Here for the children, here for the future
Venture for Change cultivates a social entrepreneurial mindset among students through an idea competition. The competition incorporates modules that encourage the students to use disruptive thinking, identify new solutions and develop business models. It lays a definitive focus on collaboration, project sustainability, simple and efficient solutions, and employee engagement, among others.
In 2019, about 25 students from Kenyatta and Strathmore universities participated in the Venture for Change program in Nairobi, which focused on developing hygiene solutions to increase health outcomes for children and youth living in low resource communities. The competition included six months of training and mentorship on the building blocks of social innovation and entrepreneurship, and a chance to experience the daily lives of people in Mukuru slums to identify potential sanitation solutions and test potential hygiene co-creation with social innovation practitioners, professors and professionals from different sectors. Uhai365, Swahili for Alive365, was the winning team of last year’s program. The team was formed by students from different backgrounds, who shared a vision to educate children in low-income communities on proper hygiene and sanitation using a board game.
Children in these communities are at the highest risk of contracting and dying from hygiene-related illnesses. With the help of Francis Gikufu, founder of Mukuru Angaza Film Academy, they iteratively refined their prototype to fit the target audience. The team was comprised of Wendy Ondigo, Telecommunication and Information Technology; Simon Otieno, Mechanical Engineering; Victor Kairu, Food Nutrition and Dietetics; and Samwel Wafula, Psychology. “The most difficult part of the process had to be juggling between academics and our involvement in the program. Nonetheless, nothing beats a disciplined mind,” explained Samwel Wafula.
The team continues to implement its solution beyond the Venture for Change competition. “The experience we had from the program opened our eyes to an abundance of opportunities in the world of social entrepreneurship and influenced our decision. We think of our venture as one that is changing the world, one child at a time. This is what keeps us going despite the financial and time constraints,” explained Wendy Ondigo. Venture for Change set the stage for ideas that create a holistic approach toward local community engagement and empowerment. UHAI365 took that stage to make a difference. They have currently developed the first digital prototype of the board game and are seeking technical expertise to convert the prototype into a physical game.