What offline innovation can teach us during the pandemic

Ramon Michael
Published in
2 min readOct 29, 2020


As part of the COVIDaction programme we strive to engage with offline communities to spot and support innovation. These communities have limited access to digital technology and little exposure to strategic partnerships. We partnered with Afrilabs to deploy seven scouts who searched for this hidden layer of innovation and travelled to meet these people working to make a difference.

Lusanda Maguape, Founder and CEO of the Dream Factory Foundation, spent time in Cameroon finding these hidden grassroots innovators and she kindly shared key insights of her experience.

Local scout, Lusanda Magwape, shares her scouting experience in an interview

Working with offline communities makes us more inclusive, breaks common grant cycles and helps us to uncover new developments and methodologies — so everyone wins!

“If it remained in the online world, these innovations would never have come [forward], to the level they have now. It literally took hands and feet , physically going to the innovators.” — Lusanda Maguape.

Lusanda Magwape, Founder and CEO of Dream Factory Foundation

Great things we learned from Lusanda -

  • People in these communities are not always able to find out about opportunities if they are not able to get online, so scouting has been vital for finding innovation.
  • Open calls and their accompanying paperwork need to be available in more languages than English and should be accessible to those who have not had a formal education.
  • Women are at the forefront of innovation, seeking them out means finding new and interesting innovation.
  • It’s not that the innovators are not there, it’s making sure we go and find them.

There’s much more in the interview so take a look to understand the challenges, the incredible levels of talent and incredible results that are returned when we take into account the inspiring innovation that takes place away from internet connections.

Hungry for more? You can also read about the experience of scouting from Afrilabs’ Osasenaga Enogieru in our feature article.

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