Environmental Conservation – The Untapped Tech Frontier



By Nguru Mugendi,

Kenya has been dubbed the Sillicon Savannah; with good reason. From this small East African country, technologies that have and continue to change the world have been borne (I will spare you the nearly cliché M-PESA story) and investors have, over-time taken note and sunk in millions of dollars in search of the next big thing!

But as we industrialize; as populations migrate into our cities; as the demand for fuel depletes our carbon resources; as the manace that is urban waste becomes more eminent, we have changed our environment, altered weather patterns and in more case than I can cite, we have put ourselves at the mercy of mother-nature! It is no wonder that the current rate of desertification is unparalleled. Our climate is unpredictable and cycles of insufficient rains followed long draughts has become the order of the day. Na bado tunaomba serikali!

You will agree with me that if anyone (by kuomba serikali) ever expected an immediate answer, then he/she must have been dreaming! Right?

Well, the National Environmental Trust Fund (NETFUND) has answered. Actually, they have been doing so for a while, but this is worth venturing into.

NETFUND, in cognisance of the fact that Kenya indeed possesses some of the greatest minds in Africa, has launched the NETFUND Green Innovation Award. This award is aimed at celebrating great innovations that contribute to environmental conservation. The award is open to individual innovators, companies and even institutions.

What is great about this award is that it is more than one day of fame for the winners. NETFUND has gone ahead and identified partners who will then help incubate winning projects so as to ensure that simple ideas and prototypes can transit into products ready for the market. Innovators will be guided through the rigors of creating sustainable and scalable “green businesses”.

This is a first in Kenya (and probably in the region) and while the submissions are still open, you have a chance to enter your innovations before July 30th, 2014 and hopefully, we could be using your dust-paper to print forms like this in the very near future!