Maarifa kona making strides
DEPP Innovation Lab in Kenya
Start Network's innovation lab in Kenya, part of the four national Disaster and Emergencies Preparedness Innovation Labs (DEPP Labs) programme, reflects on progress made so far. This news article was originally published on Adeso Africa on 28th June 2018
Adeso, iHub and Mastercard (AIM) Labs, known as the Maarifa Kona, are partnering in Kenya to strengthen rural communities’ resilience to recurring drought – to enable them to prepare, respond and recover. The AIM consortium uses a human-centered approach to innovation by working hand in hand with local communities in the counties of Marsabit and Garissa.
We took our first steps in September 2017 with the goal of engaging communities meaningfully in the exploration and development of responsive and impactful innovations, which would build the resilience and adequately prepare communities that have long endured the ravages of drought in Kenya. This was indeed an exciting undertaking for the Maarifa Kona team but not without its fair share of fears and challenges, which naturally accompany novel ideas and unchartered waters. Maarifa Kona is the localised reference for the Kenya Innovation Labs established under the Disaster and Emergencies Preparedness Programme.
We have made gains in the last few months; picking up momentum with key outcomes from our ground work. In the month of April to May 2018, we successfully held the Call for Ideas in the Counties of Marsabit and Garissa. We were overwhelmed with the submission of 236 community ideas from numerous groups and individuals. Maarifa kona is centered on a community-driven approach that heavily invests in community consultations and feedback as it engagement strategy. In this regard, we went back to the communities to involve them in the selection of the final 22 ideas (11 from each lab) that moved into the research and concept development stage of the programme.
On 11th – 12th June 2018, the shortlisted 22 innovators from Marsabit and Garissa were hosted to a two-day boot camp at the Kenya Comfort Hotel, Nairobi. This platform enabled this diverse group of innovators to learn more about the Maarifa Kona innovation process and refine their ideas from the knowledge exchange. Additionally, the innovators also had a chance to interact with a network of mentors from iHub, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Kenyatta University and the Council of Governors. The intense two-day sessions drew out great insights that will inform the upcoming series of activities anticipated in the next nine months of the programme. We look forward to birthing a series of scalable community-driven innovations that will locally steer the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the commitments enshrined under the Grand Bargain.