Rob Burnet on “Changing Society through Conversations | Stories from East Africa”
11 Feb 2020

“Changing Society Through Conversations | Stories from East Africa” by Rob Burnet, CEO of Shujaaz Inc - a network of social ventures based in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam – is part of a series of videos by international experts who were invited to the Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship (ACE) workshops. The ACE program was launched in 2018 by AFAC, in partnership with Drosos Foundation, and with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office and has entered its second cycle earlier this month with its first 2020 workshop in Beirut.

In this video, Rob tells us about his experience of building multimedia youth platform Shujaaz, now East Africa’s biggest youth brand, and makes the case for the power of storytelling and conversation to change societal norms. “It’s the power of the creative process, of the story that we tell, that leads to the outcomes that we’re dreaming of”, Rob states in this 6-minute inspirational video.


Rob is CEO of Shujaaz Inc, a network of social ventures that inspire, entertain and mobilize 7.5 million 15-24-year-olds across East Africa. Multimedia youth platform Shujaaz, is just one of three ventures in the Shujaaz Inc network, which also include ‘Hustla MBA’, an innovative digital learning community and a new digital networking venture set to launch in 2020. All three social ventures are run by a double-Emmy-award-winning team of 60 young East African researchers, creatives, strategists and producers. Young people who regularly engage with Shujaaz Inc platforms are creating transformational change.

The ACE program fosters a collective space for reflection on sustainability and is designed to inspire, invigorate and strengthen small and medium cultural institutions, based and working in the Arab region, and whose initiatives engage with communities. Eight arts and culture institutions participate in each cycle of the program and benefit from three extensive workshops, training, and one-on-one mentoring in the areas that contribute to more sustainable organizations: communications and storytelling, resources mobilization and fundraising, case studies, peer-to-peer learning and exchange, strategic planning, as well as concepts of design thinking, startups, and the different business models that they can adopt. The program further offers an incentive grant for each participating institution to implement an innovation activity aimed at improving their institutional resilience.