Three students from Kenyatta University (KU) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) universities are the winners of this year’s #MyLittleBigThing SDG’s Innovation Challenge.
The three include JKUAT’s Stephen Muchiri who created Auto-Alcoblow, an alcohol detection and monitoring system. Muchiri took the first place and beat over 100 students who participated in the competition.
Auto-Alcoblow measures blood alcohol levels by analyzing a driver’s breath and prevents ignition of a car engine by an intoxicated driver. It also switches off the vehicle in the event that a driver begins consuming alcohol while driving.
In second place was Ruth Wanjiru, a 22-year old student in her fourth year at JKUAT, whose Power in Plastics project aims to encourage the reuse and recycling of plastics, and empower low-income communities.
Nkanai Cynthia, 19, from Kenyatta University came in third, with her Keep A Child Warm project. Using easily available local materials such as sisal fibre, recycled gunny bags and traditional lesos, Cynthia makes improvised blankets for distribution to street families, whom she also mentors.
#MyLittleBigThing invites undergraduate students from universities across the country to submit innovation ideas around the first five SDGs, which are: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education and Gender Equality.
This year, entrants were required to submit a 2-3 minute YouTube video as well as a 200-word essay describing scalable and commercially viable ideas related to these goals.
“We are in a position to be the change we want to see, from a corporate and individual level. The youth can create sustainable solutions to the challenges we face, and that is what I find most inspiring about this forum. I hope that through initiatives such as this, we can inculcate sustainability thinking into our DNA and make it a way of life,” said Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer – Safaricom, when he spoke at the event.
MK-Africa used the competition to increase awareness of SDGs. The challenge included an annual competition, online learning platforms and university SDG clubs, where students can learn from their peers and sustainability experts.
Safaricom has invested approximately KES 3 million in #MyLittleBigThing since 2017 and contributed towards the setting up of SDG clubs in the universities.
This year’s winners will get the chance to attend the Cambridge University Sustainability Practitioners Program in South Africa in August, which will be followed by a three-month incubation period for their projects upon their return.