro-African Diaspora, my financial interaction span over different countries and continents. From a younger age, one would learn it was a privilege to be able to participate in the global payment spaces.
When I was thinking about the subject matter I asked myself very simple questions, for example, how could the Interledger protocol improve the lives of the people within my surroundings, will their adoption create any ripple effects, and what is needed to implement the protocol? these thoughts stayed with me while I was reaching out to the companies.
It is hard to quantify my actual reach since I was constantly occupied with sharing the protocol with my environment. However, for my Ambassadorships plan, I used the standardized KPIs and used the metrics provided by my social media channels to give more depth to the number of people I could potentially reach.
I created an estimate based either on my online activities or back channels but also thought about the number of new people I meet when I attend events.
Looking back at my thoughts about what ambassadorship would entail, I was quite wrong and overly confident!
To give a little bit more depth into my own reflection.
Here is my list of goals for my ambassadorship
- Educating the applicants about the GFW and ILP programs and opportunities.
- Educate applicants and the Web community about the values of GFW and ILP.
- Upholding positive relationships with the Applications, GFW and ILP.
- Educating applicants on Web Monetization, ILP goals and values.
- Educate the program team on potential barriers to entry.
- Refer potential future Ambassadors.
Wearing the Ambassadors Hat forced me to focus on finding my space in the communities I take part in and engaging with projects, collectives, and individuals. To clarify myself a bit more I am an introvert who happily spends her days locked away from society, a person that isn't occupied with self-promotion, networking, and getting ahead of my peers. To describe myself I enjoy giving others space to become their best.
I have had contact with multiple innovation hubs on the African continent, Creatives, Fintechs, Blockchain influencers, and Security officers. It became clear that the protocol is not very known, and most of the responses I received were clear. “Yes we are interested, but we must educate ourselves on how the protocol works and how we could potentially educate, build and promote Web Monetization in our own ecosystem. What I realized, which is just my personal observation, is that innovations such as the Interledger Protocol would thrive in the global south.
Barriers to entry
- Talent drain, talent moves to more mature markets for a hire income.
- Little capital (or investment), Investors are still afraid to give larger amounts due to the reputation of the markets.
- Gatekeeping, lesser trust by VC in local products due to the stigma of global south companies.
As it turned out, I was able to reach a lot of stakeholders in the digital payment space on the African continent and parts of Europe, which was part of my plan. What changed from my initial writing till actively engaging and searching is what I realized and what is part of the feedback I have received is that the protocol is unknown in the current ecosystem.
Things I have learned from community feedback
- People are interested in finding other ways to monetize their content on the web
- The creative community has a means of additional income by showcasing their portfolio/work or selling their work.
Specifically on the African continent, Due to the lack of internet coverage in many areas, the talent collectively goes to hubs, for better internet connection, networking, hackathons, and office space.
People are eager to find ways out of systematic poverty (but who wouldn't want a way out)
I have met a lot of new communities and people
There are many solutions needed.
I traveled to Uganda twice for personal reasons but still ventured out to connect with stakeholders in the ecosystem.
I received a message about a blockchain event at the Innovation Village which is a beautiful co-working space in Ntinda Kampala. It was there where I met two projects that ended up applying for our financial call for proposal.
Most of the work I had done for the Interledger Foundation was based on finding prospective grantees who could apply to the financial call for proposal which focussed on strengthening the infrastructure and increasing financial service providers in the ecosystem. It went live on the 7th of July.
Every Ambassador receives a stipend to do activations in their communities or I received a stipend from the Interleder foundation and I wanted to use a part of it to hire a grant writer to support grantees. Not everyone used these services however it is would be good to look at his blog post about his experience and tips. Or if you need a grant writer here is his LinkedIn
Furthermore, Karl from Snakenation invited me to join their panel in Kigali for Africa in Colors Summit, you can read more about it here
What I wish that would have gone better
- Larger reach, I realized that my reach was mostly in East Africa since that is my region.
- More small-scale community activations could help further the adoption of the protocol.
Summit in New Orleans
My Ambassadorship ended with the Summit in New Orleans, which was amazing! a lot of previous and current grantees were able to attend due to the travel grant provided by the foundation.
Erica Hargreave and I hosted two smaller panel talks.
- Life After the Grant: Let’s talk about sustainability
- Community building for innovation and sustainability
The value of the summit was not only the exchange of information but the real-life interaction. What I realized is that it strengthen the bonds and eased the potential for collaboration for the multiple different cohorts who were able to attend.
I am very excited about the ILF 23' summit!
You can find the sessions of the main conference day here you can find the timestamps in the YouTube description.
My recommendations are
Day 1, The Entire recording, There are many updates on the build of our ecosystem, this is helpful especially if you like to grasp the future direction.
Day 2, The Entire recording, There are many updates on the build of our ecosystem, this is helpful especially if you like to grasp the future direction.
Within this role, I will help the team shape their grant programs and support the current grantees!!
I am truly happy to have received this chance and I am looking forward to what the future will bring!