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Fursathon winners Announced; Youth innovation Celebrated by President Kenyatta

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Three youth were today announced as winners of the National Youth Council’s Fursa Vs Economic Recovery Challenge for their innovative ideas.

From an initial group of over 1,000 youth innovators who were provided with training supported by the UK-Kenya Tech Hub, the winning three were announced by Principal Secretary for Youth Affairs, Charles Sunkuli, and take home MatePad Pro devices courtesy of Huawei.

The three winners are Ronald Yegon with his online marketplace to sell seedlings and trees, Victor Nzau with a business that recycles discarded leather and upcycles it into products to sell, and James Mbogo who addresses problems of low quality seeds by growing and certifying high quality seeds and seedlings for farmers along with training.

President Kenyatta congratulated the winners of Fursa Vs Economic Recovery Challenge. He expressed this as evidence of the great potential of the youth in this country. Noting that embracing technology has proven to be the avenue that our youth can make a living and transform their lives. “Today 1,300 youth have received training through this program and 50 will get devices to help them turn their ideas into reality”.

His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, appreciated the partners who made this possible including Huawei who have shown their commitment by supporting the competition for a second year running and the UK government through UK Kenya Tech Hub along with Kenya Airways, Telkom, Post Bank and ILT Academy. “Thank you once again for being part of the change by empowering our Kenyan youth and the development of the country.”

Principal Secretary for Youth Affairs, Charles Sunkuli, CBS, spoke at the event about the potential for youth in Kenya: “Our youth have tremendous potential, great ideas, passion, and willingness to apply themselves to improving not only their own lives, but those of others and of the whole country. At the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, we are very committed to helping youth. We were able to reach youth at grassroots level all over the country, provide them with training, local champions to provide support, mentoring, and technology to help them turn their ideas into concepts, ready to then turn into actual products”.

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As he announced the winners he added: “As we award the winners today, I want to thank our partners for this initiative. Huawei, who was with us last year, and is again with us this year, has truly shown their commitment to youth in Kenya through their many projects with our Ministry, and the gadgets they are providing to the winners will make a big difference to them as they develop their ideas.”

The Director of the UK-Kenya Tech Hub, Sheena Raikundalia, CEO of National Youth Council, Roy Sasaka Telewa, and Deputy CEO for Public Affairs at Huawei, Fiona Pan, presented the prizes to the winners whilst discussing the importance of youth taking advantage of technology to solve issues in their communities.

The Fursathon: Fursa Vs. Economic Recovery Challenge was a six-week program calling for Youth Innovators from across all 47 Counties in Kenya to submit innovative ideas on post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery. The Challenge is spearheaded by National Youth Council with support by the UK government through UK-Kenya Tech Hub and Huawei, along with PostBank, Kenya Airways and Telkom Kenya.

Implemented by The Kijiji, 1,318 youth innovators from 47 Counties signed up to participate in the Fursa Vs. Economic Recovery Challenge. Each youth innovator went through a program of seven e-learning modules hosted on the Whitebox platform, as well as attending three online learning and networking events and a pitch competition. Ultimately 3 national winners were selected after a public voting and panel judging of 50 shortlisted pitches. 41 Youth Ambassadors were trained, engaged with the youth innovators across the country and have set-up local innovation communities which will continue to thrive even after the end of the Fursathon.

CEO of National Youth Council Roy Sasaka Telewa, was inspired by the youth: “Youth are our brightest hope. Through this competition, we have seen them championing for Economic Recovery bringing their ideas, innovations and actions, as well as their passion and commitment. Let us come together and work with the Youth. We will continue opening opportunities for Youth and work closely with partners to harness this demographic dividend. Congratulations to the winners”

As she handed over the prizes to the winners, Huawei Deputy CEO, Fiona Pan, commended them: “let me congratulate the winners who are here today, and all of those who submitted entries to the competition. 50 of you will get technology from us which we hope can be used to help you develop your innovation and make it into reality. Many of the ideas were very good and I can see a lot of potential for technology to make Kenya a better place.”

Sheena Raikundalia, Director of UK-Kenya Tech Hub explained how they hope to continue supporting the winners: “we are extremely excited to support this challenge; seeing the innovative ideas and energy from the youth across Kenya has been extremely inspiring and at UK-Kenya tech hub we are keen to keep working together”

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