UoN Vice-Chancellor, Prof Peter Mbithi(L) engages UNICEF Kenya representative Dr Pirkko Heinonen(R) before the signing of an MoU that will see the children’s organisation work with C4DLab in various projects.
Preparations for the annual technology and innovation exhibition event (Nairobi Innovation Week) have received a major boost as the Startup incubation center(C4DLab) signs a two-year working partnership with UNICEF.
In the latest turn of events, the new partnership reinforces the role that UNICEF plays in the activities of the startup incubation lab, where it previously supported the roll-out of the Nairobi Design Thinking School in late February.
During the signing ceremony, University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof Peter Mbithi and UNICEF Kenya Acting Representative, Dr Pirkko Heinonen, shared a joint commitment to lead their institutions in coming up with innovative ideas that address the bottlenecks and barriers faced by the children and adolescents from the most deprived and vulnerable communities.
“Eight out of ten children are deprived from access to basic services in Kenya especially in hard to reach areas,” said Dr Heinonen.
“In addition, over 16 million children in Kenya do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation, education, health, nutrition and shelter. The Government, public and private sectors, and academic institutions like the University of Nairobi must work together to make a change for those that need it most,” she said.
On the other hand, Prof Mbithi said:
“We talk about innovation very often and somehow it is taken lightly. On the contrary, we see it as a tedious process of accurately identifying problems and challenges in society, systematically creating solutions to those challenges and deploying the appropriate solutions that will have a meaningful impact on people and society.”
“We also realize that we are much more effective when we work with partners on this journey,” added the Vice Chancellor.
At the same time, during the ceremony, C4DLab Director Tonny Omwansa highlighted various initiatives the two institutions will collaborate in the next two years.
“Other areas covered by the partnership include incubation of tech startups through the Lab’s own Africa Technology and Innovation Accelerator (AfTIA), the unveiling of the Young Innovator’s Forum, as well as the establishment a Data Lab for children, which is a one-stop information shop on the status of children in Kenya,” added Dr Omwansa.