Stephen Muchiri who recently graduated from JKUAT emerged as the winner of the #MyLittleBigThing SDG’s Innovation Challenge. Stephen came up with the winning innovation being Auto-Alcoblow, an alcohol detection and monitoring system.

The system measures blood alcohol levels by analyzing a driver’s breath and prevents ignition of a car engine by an intoxicated driver. It also switches off the vehicle in the event that a driver begins consuming alcohol while driving.

In second place was Ruth Wanjiru, a 22-year old student in her fourth year at JKUAT, whose Power in Plastics project aims to encourage the reuse and recycling of plastics, and empower low income communities.

Nkanai Cynthia, 19, from Kenyatta University came in third, with her Keep A Child Warm project. Using easily available local materials such as sisal fibre, recycled gunny bags and traditional lesos, Cynthia makes improvised blankets for distribution to street families, whom she also mentors.

The #MyLittleBigThing SDG’s Innovation Challenge, is an initiative of MK-Africa in partnership with Safaricom, University of Cambridge South Africa and PKF among others, seeks to create awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the youth, with the aim of encouraging them to come up with home grown solutions to Africa’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

The initiative invites undergraduate students from universities across the country to submit innovation ideas around the first five SDGs, which are: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education and Gender Equality. This year, entrants were required to submit a 2-3 minute YouTube video as well as a 200-word essay describing scalable and commercially viable ideas related to these goals. Over 100 students participated in the challenge this year

Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer – Safaricom, had this to say, “We are in a position to be the change we want to see, from a corporate and individual level. The youth can create sustainable solutions to the challenges we face, and that is what I find most inspiring about this forum. I hope that through initiatives such as this, we can inculcate sustainability thinking into our DNA and make it a way of life.”

This year’s winners will get the chance to attend the Cambridge University Sustainability Practitioners Program in South Africa in August, which will be followed by a three-month incubation period for their projects upon their return.