Category Archives: TEDxNairobi

TED Idea Search, Nairobi, February 2017

TED Global is returning to Arusha in August 2017 (August 27-30), ten years after initial African TED Global. They were seeking new speakers, so last Wednesday, TED held auditions in Nairobi. After the TED team put up a call, 200 applied and 20 were selected to speak at an audition, before an audience in Nairobi.

(Pic by Africa Knows)

Some of the fascinating new speakers included fresh talks from a diverse group including   storytellers using photography and podcasts, using robotics, stem cells, and mining techniques to rebuild human bodies, and conservation specialists who advocated new ways to create new interest in insects, birds and mammals, such as by getting people to track elephants instead of Pokemon.

Others talks were on facilitating the rise of African development through improving the business climate, anticipating & mitigating urban architecture problems that will come from rapid African urbanization, and using blockchain to tackle land corruption.  Some of the talks will get on the TED online platform and some speakers will be invited to present at TED Global in Arusha.

(Pic from Africa Knows)

The last time they had auditions in Nairobi they discovered young schoolboy Richard Turere who is considered the inventor of the lion light.

TED Global also has a fellows program which is open to enable others to attend at Arusha at reduced prices or even free if they are worthy but genuinely can’t afford to pay the attendance cost. The deadline for applications is February 17.

Idea Exchange: CarnegieMellon, DABRA, PivotEast, ResearchGrants, TED, Apps

New, ongoing, and concluded opportunities

Africa App Quest is a search for Africa’s top travel app in which developers will compete for a top prize $10,000 by building home-grown travel apps, specially designed for the tourism sector in Africa. It is sponsored by Visa and South African Tourism, the application rules are here, and the deadline (D/L) is 16 August. 

Airbus: Vote for the Team Aero Bamboo Engineering (Team A.B.E.) from the University of Nairobi,  in the  Fly Your Ideas contest where their project which engineers bamboo for aircraft cabin materials in competing against four other ideas shortlisted from 618 entries from 82 countries. Votes are open till June 3.

Art Moves Africa: AMA supports mobility of artists and cultural professionals within the African continent by paying for their costs of travel, visas and travel insurance. Performers in visual arts, music, cinema, literature and cultural advocacy are eligible, and the next deadline is 1 September for travel planned after 27 October.

For Carnegie Mellon University students interested in pursuing M.S. in Information Technology degrees in Rwanda, the Rwandan Government has scholarships for qualified students from the East African Community that cover 50% of the tuition fee and, for citizens of Rwanda there is an additional study loan to cover the remaining 50% of the tuition, plus living expenses if needed.

Connected Kenya: The Innovation Awards at the Connected Kenya Summit provide a platform to showcase Kenyan companies that are contributing to improving productivity and efficiency in the country through ICT innovation. For 2013, the awards are sponsored by Google and the deadline for applications is May 19 – apply here

Diageo: The Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2013 a.k.a DABRA‘s finalists were announced this week and the short-listed pieces include stories like;
  • Africa’s healthcare technology revolution
  • Barry Bateman and Oscar Pistorius: Inside the Twitter explosion
  • Ivory Coast’s Women Reject Equality in Household Law Debate
  • Mozambique – Coal, gas: boom for all or just a few?
  • Revisiting Tinapa
  • Malawi: Beautiful Destination with limping tourism
  • The Chinese loan conundrum: Who is benefitting from Zambia’s phantom growth in construction?
GAIN: The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition invites public and private entrepreneurs to partner with to improve nutrition in Africa and selected innovations will receive business advice, technical assistance, and funding.

Google: Doodle 4 Google competition is open to students aged between 6 and 18 years to draw on themes of ‘My Kenya’ to celebrate Kenya’s 50 years of independence. The winner will get ~$9,400 worth of school fees, as well as a similar amount as a technology equipment grant for his/her school and will have their doodle displayed on the Google Kenya homepage. An Android tablet device will be the prize for the teacher involved and D/L is June 14

GSK: Trust In Science Africa invites high quality African (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) medical researchers to submit proposals for collaboration and funding. The maximum grant duration is 3 years and the maximum amount of funding is $100,000 with a D/L of 31 May.

Kofi Annan Fellowship for outstanding students from developing countries provides the opportunity for 3 student from developing countries to study management at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin and graduate with an MBA. The value of the fellowship is € 58,000, other details are here, and the D/L is 30 September. 

Nairobi Securities Exchange: The Investment Challenge 2013  is an online simulation of live trading targeting Kenyan youth who are in universities, technical institutions and other post secondary colleges in which where groups are given (virtual) capital to invest over 3 months to see who ends up with the highest value portfolio. Prizes may internships at NSE partner organizations.

Orange: The African Social Venture Prize promotes social innovations in support of development that use ICT. In addition to prize money ranging from €10,000 to €25,000, three winners will also receive support from professional entrepreneurs and ICT experts for a period of six months. D/L September 20.

Pivot East: The semifinalists in the 2013 Pivot East contest have been announced, and some of the selected apps include:
  • ChamaPesa (gives investment groups a way to pool savings and invest in diverse instruments)
  • Inforex (enables foreign exchange trading between Forex bureaus)
  • EZsacco (allows savings societies to receive mobile payments, generate reports, and send members statements by SMS)
  • Juakali (a service that links informal sector workers with potential clients)
  • Smart Blackboard (gives students  1-on-1 interactive tutorials with real teachers, without the need for access to the internet)
  • iDaktari (information management system for doctors with private practice)
  • Kyatabu (a micro-leasing textbook subscription application)
  • CancerBank (mobile app that makes for easier self diagnosis, early detection, triage and treatment of cancer)
  • GreenHouse Pro (a  guide for green house farmers to cultivate six different crops)
  • Ma3Route (crowd-sources up-to-date traffic & transport information)
TED: TED Prize is an annual $1 million prize that is awarded to an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change. D/L 1 June.

Safaricom: AppWiz challenge targets new mobile application developers in Kenya with the aim of equipping participants with entrepreneurial & technological skills, to launch apps into the market that cover agriculture, health, financial inclusion, education games, utilities, safety etc. D/L 28 June.

Wellcome Trust: International Engagement Awards support health research projects with grants of up to £30,000, and is open to media professionals, educators, science communicators, health professionals and researchers in bioscience, health, bioethics and history. D/L 19 August.


$1M Grant to Fund  Storytelling on African Issues will offer African journalists reporting grants to support investigative, multimedia and data-driven stories that aim to improve health and prosperity across the continent. The African Story Challenge is a project of the  African Media Initiative   (AMI), will award approximately 100 reporting grants for stories on development issues. Details here.

88mph is accepting applications for its next three month programme in Nairobi, Kenya, with investments of up to US$100,000 available – details here and D/L is July 15 

Africa Small Research Grant Competition: The Review of African Political Economyhas an African Political Economy Research Grants competition for African scholars/activists based in Africa and pursuing a political economy agenda. D/L is 31 July and details are here.
Austrian Embassyin Nairobi has an Artist in Residence Programme 2014 that makes available 50 residencies in Vienna for the year 201 to artists, curators, writers, composers, art educators. More details here
BlackBerry Scholars Program aims to encourage women in Kenya (and the world) to enter and develop careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)and will provide scholarships to outstanding applicants who are seeking degrees at accredited local colleges and universities in the areas of STEM across Kenya. Application deadline is June 26 and more details are here

Ericsson Global Hack for Goodis a chance for Kenyan mobile application developers to unite refugee families separated from each other by conflict, war and disaster. Details here
FIRE – Fund for Internet Research and Education (FIRE) Programme Awardsaim to encourage innovation and find creative, accessible and acceptable solutions to Africa’s ICT challenges. Grant awards of up to $3,000 are available in categories of innovation on access provision, E-development, freedom of expression and a Community Choice Award category for the best social media campaign. D/L is 31 May and details are here
Georgetown UniversityMaster of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) launches New Africa Scholarship as a full- tuition scholarship for a talented graduate student from sub-Saharan Africa. D/L is January 15, 2014 and details are  here .
German Media Development Awards: The People’s Choice Award for human rights photography recognizes African photojournalists who inspire and change perceptions of life in Africa through the power of photographic storytelling. D/L is May 31
L’OREAL-UNESCO Regional FellowshipsWomen scientists who are nationals or permanent residents of any country in Sub-Saharan Africa can apply for the fellowships to assist them attain PhD degrees in all fields of science. Ten fellowships to the value of Euro 15,000 will be awarded. D/L is 30 June and details here
Scientists Without Borders and The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are offering $7,500 to the winning student in a dairy data management challenge. Details here.

TED:  Apply to be a TED Fellow 2014. D/L is June 21.

VC4Africa provides an opportunity for a select number of VC4Africa registered ventures to raise capital through the VC4Africa investor network – details  here and D/L is June 12 

Wordcamp Kenyais looking for speakers who are involved in digital marketing or bloggers in tourism to speak at the event in September 2013. Details here.

Unplanned Nairobi Infrastructure & Buildings

The spat this week between the Kenya Government and various businesses about demolition of buildings along Mombasa road is not a surprise for anyone who was at the 2010 TEDxNairobi where Architectural Engineer Eric Kigada of Planning Systems Services spoke of the lack of a valid master plan for the City of Nairobi and the resultant chaos for building owners and his fellow professionals.

He said Nairobi had master plans drawn in 1948 and 1973, but this last one expired in 2000 and it was a city that would expand toward Thika side of town. Currently, the government, planners, and landowners operate in a vacuum with different departments and ministries having different maps and plans for road expansion and it’s not clear what routes they will follow or how large actual roads will be constructed. Government officers who won’t commit approval in writing and there are unclear plans such as one extending the growth of Nairobi up to Namanga.

He advocates for digital maps (which exist) to be availed and used, transparency in the planning process, and most important a master plan that will be shared within the industry. He also spoke about his company’s other work such as revitalizing green spaces along the three Nairobi rivers and a proposal to utilize existing abandoned quarries to supply enough water for the Eastern half of Nairobi, but which the government authorities are yet to commit to.

Will the buildings, include the new Sameer Business Park and new Standard Newspapers Headquarters be brought down to expand the road? The Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) in a statement today called for urgent development and implementation of the comprehensive master plan and a defined compensation plan for land and building owners if the Government goes ahead with demolitions to make way for necessary infrastructure improvements.