Kiambu County has been selected to be part of a pilot project seeking to incorporate youth in developing and implementing technological solutions to solve urban challenges facing the country. Youth from around Kenya together with experts in the field gathered at Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th September in an event dubbed as Urban Hackday, to develop technological solutions that can used to improve urban areas.

The Urban Hackday is part of a larger project known as the Innovation Marketplace, a pilot program being undertaken by UN-Habitat in collaboration with Ericsson and Strathmore University based @iLabAfrica, to develop, test and implement technology solutions together with youth and county governments in Kenya. With oversight from mentors from local government, technology companies and urban practitioners, the over 40 participants were in teams formed around four major challenge statements developed in conjunction with the county under four main focal areas; local economy, city planning, urban basic services and local governance. Five county representatives from Kiambu and five mentors were also present.

Mat Q emerged the winners with their web and mobile application for automating stage management at matatu terminals; provision of PSV traffic data to advise the county government on expansion plans and to improve on revenue collection. Smart Reporters were the first runners up, and they designed a web based and mobile platform for work evaluation based on county residents’ feedback on service delivery. It is aimed at solving the problem of poor service delivery. Auto Tech came in third with a web and mobile application that aids in data collection with analytics and visualization. Examples of data being collected include water and electricity consumption to aid the county in planning purposes. This is because the current mode of data collection is bulky, cumbersome, with human error and lacks visualization.

The best solution was decided through a judging panel composed of experts from UN-Habitat, Strathmore University, Ericsson and prolific entrepreneurs and will be incubated at @iLabAfrica for the rest of the year towards developing it to a prototype that can be tested at the county level to improve their processes. Participation in the hackathon was open to all with various programming, coding, design and other technical skills and those with an interest in urban planning, marketing, social change through an application process, which closed on 11th September. Selection of participants was jointly done by UN-Habitat and Strathmore to ensure a good mix and balance of skill