Tag Archives: training

#HackForMombasa

Courtesy of Rhoda Omenya, UN-Habitat

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Hacking. A word more often than not, heavy with negative connotations – specifically with reference to digital technologies. Today, mainstream use of hacking still refers criminal activities but has also given rise to a positive meaning – use of technical computer expertise to solve problems. Extrapolated to the term hackathon – an intense 24 or 48 hour event that provides a venue for self-expression and creativity through technology where people with technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively code a unique solution from scratch — these generally take shape in the form of websites, mobile apps, and robots.

UN-Habitat, Youth and Livelihoods Unit in collaboration with SwahiliBox, held a hackathon on May 20th – 21st, in Mombasa County to solve urban challenges that the county is facing. This hackathon is part of a project dubbed Innovate Counties Challenge Project that seeks to include local government partnerships in enabling governance technology applications developed by youth, have tangible impact at the community level. These challenges were identified in a challenge workshop previously held with participation and contribution from a cross cutting representation of pertinent persons from academia, civil society, youth groups, private sector, media and the core partners of the project, the county representatives particularly in the Youth and ICT departments.

The hackathon had participation from students as a result of outreach sessions done at Technical University of Kenya, Mount Kenya University, Kenyatta University and Kenya Methodist University. From the sign-up sheet, 71% were participating in their first hackathon, an indication of both the novelty of the hackathon and the challenges that would be faced therein. As such having the participants take part in a continuous 48 hour hackathon would be strenuous and thus was split in two full days.  Web4All, an ICT Enterprise founded with the sole aim of utilizing ICT to Improve the Livelihood of People in Africa, facilitated the hackathon.

In the first day of the hackathon, participants were grouped into the challenges they wanted to solve and taken through ideation and theme matching, meeting user needs and problem solving and low fidelity prototypes and placeholder sites under rotational mentorship. This enabled them to immerse themselves into the problems they were trying to solve by understanding the main person faced with the challenge – in line with human centered design’s core principle of empathy. Ultimately aiding the teams to narrow their thinking to one solution – what they were envisioning, for whom and how the solution would ameliorate the user(s) life. Day 1 concluded with hacking of their solutions.

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Figure 1 Participants at the end of Day 1

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Figure 2 Working through the Idea Canvas

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Figure 3 John Paul from Web4All taking participants through the Business Model Canvas

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Figure 4 Taking a break to fuel the body

Day 2 of the hackathon had the participants hacking and finalizing their solutions, as the mentors took them through deck preparation and pitching for the presentation.

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Figure 5 Mock pitching to mentors

The hackathon had four judges:

  1. Nyevu Karisa – County Government of Mombasa Officer, Department of Trade, Energy and Industrial Development
  2. David Ogiga – Director, Sote Hub
  3. Adam Chagani – Consultant, UNODC
  4. Sharmaarke Abdullahi – Project Management Officer, UN-Habitat

The air was stiff as teams began presenting their seven minute terse pitches, with a three minute follow up Q&A from the judges. There were thirteen teams exhibiting solutions on varied governance problems from service delivery (waste, transport and water management), tourism promotion, urban farming, county government transparency, to the often forgotten social and intangible human facets of drug abuse, etc. The judges evaluated the presentations based on the tangibility of the solution (thus showing the team’s grasp of the problem being solved), the solution’s feasibility on a technical level, its creativity and originality. Further, the teams had to show that the solution is socially acceptable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. The teams were additionally judged on their cohesiveness and presentation skills.

The judges then went into weighty deliberations, finally agreeing on the top three teams:

  • Winners: Mji Safi with their innovative solution of preventing food produce at markets turning into organic waste. This would be done using an inventory control system, working with a market management authority and vendors.

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Figure 6 Winners: Mji Safi

  • First Runners Up: Azucorp with a hardware solution of delivering urgent medical supplies using drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) thereby reimagining transport modes. This solution comes an opportune time as the Government of Kenya has recently approved the use of commercial drones.

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Figure 7 First Runners Up Azucorp

  • 2nd Runners Up: Veve with an interactive web portal for both locals and tourists to restore Mombasa as a tourist destination and thereby reversing the drop in Foreign Direct Investment and specifically the five year drop in tourism earnings.

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Figure 8 2nd Runners Up – Veve

Special mention is given to Aqua Harvesters who came in sixth with their novel solution of a solar desalination and pump system that sanitizes and distributes water by exploiting road traffic movement to push water without fuel – consequently tackling water scarcity and quality.

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Figure 9 Judges

Looking ahead, the top six teams will be taken through a fundamental training on the startups and entrepreneurship to give them the starting block to techpreneurship whereas the winners, Mji Safi will continue on with the incubation to develop their solution for piloting and provide them with the necessary skills to develop a business model for scale.

The two days captured the vision, creativity, resourcefulness, and imagination of youth despite the newness of a hackathon in Mombasa County. Emboldening them should be a never ending exploit.

 

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Call for applications Global Urban Peace Labs: Colombia Urban Youth Fund project

Paz for Colombia

DEADLINE for submissions: 6th July 2017
DURATION: from July to December 2017

Are you a youth-led organization in Colombia or a Servicio Nacional De Aprendizaje (SENA) apprentice or alumni? Does your organization have an innovative youth leadership model or idea on promoting peace and resilience in cities in Colombia? Is your youth-led organization non-political and non-religious? Does your project aim to promote peace through, but not limited to;

  1. Improving the livelihood of the community and target groups?
  2. Creating jobs or promoting entrepreneurship towards peace and resilience?
  3. Providing ICT driven solutions towards peace building and resilience?
  4. Building peace and resilience through research and training?
  5. Sports and development or creating safe spaces for dialogue towards peace building and resilience?
  6. Building peace and resilience through Art and Culture?
  7. Encouraging/involving youth in governance and governance structures?

Does your project have a keen focus on reintegrating Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members or integrating vulnerable communities and target groups including young women and men in difficult conditions?

Then, Servicio Nacional De Aprendizaje (SENA) and United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) have a great platform for you!

SENA and UN-Habitat are excited to launch the call for applications for the Global Urban Peace Labs programme. This is a grant program that will make an enormous contribution to the peace building process and will provide a platform for young people to develop their potential to serve as catalysts, implementer’s and partners in building a peaceful, more productive and resilient Colombia. This will be achieved not only through the demobilization of former youth combatants part of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia but also providing opportunities to SENA apprentices and the victims of the armed conflict to provide models towards contributing to peace and resilience in Colombia.

We are happy to hear from you!

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page which will guide you through the application requirements.

For SENA apprentices and alumni please submit your ideas and models through: https://goo.gl/forms/rAgFCDVi2CbTTIIx1 before or on 6th July 2017 to be eligible for a grant.

For non-SENA apprentices and alumni please submit your ideas and models through: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfX0QKqoKfKc-G45_dF-zksCZFsF62AGI1jmzT__S9Xc0wWVA/viewform?usp=sf_link  before or on 6th July 2017 to be eligible for a grant.

Please remember to attach the necessary documents to the indicated email addresses including the budget

Football Pitch Make-over through Design Thinking

A lot was happening in Mlango Kubwa’s football pitch last week. Mlango Kubwa is a ward in the Mathare informal settlement in Kenya. Mathare has approximately 500,000 residence; Mango Kubwa itself has approximately 50,000 residents of which 70% of the population is 24 and under.

After its inauguration by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, it became the centerpiece of Design Thinking workshop organized to give it a sustainable make-over.

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The football pitch is the cornerstone of the community, strategically placed and accessible for all Mlango Kubwa’s residents. Used primary for football, sport and play, at times it’s also a place for talent shows, celebrations and other community events. But time, weather conditions and lack of resources have left a toll on its appearance and condition. What was once an astonishing sport facility in the midst of a slum is now rapidly deteriorating public space.

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To try to help out and bring new ideas and perspectives on the issue, UN-HABITAT teamed up with GIZ Sport for Development Africa programme and Prof. Dr. Falk Uebernickel from University of St. Gallen, an expert in Design Thinking methodology, to run a 2-day workshop with the community. Ran as a pilot in a difficult context of poor urban community, the hope and expectation was to come up with new strategies to revitalize and sustainably maintain the field.

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Despite slow start, the community members attending the workshop came up with some amazing ideas of how to improve the current state of the pitch.  Through rather complex and at times quite challenging steps of the Design Thinking methodology, the community looked at the most pressing issues, including safety and security, drainage, waste management and communication. Here are just few examples of simple interventions that were born that day:

  • Adequate fence around the pitch perimeter, with some kind of roofing to protect from rains
  • Paid caretaker(s)
  • Build-in drainage
  • Regular clean-ups, with competitions between school
  • WhatsApp group to inform the community of events and happenings at/around the pitch

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Funding remains a challenge and will determine the successful implementation of all the ideas that the community envisioned for the football pitch but everyone remains hopeful that over time, they will achieve everything what they set themselves for. UN-HABITAT will continue to support the Mlango Kubwa community and hope that together we can make it happen.

How ICT is helping to change Kenya

The Innovate Kenya programme is a partnership between UN-Habitat. Samsung and local communities to foster innovation in Kenyan youth. One component of the programme is establishing 6 youth and ICT centres in Nairobi, Kenya, which will provide technology and entrepreneurship training to thousands of youth and youth-led groups. The backbone of this programme is an e-learning programme on social entrepreneurship developed by UN-Habitat which trains youth and youth-led organizations on how to start-up their own social enterprises.

Innovate Kenya: Entrepreneurship and ICT Training for Youth Empowerment

The growing number of young urban citizens, coupled with the explosion of electronic handheld devices is introducing new challenges and opportunities for both local governments and youth that have not been adequately addressed. UN-Habitat has begun to address these converging trends through the development of a conceptual framework on improving local governance for youth using ICTs articulated in an e-learning platform.

UN-Habitat is embarking on a pilot program to facilitate the development and implementation of projects in towns and cities of Kenya to test the approach. The Innovate Kenya; Entrepreneurship and ICT Training is the tool designed to facilitate this process. The proposed e-capacity building and marketplace aims to link youth, local governments, and the technology community and corporations, into structured activities that utilize ICT to enhance local democracy and governance for young citizens of Kenya. The overall goal aims at empowering youth by giving them educational opportunities through e-learning and other methods. Improving the quality of education by supporting educational materials and hardware and introducing innovative opportunities on ICT platforms.

The initial undertaking was the renovation of a classroom at Alliance Boys High School into a computer lab, followed by a donation of 15 (fifteen) lap top computers to the school in the first quarter of 2015. An e-learning curriculum will then be introduced focusing on social entrepreneurship and business studies. Five other schools and universities are set to benefit from similar activities within the next year. This project builds on the UN-Habitat’s Youth Empowerment Programme, and is funded to the tune of USD460,000 by the Samsung Construction & Trade (Samsung C&T) Cooperation. This is an initial pilot project which will be scaled up to include programmes on urban sports, and youth.

Urban Youth Fund

Every year, over 8,000 youth-led organizations apply to the UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund. The fund offers grants of between 5,000USD and 25,000 USD to winning submissions in a very competitive selection and only about 30-40 entries are eligible for the grant annually.

These organizations span various sectors, from technology and agriculture to education and poverty reduction. Every year, the Fund supports new and innovative ideas and solutions for job creation, good governance, adequate shelter and secure tenure planned and implemented by youth-led groups globally.

By undertaking research on best practices in youth-led development the fund also creates greater awareness of youth-led development and the urgency to ensure that youth perspectives are integrated into local, national and international development policies and strategies.

To qualify, applicants organizations must be led by young people aged 15-32 years and be based in cities or towns in developing countries. to qualify. Support in terms of training, mentorship and an e-Learning programs are provided primarily for project leaders to ensure success of the selected projects. To support the projects further, an Urban Youth Fund Mentorship Programme has been created. The programme uses alumni from the fund and youth leaders to provide guidance to current projects. Projects encouraging gender equality or involving partnerships with the government or the private sector are particularly encouraged.

Urban Youth Fund E-Learning Program

UN-Habitat has partnered with Canadian University of Fraser Valley to provide custom courses in the area of sustainable development, social enterprise and community planning. The e‐Learning programme is the newest addition to the Training and Capacity Building Program of the Urban Youth Fund. The programme seeks to integrate the mobile technology, internet‐based curriculum and applied empirical learning to provide a dynamic learning opportunity for youth in the developing world.