@iBizAfrica- Strathmore University and Pangea Accelerator partnered with Shelter Tech Kenya, a first of its kind in Africa, is a six-month milestone-based accelerator program supporting early stage businesses and scale-ups in the affordable housing sector covering: renewable energy, waste management, housing & construction technologies and products and water & sanitation. The program is supported by Habitat for Humanity International’s Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter and implemented by BDO EA and Pangea Accelerator in partnership with @iBizAfrica, Strathmore University. These partners came together to organize a startup competition which aims to support disruptive innovation and provide a platform for growth in the urban tech space as part of the Nairobi Innovation Week 2019.
The Shelter Tech Nairobi Innovation Week competition was held on 11th of June at Metta. The competition had attracted 61 applicants. Three business start-ups were declared winners out of the ten that pitched their products and business concepts before a panel of four judges.
The three winners of the competition got an all paid opportunity to travel and pitch at Oslo Innovation Week with a goal of finding sponsors and funds to increase the size and outreach of their company as well as having a platform to gain new markets and experience in the business’ world of competition.
Present during the event was the Norwegian Ambassador to Kenya, Elin Bergithe Rognlie who acknowledged how technology has changed the way we do things and the increased role of women in creating tech-based business startups. Also present were representatives from Strathmore University, ICT Norway, Pangea Accelerator and Habitat for Humanity among others.
The three startups will have a chance to pitch at the Oslo Innovation Week in Norway later in the year.
The business startups that won included:
Arigiene Limited Company;
The founders, Anna Kadari is a second year Economics student at Kenyatta University and her co-founder Frank Mwakitakula is a fourth year Economic Finance Student at the same University. Their product solves the problem of toilet bowl and water splash back while also serving other purposes including absorbing bad odours and acts as a toilet freshener.
Gjenge Makers Limited
Gjenga Makers Ltd is a social enterprise based in industrial area recycling waste plastic into strong and artistically expressed construction products including paving bricks, paving tiles and hatches.
Escon Leather Creations
This startup company was founded by Victor Nzau, a Diploma Graduate from Animal Health and Industry Training Institute in Kabete, Nairobi.
Escon Leather Creations manages waste and discarded low grade hides and skins which are pollutants to the environment. As a value addition, they use vegetable tanning processes that are environmental friendly.
Image from Left to right: Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica and Mrs Everline Wangu Kamau-Migwi, VMware Channel Lead – East Africa.
VMware a global leader, cloud infrastructure and business mobility software company has partnered with @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University to set up a training Centre for VMware Technologies.
The partnership which took place last week at Strathmore University will ensure that Strathmore trains trainers on VMware technologies who in turn will train students on topics such as Introduction to Virtualization, Data Centre visualization and Cloud Computing among other VMware technologies.
The Centre will create an environment where the “virtualization first” approach will become widely known in the region and will encourage technology professionals in their institutions to interact with their counterparts in Europe and the United States to form a true global community of IT professionals knowledgeable about and favorably inclined toward VMware Virtualization First approach.
Speaking during the MOU signing Mrs Everline Wangu Kamau-Migwi, VMwareChannel Lead – East Africa mentioned “Vmware is pleased to partner with @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University and we look forward see more students embracing VMware technologies”
Participants who successfully complete the training will be awarded the VMware-Certified trainers status.
For more information about the course contact Richard on Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UN-Habitat this year organized a Makerthon event on the sidelines of the UN-Habitat Assembly held on 27th -31st May 2019 at the UN- Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya giving budding innovators a platform to make, create and showcase their innovations.
The theme of the challenge, organized by Urban Basic Services, was “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities”.
Three Strathmore students, Stephen Gitahi- Group leader, Ayan Adan Keynan and Josemaria Nabangi formed the group SAJ fellows to participate in the Makerthon and emerged 2nd place with their project on Water Qualiter.
The water Qualiter project is under the Internet of Things(IoT) department, @iLabAfrica and is developed using different sensors for measuring Acidity (pH), Temperature and Turbidity (measure of suspended particles and Contaminants – especially heavy metals & discarded pharmaceuticals. Insights from the data generated from this monitoring exercise will therefore be critical in aiding on decision making of which rehabilitation or pollution control measures need to be undertaken.
The one-week challenge allowed participants such as IoT engineers, makers and designers passionate about harnessing digital connectivity to solve urban challenges in their cities and settlements. Participants were to compete and develop a prototype to solve a specific challenge out of the three urban “verticals” including:
Water Quality Monitoring A Smart drinking water quality monitoring system for households could use sensors placed in household water pipes or water storage containers for households using public standpoints. The data collected using standard water quality parameters could then be uploaded over the internet for analysis. When there is a deviation of water quality parameters from the pre-defined set of standard values, an sms-based alert could be generated by the system to warn consumers to further treat their water before drinking. The monitoring system could also be scaled up by the water utility through a centralized dashboard to regularly assess the quality of drinking water supplied to consumers.
Indoor Air Quality IoT can be used to monitor the air quality through the use of Air Quality Sensors that could be placed in either indoor setups such as kitchens or outdoor (e.g city streets, parks).The monitoring process may utilize a cloud solution to show the air quality through an AQI (Air Quality Index) measurements. Results are sent to users, decision makers and dedicated experts for appropriate actions.
Public Mobility Members of the public most often want to know when and where their Matatu is on the roads, a “Real-Time Passenger Information System” can help them plan their commute and time better with more real time information. Such a system could use sensors to know the Location of a public bus and produce a “Digital Map” to graphically show the location. A “Smart Ticketing” system may also work in tandem with such a system.
The participants underwent an intensive competition to build the minimum viable product and come up with a sustainable business and operating model to scale the solutions and present their elevator pitches at a live streamed session within the United Nations Complex in Nairobi on the final day.
The SAJ fellow team were awarded Ksh 20,000 and will continue to work on the system @iLabAfrica to enable users get a full report of the water in use hence prevent disastrous happenings in future like cholera outbreak.
@IlabAfrica Research and Innovation center participated in the first session of the UN-Habitat assembly held on 27th -31st May 2019 at the UN- Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The Session was officially opened by The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, welcoming international guests to Kenya, ministers and high-level Member States representatives, governors, mayors, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, academics and business leaders.
Represented by Leonard Mabele, IOT Manager @iLabAfrica participated at the High Level Side Event on Accelerating Frontier Technologies for cities: Closing the infrastructure Gap.
The session was a platform to discuss key policy innovations and cross- sector collaborations around the domain of frontier technology and infrastructure, that have the potential to close infrastructure gaps by improving affordability, accessibility, efficiency, network coverage and overall improvement of operations between utilities and service providers with the goal of saving costs and increasing revenue for municipalities. Leonard Mabele was able to share his experience on the partnership projects by @iLabAfrica, Liquid Telcom Kenya and UN-Habitat on an integrated Sanitation management system that was recently implemented in Mathare slums. The system will monitor the levels of sewerage and send alerts to enable cleaning when full.
The discussions also addressed the challenges being faced and elaborated on the steps that can be taken to close any infrastructure gaps that can help accelerate the development of cities that are not only “smart” but sustainable, resilient and inclusive.
As the United Nations focal point for Sustainable Development Goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat is mandated to provide policy-level direction and local-level programming that contributes to the achievement of New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. This event examined the role of UN-Habitat in implementing this transformative vision through its new Strategic Plan 2020-2025. The Strategic Plan highlights frontier technologies and innovations as a key domain of change, towards the goal of enhanced shared prosperity in cities and regions. The theme of this year’s UN Habitat Assembly is “Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities” with the sub theme: “Accelerated implementation of the New Urban Agenda towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”
A total of 113 countries sent representatives to the opening of the UN-Habitat Assembly, over half of them at Minister or Deputy Minister level among the 2,250 delegates who attended
UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif said, “The UN-Habitat assembly provides a fantastic opportunity for us all to inspire each other with new ideas and examples of how we have used innovation to maximize the opportunities offered by urbanization and overcome the challenges.”
The UN-Habitat Assembly was established by the United General Assembly through a resolution endorsed on December 20, last year, to help strengthen UN-Habitat’s mandate. The Assembly will meet every four years.
@iLabAfrica, Strathmore University hosted Mr. Tariq Khokhar, Rockefeller foundation Managing Director of Data and Technology.
Mr. Tariq Khokhar had the opportunity to meet up with @iLabAfrica Director, Dr. Joseph Sevilla and the Deputy Director, Emmanuel Kweyu, to discuss future partnerships between Rockefeller foundation and @iLabAfrica in the field of Data Science and eHealth. He expressed his interest in the foundation partnering to support incubation of AI projects through workshops, projects that involve Early Interventions for Agriculture and Weather Forecasting Prediction for better crop yields.
Mr. Khokhar was a Senior Data Scientist and Global Data Editor at the World Bank, where he established the World Bank’s Data Innovation Fund, which attracted more than 1,000 applicants and led to over $7 million of investment in early-stage and scale-up projects to improve the way data are produced, managed, and financed for low-and-middle-income countries. (rockefellerfoundation.org/news-media)
Mr Khokhar was also taken on a tour of @iLabaAfrica and @iBizAfrica and had the opportunity to meet the different head of departments at @iLabAfrica.
Click here to know more about The Rockefeller Foundation
Strathmore University this week hosted Safaricom PLC hackathon competition that had up to 240 participants. The event aimed at fostering solutions around Android Developer, Solution Architects, Big Data Engineer among others.
The Safaricom funded program, co-implemented by @iLabAfrica was an open book competition used to identify technical practical competencies. For this event, the standard pass mark was 75% which was earned after a practical test was done, the examined interrogated and given the chance to modify their work. Those who were Successful received an oral interview invitation where they would be recruited to work for Safaricom in the IT department, their employment level being determined by their total score in both the hackathon and the oral interview.
According to Peter Opiyo, the IT Workforce, Performance and Reporting Manager in the Digital IT Department – Technology Division at Safaricom, theoretical interviews do not always yield desired output and so there is need to explore various technical skills through exhibited practical sessions – hackathons.
“Because of the high demand of techies at Safaricom and the IT market at large, there’s need to recruit the best in practice. Most of the best developer employees we have here in the IT department are those hired from hackathons.” said Peter.
Call for participants was issued out through the Safaricom career portal, website and social media platforms.
@iLabAfrica, Strathmore University, launched a cashless revenue collection system in Busia County. The system, a project under @iLabAfrica’s outsourcing and consulting unit, dubbed County Pro was launched on the 10th of April 2019. The launch, which was spearheaded by Busia’s County Governor, Hon. Sospeter Ojaamong, is set to collect revenue and seal leakages that have led to a decline in the county’s revenue collection.
In his statement the governor applauded @iLabAfrica for contributing to a course that seeks to seal loopholes and maximize revenue collection in the county.
“I thank @iLabAfrica from Strathmore University and the vendors of the County Pro system for effecting the cashless system in partnership with Safaricom,” Ojaamong said.
Busia County now aims at attaining and realizing its potential of collecting Sh1.5 Billion from the various revenue streams through the system.
Implementation of the System
Busia County has already procured 100 P.O.S (Point of Sales) Devices to its 7 sub-counties and training done to all the Revenue Collectors in the specific sub counties.
@iLabAfrica, through the County Pro vendors, is taking part in the implementation process in two steps; the Gap Analysis Report which is going to ensure that the county has the prerequisite infrastructure that is: Computers, Printers and the Internet, for the program to kick off and the Modular Process of Implementation which is going to make sure that the Backend System of the structured revenue and P.O.S (Point of Sales) system of the unstructured revenue are up and running.
Once the systems are operational, data that is obtained from the P.O.S system, which will include parking tickets and market receipts, shall be directly synchronized into the Backend System of the Structured Revenue of the county government.
Monitoring and Evaluation
This system will be monitored on a daily basis using the User Support System. Through this system, Revenue Collectors can contact the County Pro Developers through calls and e-mails and make their cases regarding any queries on the system.
Quarterly Site visits will also be done to assess the success of the system. This is also meant to enable the creators of County Pro address any vital issues concerning the system’s workability.
@iLabAfrica has been at the forefront of technological advancements with projects just like ‘County Pro’ to help solve notable issues facing the counties and country through the use of technology
County Pro has replicated the same system in Kiambu, Taita Taveta and Kisumu Counties which are now yielding positive results in terms of revenue collection.