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Rebuilding trust

Marina Isaksen Sellstad
December 24, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a new kind of challenge and the inequality of the world has become more apparent. Especially challenges concerning trust. What information can we access, share and how do we know it's true? Digital services are built with the assumption that certain infrastructures are in place and affordable for everyone. The reality is, people are in different situations and the digital gap is increasing fast. But not because of a lack of ability. It’s down to access.

Who you are and your identity online, can open doors and give instant access to finance, or the job you want. If — you can prove who you are.

This is why we have built Diwala. A digital platform that enables institutions to issue and verify credentials and proofs about you. Diwala´s Digital Identity wallet, allows you to safely receive, store and share your verifiable credentials with anyone. So you can have a digital trustworthy representation of what you can do, and prove what you have done. Built with the infrastructure that’s actually in place. To enable you access to the digital economy. The digital you made visible. The digital you verified.

Trust is a virtue needed in all parts of our life. Diwala´s culture is also focused on building trust, whether it is the internal team structure, how we work with our partners, or the security of the data that’s verified by our clients. One of our core principles is to always build and test our service and features in the market we operate in, with the people that actually need it. Building from insight and diversity of living conditions, behaviours, and cultures.

Internally, Diwala has taken a close look at our team culture. How do we best build trust in a remote team? It is said that teams that fully trust each other, are the most efficient and successful. But building relationships remotely is not the same as being physically in the office. We have therefore implemented remote buddy systems, more frequent team culture check-ins, 1:1 reviews, and an obligatory gaming session every Friday. To make sure we have those casual conversations and that we know each other as people beyond work.

On the hiring side, we were so happy to welcome Akila Dananjaya back from an earlier intern position with us, to a full-time developer earlier this year. Creative UX Designer Mary Godservant from Nigeria, followed shortly after and is very passionate about building inclusive technology. Roy Kathuima from Kenya is a software developer with a skill for squashing bugs in speed and Joe Seitu brings empathy and a host of design processes all the way from Trinidad and Tobago. This month we also hired a new champion from Nigeria, Ugochukwu Ike Okoli, a brilliant addition to our business team.

Diwala is now being used in 6 African countries

This year we onboarded no less than 40 new organizations and expanded from two to six African countries. We are planning the entry to Nigeria in 2022, led by our new hire Ugo, to take on the strong interest from the market. Ugo’s native and international experience as a founder of multiple tech companies is nothing short of exciting, for what’s to come for Diwala in West Africa.

Creating a seamless experience to issue credentials

Over the last year, we have talked to a lot of our users, collected feedback, and worked on optimizing the issuing experience to make it as seamless and efficient as possible. Check out the new features launched in the Diwala 1.0 platform and the DID app over the last year.

Diwala 1.0

  • You can now select and issue different certificate templates across different courses.
  • You can now see a preview of all your certificates before issuing them.
  • Got several modules or subjects in a course? You can now add up to 18 modules to your certificates, and select which students have completed which ones.
  • You can now sign all courses you are nominated for to sign, in one go!
  • We have a new and improved CSV File functionality, to help you avoid making typographical mistakes.
  • Our Help Center and self-onboarding material will help and guide you through the steps.

Diwala DID

  • You can now create an identity profile for your company/business.
  • You can also now create a public view and page of your identity, allowing employees to investigate your listed services, information, or skills.

We are expanding our platform to Diwala 3.0 next year and launch is set for Q1, with the opportunity to request, issue and verify a wide diversity of credentials. The first new credential use cases will be announced early next year!

Diwala improves how we access, share & verify data

Human beings are flawed naturally, and we are bound to break the trust between us at some point. The amount of information we are dealing with in today’s world is simply too much, and we need a more secure, streamlined, and efficient way of trusting the information we are being presented with. We can often make the wrong decision, if that decision is not based on real data, based on only one data point, or clouded by our emotions. Having access to the right data is also vital for people to utilize and access services and opportunities in today’s society.

We in Diwala are determined and will keep pushing our vision forward. To not only have a seamless, efficient data-driven process of our information. But to rebuild human trust with digital trust, and make it easier for us all to make the right decisions.

Reflections from our CEO
There are some moments in life when you have to be brutally honest. With others, with yourself, about the reality of the world. 2022 is the year I want to activate all lessons learned to maximize scale. Diwala as an athlete has built muscle. By constant daily repetition, by breaking fibers, improving technique, assessing where we are weak, what we do well, what needs to change.
The year 2021 started with an election, country-wide internet suspension, and high uncertainty. Not to what the result will be, but the reality of constant uncertainty. How free will we be? To build, to move, to create.
This year has been all that I expected and more. Excitement, disappointment, struggle, fun, laughter, lost team-members, new team members. Diwala is now a team of 12 people in 7 countries, a global family fuelled by a passion for what we believe in, on one mission. Enabling access to verified secure data, to enable access, build trust, and optimize how we work.
People are starting to catch on the what a new technical infrastructure actually can create. The conversation has moved from cryptocurrency to Web 3.0. Which is very needed for the industry, but not for the general public. “To the average person, it does sound like voodoo,” said Olga Mack, entrepreneur and blockchain lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. “But when you press a button to switch on lights, do you understand how the electricity is made?
You don’t have to know how electricity works to understand the benefits. The same is true of the blockchain.”
When I started researching decentralised technologies in 2015, I got hooked for one main reason. The possibility of democratising access to technology, designing ethics by code, building something that can be inclusive and safeguard people’s rights. Rethinking what we have created and what that is fundamentally flawed with how we have adapted to digital technology. To ensure that history does not repeat itself, to challenge systematic injustice in the digital age.
It’s been 4 incredible years, I am humbled every day. I am grateful. We have been focused to learn the most while we are a small team, under the radar, learning with consistent small steps forward. We have researched, tested, iterated, built by integrity. Learned by failure, learned by doing, learned by success. Now we are set to expand in the biggest digital hubs across Africa, and take on the giant that is Nigeria.
The Diwala 1.0 platform is in the market and from those learnings, we are excited to leapfrog to the flexibility and data standards of our new Diwala 3.0 platform, set to be released in Q1 2022. We are building the bridge between the centralised infrastructure of today, to the future of SSI standards and the Web 3.0 of tomorrow.
We couldn’t be more excited for a new year and take on what’s to come!

Best wishes Thea

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!