UoN Launches Shs100M Innovation Challenge for Students

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University of Nairobi (UoN) has officially Launched the Hult Prize 2021 Competition which seeks to award atleast US$ 1 million (100 million shillings) to a winning student.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama last week at the launch announced that the annual, year-long competition will crowd-source ideas from students. The challenge will be on them to solve pressing social issues bordering on food security, water access, energy and climate change.

The challenge which is also supported by the United Nations is focusing on addressing the SDGs through Social Entrepreneurship Innovations by students. The ideas presented will be judged by a panel of judges appointed by the Hult Prize Country Coordinator.

UoN and a few other universities have been participating in Hult Prize through OnCampus Competition challenge for almost three years. The institution according to Prof. Kiama, launched the competition as a way of inspiring the students to go full strength in the competition.

The challenge will run for three months from September 5, 2020  to  December 5, 2020.

The Vice Chancellor also observed that the purpose of the University is to add value to faculty, collaborators and students and Hult Prize goes along way in adding value and challenging students.

“Kenya is known for sports, wildlife, mpesa and academics. Our students perform very well in universities around the globe. I challenge you to bring glory to the UoN by winning this challenge”, he said.

Professor Kiama also spoke on the need to brand the university well because good branding helps in creating many opportunities.

“When we brand ourselves, opportunities increase and everyone looks forward to working with us,” he equipped.

Only recently, the Vice Chancellor outlined his five point reform agenda aimed at transforming the University into ‘a vibrant and Sustainable University’.

“This request by students to participate in the Hult Prize Social Innovation Challenge aligns very well with my Reform Agenda Number five on people where the University will identify and celebrate talents and achievements, exploit intangible assets through commercialization and to promote research and technology transfer ecosystem, ensure the University attracts, recruits, supports and retains outstanding staff and students and provide a diverse, inclusive, fair and open work environment where people give their best to their work and feel valued, ” he said.

A group of five students from the Earlham College in the US including one from Kenya won the prize four years ago after coming up with a commuter service innovation christened Magic Bus for the matatu sector in Nairobi.

Wycliffe Omondi, the lead in the team noted that the text based ticketing service allowed commuters to pre-book buses using mobile phones hence reduced the waiting time for buses. At the time, the innovation was being tested out in Rongai and Buruburu routes.



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