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Extended Village is a social passion project brought to you by AJ Leon and his band of remarkable misfits.


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

About Extended Village

Extended Village is a social and digital experiment in partnership with Global Hope Network International to help make a big world just a little smaller by using digital technologies to connect the world.  We will be educating and working with tribal leaders and local staff in two African rural villages (in Kenya and Ethiopia) on the use of new media and cloud based technologies to empower them to tell their own story and connect with the world in new ways.

Who are the Crazies behind this project?

AJ and Melissa Leon are passionate and digitally nomadic entrepreneurs that travel backpack around the world and make things happen.  From time to time, they nomad around to work on social projects or tell stories they feel need to be heard, some of these projects have been Emma Academy Project, Twitterkids, and Rise of The Cubicle Farmer AJ publishes over at www.ajleon.me about how to take over the world.  Melissa runs an education and publishing company for Non-Profits.

For more information or for blogger and/or media requests, please visit here.

Why are we doing this?

We are passionate about the use of new, emerging and real time technology to truly connect the world.  Our primary goal is to educate and empower the communities of Ola Nagele (in Kenya) and Garmaam (in Ethiopia) to use social media and digital content creation to tell their stories and connect with the world.  We will also be training them in the use of web and mobile applications to drastically improve their communication and collaboration.

Why did we partner with GHNI?

We’ve partnered with Global Hope Network International because they are one of the most innovative NGO’s working in community development today.  We have a long standing relationship with GHNI and have personally witnessed the incredible impact that their model of Transformational Community Development has had in some of the poorest areas of the world.

Where are we going?

Our 17,000 mile route will take us from New York City to two rural villages in Africa, Ola Nagele in Kenya and Garmaam in Ethiopia.  You can check out our entire Route here.

Is there internet access in the rural areas of Africa?

The short answer is not everywhere.  But there are many mobile companies (like Safaricom, Vodacom and Zain) that have made it possible to access the internet from mobile devices in areas you would never think possible.  Here is a picture AJ took in 2009 while riding in a bus from Nairobi to Arusha of a man using a Zain broadband card to connect to Facebook.

Who are our sponsors and why did we approach them?

Our full sponsor list can be seen here.  Every single sponsor that we approached provides products and services that we personally use and love.  Many of us use these products to improve our lives and businesses, but we feel that the greatest impact of new and emerging technologies can be made in the developing world.  And we are dedicating a part of our year to making that happen.