Emer Beamer is founder and Learning Lead at Design-athon Works, Empowering Children to Design a Better World. She is also an Ashoka Fellow and has co-founded both Butterfly Works, Co-Creation for a Better World and NairoBits, Design College for youth from slum areas, Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor in Commerce from University College Dublin (Ireland) and a degree in Design from the Rietveld Academy (Holland).
The connecting principle in her work is empowering learners to learn by becoming the author, creator and maker of their own world.
With Butterfly Works she co-created social change with young people in the Global South.
The eLearning programs she co-created, such as ‘the World starts with Me’ (Uganda 2004) and ‘Learning about Living’ (Nigeria 2007) have been adapted for 15 countries in Africa and Asia and won prizes from amongst others the United Nations.
Her very first social enterprise was NairoBits, http://www.nairobits.com, in 2000, a web design college for young people from the informal settlements around Nairobi. What began as an art project is now a family of schools in 5 African countries with some 10,000 graduates securing jobs in the formal tech sector.
THNK, Amsterdam, 2012-2013
School of Creative Leadership, an international post graduate program in creativity, innovation and leadership.
Tech for Change, Mobile Technology for Development, 2011
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2003-2004
Youth participation in NGO’s
Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1992-1996
Design (graphic / web / interaction)
University College Dublin, Ireland, 1989-1992
Bachelor of Commerce
- Ashoka Fellowship, for her work with Design-athon Works, 2016
- Lego Foundation re-imagining learning fellow, 2016-2017
- NairoBits 1st prize in the category creativity & culture of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Award Africa, 2011.
- Golden Nica Award, Prix Ars Electronica en de VN Global Summit, New York en Linz, Austria for ‘The World starts with Me’, E-learning platform, 2004
- World Bank prize, ICT solutions for developing countries, for NairoBits, 2002
“What if we saw children as changemakers, engaged humans, activists, scientists or inventors, and then helped them to develop their abilities for these roles’