Innovation Marketplace Urban Challenge Workshop
On 28th April 2015, the UN-Habitat in partnership with Ericsson Research, Samsung C&T, Community Chest of Korea and Strathmore University hosted the ?Urban Challenge Workshop at Strathmore University, as part of UN-Habitats Innovate Kenya Project. The workshop brought together youth representatives from Nairobi based tech start-ups and NGOs and county government representatives to collectively identify some of the main challenges faced in Kenya in regards to young engagement in governance at the county level, with a particular focus on urbanization issues.
Dr. Joseph Sevilla, the Director of @iLabAfrica, a research institute with a focus on ICT, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Development hosted in Strathmore University kicked off the day at the ??Urban Challenge Workshop, This workshop aims to explore how young people are using technology to engage in governance. The more we include ??youth in the ?governance of the different counties; the better will be the feedback for government authorities. Counties can get better insights on whats really happening in the ground with the real people living there.
Helene Opsal, from UN-Habitat Youth Unit presented the Innovation Marketplace project to the group. This project seeks to build capacity at the county level in Kenya around the use of ICTs as a tool for good governance and youth engagement, ultimately institutionalizing innovative solutions to enhance ?citizen engagement.
Markus Nyberg, from Ericsson Research introduced the concept of networked societies and presented some of the cutting edge innovations and trend identified in Kenya. You can learn more about the concept of networked societies at http://www.ericsson.com/thinkingahead.
Caroline Mutua of @iLabAfrica Research Centre, presented some of the inspiring case studies she came across during the stocktaking exercise. This exercise sought to bring to light existing innovative ICT solutions in Kenya that promote youth engagement in local governance. If you want to learn more about how youth have been using ICT to create change in their communities in Kenya, check out Carolines presentation: UN-Habitat Stocktaking Presentation.
The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Angelica Kiboro, the Entrepreneurship and Partnership Manager in @iBizAfrica, with assistance from Ms. Lorna Mutegi from @iLabAfrica Research Centre.
Participants of the workshop were divided into focus groups that comprised of youth and county representatives. The groups were tasked with identifying burning challenges they face in their counties related to Economy, City Planning, Governance and Basic Services. ?Each group shared some of the insights from the discussions as highlighted below:
- The group discussing Basic Services reminded us that there are different needs in different settlements, and the importance of being mindful of the differences between income categories. The group recognized the need for more mapping initiatives, which will enable authorities to identify gaps and plan services such as transport, health and the use of public spaces. ICT solutions should address a certain need that is important to the population and it should be available to the people who need the service. It should be simple to use and it should indicate responsibilities.
- The group discussing City Planning raised some of the challenges faced in Kenya, which included: traffic jams, housing and shelter, inclusion of urban poor in the city design, water and sanitation in the different parts of the city and the lack of open spaces to name few. There is also a lack of youth engagement in ?planning for ?urban development at the county level; youth do not participate in urban planning. Some of the reasons for this are that people cant afford to participate due to transportation costs or taking a day off work. There is a need to bridge the gap between policy makers and youth; some structures for youth participation exist but they are misused as political tools and do not provide young people with a meaningchannel to have their voices heard.
- The group discussing Economy highlighted the fact that there is a mismatch between ??youth aspirations, the education opportunities available and the skills required by the labor market, ICTs could represent an opportunity for counties to develop dynamic channels that will enable them to receive better insight on the situation among unemployed young people. Counties need to make sure that the information available is youth friendly, and they should try to feature some of the good practices, for example some of the youth groups that have been able to access procurement opportunities, highlighting why they were successful.?
- The Group discussing Governance, endorsed what was raised by all the previous groups, but emphasized that youth are not being included in the planning of major projects which generate all sorts of problems, for instance, Kibera railway line was uprooted because youth were not included in discussions around the purpose of the railway lines.
From problems identified, each group formulated challenge statements which will be taken forward into the Hackathon that will be organized later on this year as part of the Innovation Marketplace, and will bring together different stakeholders to work on ICT based solutions to the challenges identified.
To learn more about the initiative, check out Helenes presentation at the workshop at: https://prezi.com/dagb3y9p6adb/innovation-marketplace/.
To learn more about the opportunity ICTs represent for youth engagement in governance, make sure you check out UN-Habitat Youth Report on ICT, Urban Governance and Youth. at: http://issuu.com/unhabitatyouthunit/docs/ict_urban_governance_and_youth_vers