Joanitah: The Original Dora The Explorer

Please Add Photos <br> to your Gallery

Though she be but little, she is fierce.’ Shakespeare – This is what comes to mind when I think of Joanitah.

I like to be inspired. I get inspiration from people who dream and execute. This one fine day, I found myself on Joanitah Nvannungi’s instagram page, I wasn’t planning on staying on her page for long, but post after post I sensed something about her. I am not sure if it’s her good aura, humility or passion but I left her page inspired. I couldn’t keep her to myself and here we are.

Have you heard of ‘Koi Koi’? Last year, I was seeing these FOMO inducing pictures of Uganda all over social media and I just had to find out what that was about. Here’s a brief interview with Joanitah and all things Koi Koi. I hope you will be inspired by her passion to explore and to dream.


  • Tell us about yourself

My name is Joanitah Nvannungi Nalubega. I’m studied and trained as an industrial chemist before I took a keen interest in tech and especially technological solutions in health. I’ve been about that tech world for the past year and a half, during which I got together with a couple of friends to use available tech to do something impactful, for social good; Arts+Tech.

So now, I train/mentor/nurture young innovators for a living, in an Applied ICTs &Leadership program at the International Health Sciences University & craft ways to ease and subsidize the work of artists.

  • What does ‘koi-koi‘ mean and what’s the inspiration behind it?

Koi koi‘ which is most certainly not spelled but rather pronounced as such, is a phrase in about 4 local languages in Uganda that signals the start of a riddle.

Koikoi-Uganda is therefore an initiative that covers every aspect of the Ugandan story. It allows Ugandans to own the narrative of that story by living and experiencing Uganda and therefore giving authentic information about Uganda.

  • What is the Ugandan story and what stereo types would you like to see ‘koi-koi‘ break?

The Ugandan story is all aspects of this country, the people, culture, food, sights and sounds, strengths, weaknesses,  history and the future.

Stereotypes; *sigh* These are so many and vary from place to place within and outside the country. As much as many stereotypes maybe well founded and even justifiable, times have changed and so have many things. So without mentioning  particular stereotypes we are trying to break, we are encouraging people to experience Uganda before drawing opinions and conclusions from things they’ve heard especially from foreigners who formally owned all the tools and narrative.

  • What surprised you about Uganda when you started taking these journeys?
Many things. The culture and perceptions about traveling such as, travel is for foreigners, travel should be done outside the country etc.
  • Whats the best thing about living in Uganda?

The people. Ugandans are many faces. Many colors. Some cold, and lots of them absolutely warm. Ugandans are always ready to have a good time, even if it’s a seaside wining and dining or chill with a book, you can find your people.

The Food. Our food isn’t the most spicy or tasty cuisine you’ll find but the love shows in people’s portions.  You’ll fall in love with food in Uganda.

Sights and sounds.  Right down to the most comical kids, if you love to travel, there’s no shortage of places to go. Just check out KoikoiUG.Com

  • ‘Koi-koi’ has a lot of FOMO inducing pictures, how can those interested in coming along for the ride join the movement?

With the help of partners; Vivo Energy Uganda (Shell) and Airtel Uganda, all Ugandans are invited to take a trip to a beautiful part of the country on the very last weekend of every other month at a very subsidized cost. This way for as little as UGX250k you enjoy 3 days and 2 nights travel to tell your own story. Makes it 6 trips a year. Limited slots. The trips are advertised at least a month prior on Kafunda Kreative channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram )

  • I don’t travel light, what advice do you have for people like me and what should we keep in mind when preparing for trip?

Research about the places you plan to visit. When you make reservations, be sure to ask about the weather, the season. And don’t pack what you won’t need. Sometimes your gut is clear about what you won’t need but we try to play safe and end up with too much useless luggage.

Ask. Research. Carry something to help you capture some memories; notebook, camera etc.

Toiletries: think about your day from start to finish so that you don’t forget a thing.

  • How many days is a ‘koi-koi’ trip?
 3 days and 2 nights utmost, at the moment.
  • Who inspires you the most and why?
I don’t think about this much, but I certainly admire my dad so much. He’s constantly reminding me to be in charge of my life, own my decisions and their consequences and not ever blame life on anyone else.
  • What advice do you have for people who are slightly afraid to follow their dreams?

Since we only live once, to our knowledge anyway, you might as well follow your dream. Start out as a hobby if you fear to “fail”. The Alchemist said, if you really desire something, the world does conspire to make it happen for you.(Paraphrased)

Give it a shot. Otherwise you can also live other people’s dreams, if that makes you happy.

1 Comment

We love hearing from you, leave a comment below :-)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: