Influencer Kenneth Hooten: educator and enabler
Interview January 2022
An enabler of fellow citizens in the
Could you share with us some information about your family life?
My parents came from Surinam and I nowadays represent the family Hooten in Curaçao. They established themselves in the 1940s/50s in Curaçao. My father and mother had three sons and one daughter, she is the youngest of the children. We were all born in Curaçao. I am the third son, married and blessed with a son and daughter. In 1976, I went to the Netherlands to study and I returned back in 1992 as a Technical Chemist.
Could you share something about your educational background and your experience?
Back in Curaçao in 1992, I started working at the ‘Antilliaanse Verffabriek’. They recruited me. I started working as an Assistant-Manager. On a personal level, my journey started with this crucial question I was asking myself: “How to bring the Curaçao (neighborhood) society to a higher development standard”. Using my basic knowledge and practical experiences in the field of Chemistry, Automation, Technology, and Education.
We know you to be the founder of Splikami. Can you expand a little on this?The “What”?
A foundation aimed at Knowledge transfer, which includes knowledge & practical experience that is necessary to bring the individual to a higher development level.
International, national, and the Island its own social-economic developments don’t stand still and they show an unequal pace of growth compared to what is happening in the (neighborhood) society on Curaçao.
By making an educational environment available for everyone in the neighborhood(s), where effective knowledge & practical transfer at the neighborhood level can be achieved, with a low-threshold approach.
Emphatically, where it is the most necessary, especially in neighborhoods with lesser socio-economic status. We here refer to our neighborhood Marchena and other close-by neighborhoods.
It is intended for the (neighborhood) society, with priority for those with lower socio-economic status and/or development.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now?
During my student years, I acquired the necessary knowledge and practical experience, that I want to make available for the development of our fellow citizens in order to achieve a better and prosperous Curaçao.
What are your plans for the coming years and when do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
I have undertaken different actions, from the early stages on from 2006 up until now. I now have Splikami completely at my disposal to work on our goals, and it is 100% operational. The aim for the coming 5 years is, to make this operational component available at a higher level, but now also at more locations on the island level, aiming to reach a larger group within our society.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
Our challenges are three-fold:
The organization and structure> Necessary for effective implementation of the objective is to have and maintain a Dynamic Organization, an NGO with its own governance. We have our organizational structure.
Location > Our own technical and practical location is in the middle of the district of our target group. We have our own location in Marchena/Wishi.
Finance > Being financially sufficiently stable to be able to maintain the operations in a sustainable manner. We put in our own resources and we work based on donations and subsidies.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemmas show up? How does that work for you?
Based on my own gut feeling and with the team’s knowledge we took actions, implemented what we thought was right and it worked and resulted superbly, and it has been effective for us to this day.
How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skills levels?
By constantly following new developments and including them in our program and making this available to the target groups after evaluation for relevance.
What are your strengths?
Having a good and solid technical basis. This has resulted in our ROI being on the positive. These strengths, in combination with a dynamic and well-functioning operational organization, explain how far we have come until now.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
Having one’s own good and a solid technical foundation has not come out of the blue, being a researcher since my birth, being a critical person, always curious about the new, only convinced when I implemented something myself, brought me to engage in – Digitization/Automation – Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics, Technical Agriculture including Alternative & Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Developments using the medium EDUCATION.
If you as Kenneth would meet a stranger on the bus (let say in New York or Bogota Columbia) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
A simple person, hungry and curious about learning new technical developments, and open to sharing this knowledge and experience with others.
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
My blessed Pap and Mom. Both passed away.
What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
Answering requests for help (our objective and drive) if this is always relevant, if it is still up-to-date and how to keep this feasible.
What was a defining moment in your life?
The moment I studied in the Netherlands, where I decided to do what I liked as a part of my nature. The addition of Digitization/Education in my curriculum and studies.
Where do you want to be 10 years from now with your career?
Looking back with satisfaction at my achievements for the good of Curaçao society.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now? That they would talk with satisfaction of what I have accomplished for the good of the Curaçao society.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao as we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, recession, and in the middle of growing environmental challenges because of the global warming consequences?
There is an ancient Chinese proverb that goes: “When the wind of change blows, some people are building shelters, others build windmills.” My (our) vision, my drive, is the same as building windmills. This combined with action that is empowered by others with whom we talk, discuss and share our thinking. By doing this we constantly recalibrate our starting points to set out our path and then we take action. That makes me stay optimistic.
Fundashon Instituto Splikami (FISP)
Schottegatweg West 52, Marchena
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Kenneth Hooten is a curious, idealistic, passionate, social entrepreneur and educator with a focus on bringing the Curaçao (neighborhood) society to a higher development standard. A researcher since his birth, always curious about the new, has made him a broad multi disciplinarian, which includes Digitization/Automation – Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics, Technical Agriculture including Alternative & Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Developments. By deliberately choosing to focus his attention on those living in neighborhoods with lesser socio-economic status, made him start Splikami in 2006 and establish the Splikami offices in Marchena. Splikami has been active since then and aims to expand their wings to other neighborhoods, with an infectious enthusiasm. For all this, we deeply love and respect Kenneth, and we consider him one of the 250 influencers of the islands representing the “not for profit”- sector, focused on neighborhood development. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now.