Public Lab Research note


by stella | April 25, 2018 15:28 25 Apr 15:28 | #16210 | #16210

stella was awarded the Basic Barnstar by warren for their work in this research note.


Event planning can turn even the most capable person into a ball of nerves. After a couple sleepless nights and countless emails requesting for funds, we finally managed to pull through in Organizing Rails Girls Nairobi Event.

It would be selfish of me not to share some of the tips and practices that that we used and also learnt in the event planning.

checklist The basic needs are: - Make a budget - Venue and Date - Food and Drinks - Internet - Speakers - Marketing - How you are going to reach the target audience

We depended on supporters and sponsors for all the funding. Here is the full details of the the whole planning process:


Eight weeks out

  • Selected date and location of our event, in a way that it didn’t conflict with other community events and holidays.
  • Identified the expected number of participants.
  • Identified appropriate venue and room for the event.
  • Looked for coaches.
  • Looked for appropriate funding organizations and send emails requesting for funds.

Seven weeks out

  • Created invitation link and made it available for application to interested participants.
  • Conducted walk through inspection of the venue.
  • Looked for coaches dinner hotel.

Four weeks out

  • Ordered and designed appropriate marketing materials for our event that included T-shirts, Stickers and posters
  • Distributed the posters to the venue for marketing purposes
  • Decided on Menu and made arrangement for refreshments to be served.
  • Identified the appropriate topics to be discussed on the event day.

Three weeks ahead - Sent invitation email to all applicants - Sent a remind email to funding organizations. - Confirmed reservations and arrangements for the venue and catering. - Confirmed our coaches and made hotel and transport arrangements.

Two weeks ahead

  • Made follow up calls to invitation by reminding coaches to invite friends.
  • Confirmed directions to the event location
  • Confirmed directions, location and made reservations for the coaches’ dinner.

One week ahead

  • Send a reminder email to all applicants indicating the venue, location and event schedule.
  • Made last offer to invite friends.
  • Confirmed the speakers are will be attending and sent schedules for various talks to the speakers.
  • Confirmed coaches dinner hotel and menu
  • Organised for the delivery of marketing materials i.e T-shirts and stickers

The event

Day1: 16th February - Did installations: Installing Ruby on Rails on the attendees computers with help from the coaches and organizers. - Interaction session: Knowing each other and snacking. - Had coaches dinner: Coaches interacted during dinner, planned about the next day’s events and what was expected of them.

Day 2: 17th February

Activities done on the second say include: - Early bird swag: The attendees were greeted with the event’s t-shirt and sponsors marketing materials to the participants as they came in. - Attendees registration. - Checked in coaches to make sure each one of them is up to speed with the day’s activities. - Introduction to Ruby on Rails - Word from sponsors. - Lightning talks. - Warm-up games. - Tea and Lunch. - Workshops: Attendees divided into groups of three and each group assigned to a coach to guide on building first simple application in Ruby on Rails - Tech stories. - Contemplating on thing learned and solving challenges in groups - Cake cutting.

Here is a link to the detailed schedule for the event

After the Event.

  • Cleared all debts from the event.
  • Sent a thank you note to the attendees and coaches along with a feedback form on the event for thoughts on the event.
  • Made follow up calls to participants inviting them to our bi-weekly Rails Girls meetups.
  • Began planning for the bi-weekly weekend meetups.
  • Added all the attendees to our slack channel for communication and to keep the community alive.


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@warren awards a barnstar to stella for their awesome contribution!

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