Why Kenya Covid-19 Innovation Challenge?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge to the global health, wellbeing and economy of people. It has impacted how we live, learn and work, with populations in most countries under a form of stay at home order, creating unemployment, especially to a majority in Kenyans who depend on daily wages from trade and other entrepreneur activities.  In Countries such as Kenya, where the median age is 19.1 , it is projected that the pandemic indirect effects will be widespread hunger, malnutrition, mental illness and increased crime.

While the pandemic is already creating untold suffering, Kenya and Africa at large has the unique opportunity to turn the economic tide, if personal safety measures are enhanced and its young population incentivized towards harnessing technology and innovation.

In this regard, the pandemic offers countries like Kenya, that have invested in technological human and infrastructural capacity to reinvigorate its economy, create new businesses; skill, reskill and upskill its young populations to play an even bigger role in the Post Covid19 Technologically enhanced economy.

The Great COVID19 Innovation Challenge

Konza Technopolis in collaboration with the Association of Countrywide hubs and  partners has developed an Innovation challenges to harness the collective capability of the technology and innovation sector, in a structured manner in response to three grand challenges that recognize the combined package of infrastructure, technological tools, human capacity and data delivered by a unique combination of multiple stakeholders (public and private sectors will revolutionise service delivery, spreading the reach of new developments to the poorest and most remote communities and improve development outcomes for all. 

This challenge seeks to bring together the innovator communities,  technology and innovation sector players together to demonstrate the power of partnerships and provide new models for government-private sector collaboration to birth the next frontier of techno-developmental-governance interface needed to address the immediate challenges during the current pandemic period as well as with a longer term impact to our Big 4 Agenda, Vision2030 and SDGs.

The challenge therefore is looking to match issues articulated by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, with scalable solutions that can be co-created and adopted for use, matched by policy and financial incentives.

Categories for the COVID19 Innovation Challenge

Health Systems Innovation for COVID19 Challenge:

COVID19 is creating a tremendous strain on Kenya’s health system. As evidence in developed economies such as Italy, Spain the UK, the disease can easily overwhelm existing health service capacity, placing at risk health service providers, but also creating near impossible situations in allocation of critical health commodities and supplies. Governments around the world are grappling with flattening the curve, creating a rush for acquisition of PPEs, ventilators and other essential commodities and supplies, precipitated by the disruption of the global supply chain. Countries that are wealthy are scooping any surplus of these precious commodities globally. This category therefore seeks solutions that can help with:

  • Creating adequate awareness in the population and Health workers on all aspects they need to know on the COVID19 disease, including mitigating against “fake-news”.
  • Train Health workers on COVID19 in the shortest time to enable them to protect themselves, and provide the best care for suspected and confirmed patients.
  • Strengthen health systems capacities for prompt detection, testing, treatments, and contact tracing,
  • Provision of timely information to the population & stakeholders involved in the fight against COVID -19 spread.
  • Medical supplies and equipment including face masks, hand gloves, ventilators, sanitizers, testing kits and especially how to produce these cheaply, quickly using local available materials. Projects to cover different facets including WASH and nutrition.
  • Software applications including apps to trace victims, crowdsource data, alert platforms and emergency response tools at such critical moments where seconds means saving a life. We invite applicants to share whatever viable tech solutions they can imagine, from thermal cameras to help with detection to apps for contact tracing.
  • Rapid prototyping and deployment of commodities and supplies through 4th Industrial Technologies such as 3D Printing.
  • Creating agile governance framework to enable adoption of innovations (data standards, interoperability, protocols and guidelines).
  • Create a communication solution for internal and/or community engagement on COVID19 and other relevant information, that also allows feedback
  • Crowdsource movement data in Red Zones Using Social media meta data to aid in contact tracing.

Food Systems Innovation for COVID19 Challenge:

The Agricultural sector contributes 26% of (GDP), another 27% of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors. It further employs 40% of the total population and more than 70% of the rural population in Kenya. The impact of COVID-19 on overall economy would equally affect the agricultural and food security sector, especially in the understanding that a majority of farmers over the age of 57.

In this regard, there will an adverse impact on food security and nutrition as the pandemic coincided with the commencement of the long rains, which marks the planting season for Kenya’s staple foods. The pandemic also comes at the heels of a drought that ravaged the Country in 2019 and a continued locust invasion.
This category therefore seeks to harness data, innovations and solutions to secure our entire food systems, that assures continuous access of affordable and nutritious food across the entire republic of Kenya such as:-

  •  Provide real time data and information on food availability and accessibility, including pricing;
  • Policy innovations, capacity and financial packages that ensure adoption and sustainability of adopted solutions.
  • Support small-scale farmers to access to inputs, capital, information and knowledge to grow food amidst COVID19 restrictions;
  •  Incentivize young people to rapidly deploy across the entire agricultural value chain (from farm to fork).
  •  Scale practices and incentives for larger farmers as a measure to de-risk food insecurity;
  • Improve supply chain practices to reduce food loss, scale new business models for producer-market connections.
  •  Create localized market-places that are technologically driven for food access, processing, distribution and delivery.
  • Logistics especially last mile and how to get food, medicine and essentials to the most vulnerable and needy.

Dignified work challenge for COVID19

The COVID19 pandemic is adversely affecting the economy. In Kenya, there are major disruptions in the tourism and export sector that area major source of foreign exchange. Similar to other Stock Exchange in the world, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) halted trading on 13 March 2020 after wiping out Ksh120 billion off investors financial portfolios.

With the introduction of 7pm to 5am curfews, work from home order, closure of restaurants (only open for take-outs), social distancing measures in markets, supermarkets and public transport, the informal, that employs a majority continues to suffer. A majority of these workers earn daily wages and have therefore no other means of income. The longer the pandemic, the high the unemployment rate, exposing people to break the current COVID19 containment laws. It also exposes the young population to crime or allure towards violent extremism.

The challenge is therefore to leverage on technologies and innovative solutions that will spur inclusivity and opportunity for dignified work, enabling:

  • Enabling individuals in the informal economy to acquire digital skills for the future of work;
  • Support to SMEs. Online platforms supporting ordering systems, shifts and adaptations in business models, Cash transfer programs, home-based cash for work programs etc
  • Improves access to technology that enables the management of businesses and access to clients and markets.
  • Disruptive EdTech: solutions that can bring classrooms & learning to the homes of the millions of Kenyan children currently stranded at home. How can tech be used to deliver virtual lessons, upload teaching materials and enable effective distance learning for children, students and people with disabilities
Who can participate?

Individuals, Start-up teams and organisations working on innovative solutions to address the Covid19 pandemic.

The Expected submissions

Two models of interventions are expected to be delivered in this Hackathon.
1. Complete innovation concepts for immediate use in the country.
2. Proof of concept solutions with short term implementation and potential to Scale\\

Value proposition

For innovators

The Innovation challenge will seek to recognise Top innovators and support the commercialisation of the solutions to ensure impact to our communities.

The Selected Teams will be provided with opportunities to:

  1. Partner to contribute meaningfully to the current crisis
  2. Support for selected the top innovators to accelerate their solution Scale.
  3. Showcase of solutions to the country and international partners.
  4. Support hosting of the solution at Konza National Data Center.

Value for Partners
1. Contribute positively during this Pandemic period
2. Engagement and collaboration between innovators and partners in providing solution to the Covid-19 pandemic.
3. Platform to identify innovations that could translate to business opportunities.

Value for KoTDA

  1. Collaboration in contributing meaningfully during this pandemic
  2. Ecosystem engagement with stakeholders united for common purpose of innovating around challenges facing the country.
  3. Engage partners in the industry both locally and internationally.
  4. Platform to identify innovations that could translate to business opportunities.
  5. Provide a basis for Partnership and Resource mobilisation through funding and collaborations.
  6. Increase visibility among innovators and tech start-ups both locally and internationally.
  7. Steer commercialization of research and innovation across the country
Judging criteria

e envision solutions that are technically feasible, socially responsible, and entrepreneurially sustainable, will be developed. We target up to 100 ideas (teams) to be narrowed to 30-40 finalists supported by 10 mentors and 5 judges. Teams will be made of 2-5 individuals


Judging Criteria for the {The Great COVID-19 Innovation Challenge}




Awards point

Originality and relevance of concept

1.The innovation provides a meaningful intervention to the Kenyan environment with regards to the current Covid19 pandemic.

2.The project needs to create new solutions or apply existing solutions in a new, innovative way.

3.The idea should have potential to scale.


Completeness of Solution

1. While pitching will be key in articulating the solution. The Judges will highly consider actual builds that work.



Use of technology

1.Creativity in application of Technology in the design of the solution.

2.Consideration for human interaction while using the solution.


Usefulness/ Feasibility

1.  The project must be realistic in terms of the legal, technological and scientific aspects of the solution. It should be possible to realize the project within a few months

2. The impact of the solution  to the sector of Relevance.



1. The project should make a real difference in the struggle to save lives, communities and businesses affected by the Corona Virus. It should make a significant positive change for a large number of people or for groups particularly affected by the corona crisis.


Registration 15 April-3rd May









Challenge 13-14 May

Live Demo 15 May









Our Partners

Follow by Email