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Can you sell an idea in 3 minutes? 

Rogers Githinji, winner of the Falling Walls - Nairobi Edition, during his 3 minute pitch.


On September 9th, 2021, the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) – Research and Innovation Office at Strathmore University in collaboration with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Africa’s Regional Office hosted the Nairobi’s 4th edition of the “Falling Walls Lab” 2021. The ‘walls went down’ at the Transcentury Auditorium as each participant showcased their projects physically in the presence of well-rounded judges that included Beate Schindler-Kovats DAAD Regional Office for Africa Nairobi, Prof. Izael da Silva, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research & Innovation – Strathmore University, Dr. Benson Kemboi Kenduiywo – Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and Dr. Jemimah Onsare, CEO – National Research Fund. Keeping the participants at ease while the event passed through was Dr. Fridah Kanana – Senior Lecturer of English and Linguistics – Kenyatta University.

What is the Falling Walls Foundation?

Replicating the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Falling Walls Foundation seeks to offer an avenue to those excited about removing the hurdles in science and society for the betterment of human living. The foundation is passionate about positive influencers who bring sustainable solutions to walls that hinder the greater good of humankind globally.  This year, the conference attracted over 1000 nominations from 115 countries. The brackets under which a participant can compete include Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, Art and Science, Future Learning, and Science and Innovation Management. In commemorating the 20th anniversary of the peaceful collapse of the Berlin Wall, the final event will be on November 9th 2021 in Berlin.

What can you do in 3 minutes? 

In 3 minutes each of the following participants were not only able to present but also answer any question posed to them by the seasoned jury.  Jonah Mwangi emerged second while Kabini Karanja came in third. Out of the 35 applications that were received seven men and two ladies made it to the final pitch of the Nairobi finale. Unfortunately, one of the participants was not able to take part which reduced the number of finalists to 8. The “breaking the wall of” concepts were as follows: 

  1. Apollo Karuga – Growpoint International

Breaking the Wall of Unsustainable Food Systems

  1. Rogers Githinji – Strathmore University

Breaking the Wall of Access to Justice

  1. Jonah Mwangi – Green Nettle Textile

Breaking the Wall of Sustainable Textile

  1. Stella Mbau – Loabowa

Breaking the Wall of Rural Climate Vulnerability.

  1. Kabini Karanja – Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture  & Technology

Breaking the Wall of the Informal Manufacturing Sector

  1. Audrey Mulama – Taita Taveta University

Breaking the Wall of Water Pollution in Artisanal Small-Scale

Gold Mining.

  1. James Mbugua – University of Nairobi

Breaking the Wall of Bio-Energy Production by Automation

  1. Emmanuel Soumo – Pan African University

Breaking the Wall of Agricultural Production in Africa

Roger Githinji emerged the overall winner. Over and above the many perks that came with being the finest wall down, Roger won a fully paid trip and accommodation topped by an opportunity to showcase his pitch under the Emerging Talent Category in the Global grand finale in Berlin on November 7th, 2021. To learn more about Roger’s quest and the other participants’ pitches, click  here and here.


This article was written by Annete Karanja.      


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