Better Cities Challenge

Cities are struggling to meet the growing needs of this rapidly growing population, large shares of population are vulnerable to food insecurity, water shortage and negative consequences on health due to pollution, among others.

This over urbanization has also led to inadequate housing, access to public services, traffic congestion and environmental degradation. With under investment of infrastructure in cities, these consequences are key development issues that need to be addressed to make our cities livable. A livable city is one that supports high quality of life and wellbeing.

The Better Cities challenge is a programme that works with young people to create social enterprises that address the problems facing Kenyan cities. The themes of the challenge were crafted around Sustainable Development Goals 6: clean water and sanitation, 7: clean energy, and 11: sustainable cities and communities.

The boot camp, which was held from 12th to 15th October 2020, brought together 16 young people. This was after 25 pre-selected youth underwent an online hackathon and 16 aged 18 to 35 (11 females and five males) were selected to participate in the four-day boot camp.

  1. The programme resulted in the co-creation of five startups. Below is the list of winners in numerical order:
  2. E-safiri – The team plans to develop electric charging stations for two and three wheelers to help increase the adoption of e-mobility for commercial use in an effort to reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector.
  3. Casa – The team plans to use ultra-thin wall technology for slum upgrading.
  4. Ufanisi Power – The team plans to create a hybrid solar-powered system that can power homes and small businesses appliances.

Other teams that participared were: Usalama wa Kijinsia – The team plans to start a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) initiative that will act as a bridge between Non-Governmental Organisations and safe houses that host both the male and female victims and Betco Solutions – To reduce the carbon footprint the team wants to make a machine that uses organic waste to create bioethanol fuel at home.

The three winning teams are undergoing online incubation and mentorship that will end in March 2021.