What you need to know:
- Across the country, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are playing a critical role in driving such innovations.
- Disguised as cultural beads, the innovation is embedded with a GPS tracking system that allows doctors to monitor the movement of pregnant women
A unique innovation is helping save the lives of mothers and infants in northern Kenya.
Disguised as cultural beads, the innovation is embedded with a GPS tracking system that allows doctors to monitor the movement of pregnant women and lactating mothers in nomadic communities.
Whenever they skip a hospital visit, or are late for vaccination, the beads enable health workers to track down the women, helping cut back both maternal and child mortality rates.
Elsewhere around the world, old phones are being used to protect forests and wild animals from poachers, using a technology simply known as ‘the black flower’, which alerts authorities of the presence of human beings in the forest. Now, this technology is coming to Kenya.
Across the country, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are playing a critical role in driving such innovations.
In turn, this has become instrumental in creating new jobs and opportunities for young people.
However, for these small businesses to realise these noble goals and grow into big companies, they need the support of the government, especially at the local level.
In Laikipia, for instance, the devolved unit started Laikipia Innovation and Enterprise Programme to support local SMEs and innovators to achieve commercial and mass production.
Within its first two years, it has supported 290 businesses through an ecosystem of 23 partners and four county government agencies.
These businesses cut across sectors, from manufacturing, tourism and agriculture, to construction and ICT.
What can other counties learn from these innovations? How did Kenya grow to the point where it is the leading hub of innovation in East and Central Africa? What are the new trends in innovation and what do they mean for the future of work?