FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIPLE HELIX SUMMIT 2017 – Nairobi, Kenya: 04-06 April 2017

Venue for the 1st International Triple Helix Summit

I Choose Life -Africa, in partnership with the Triple Helix Association, is honored to host the First International Triple Helix Summit in Nairobi, Kenya from 4-6 April 2017.
The theme of the 2017 Summit is: Accelerating the attainment of SDGs through ICT and Data. The Summit will introduce the Quadra Helix approach of working with Government, Academia, the Civil Society and the Private sector to accelerate the attainment of Vision 2030 and the SDGs in using ICT and data.
On behalf of all our partners and sponsors, I extend a warm welcome to you and look forward to seeing you in Nairobi in April 2017.

Eng Mike Mutungi
Chief Executive Officer
I Choose Life -Africa

For the first time in Africa, the world is coming to Nairobi! Kenya, to discuss the contribution of ICT + Data in accelerating the attainment of SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDG). Hosted by the Government of Kenya, the United Nations, the Triple Helix Association, and I Choose Life -Africa amongst other partners, and with a lineup of international, regional and local keynote speakers, plenary sessions, ten convened workshops and over twenty-four-track and sub-track sessions, the Summit offers a rich mix of experience on how to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs.
While here, take advantage of being in Nairobi, the city in the sun, to visit the NationalPark, Snake Park or Giraffe Center all within the capital city.


The East African country of Kenya rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean to mountains and plateaus at its center. Most Kenyans live in the highlands, and Nairobi, the capital, is here at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,500 feet). Even though Nairobi is near the Equator, its high elevation brings cooler air. To the west of Nairobi, the land descends to the north south running Great Rift Valley – the valley floor is at its lowest near Lake Turkana in the deserts of northern Kenya.
Kenya has diverse attractions to offer.  It is one of only a few countries around the world where you can relax on pristine sandy beaches and be able to see wildlife in all forms within a short distance. Kenya has sixty National Parks and Reserves all with abundant wildlife. The spectacular wildebeest migration that occurs every year in Kenya’s most visited Maasai Mara National Reserve is referred to as the seventh new wonder of the world.
The scenery of Kenya is unique, the Great Rift Valley and the snowcapped Mount Kenya, lying astride the equator, are breath-taking.  There are myriad of activities, to enjoy including rock climbing, white water rafting, bird watching and adventure. Kenya is also a land endowed with cultural diversity, pleasant weather all the year round, and more importantly, hospitable people.
The diversity of Kenya further includes, ecotourism, sports and water based tourism, conference tourism and home stay tourism. In the northern part of the country, we have the cradle of mankind from where we all originated, making Kenya a leader in heritage tourism. Kenya is, therefore, the ultimate destination offering an unparalleled variety of travel experiences. As our visitors tell us, it is indeed a magical destination.



The International Triple Helix Summit will be held in Nairobi, the capital City of Kenya and one of Africa’s key financial, business, transport, communication, non-governmental organization, and diplomatic capitals; it is also known as the safari capital of the world thanks to its globally known wildlife tourism industry.

Nairobi is a premier city and one of the most important cities in the East African region.  It has an estimated population of 3.36 million and a land area of 695 square kilometers.

A city full of contrasts, Nairobi is old – so you can feel it’s past, and multi-ethnic – and you can experience the Kenyan culture, yet it is modern enough like any city in a middle income country.  You can access the world from Nairobi.  It is a city that blends all cultures and occupations.  Adorned with modern skyscrapers, world-class restaurants, fully equipped hospitals, modern shopping malls, schools, abundant private and public transportation, and universities and colleges that provide local and international curriculum, you can find it all in Nairobi.
Today, the City of Nairobi is a truly cosmopolitan, multicultural, lively and modern city with an ever-growing skyline.  It is a gateway to Kenya and embraces people from all walks of life.  From local Kenyans to Asians, Arabs, Europeans, tourists, diplomats and businessmen, you will find a good mix of people.  It bustles with activity.  It’s a city that never sleeps; the rhythm is fast, day and night.  There is always something to do and see in Nairobi and its people are friendly and hospitable.


Sustainable Development Goals

Kenya’s progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets realized mixed results.  The country managed to reduce the population living below the poverty line from 52.3% in 2000 to 45.2% in 2009.  On universal primary education, the net enrolment rates improved to 95.9% in 2013.  The number of pupils completing the primary course rose to 83.2% as compared to 57.7% in 2000.  Although the proportion of under one year olds immunized rose to 85%, the country continues to lose 74 infants for every 1,000 live births.  The rate of maternal mortality was 488 for every 100,000 live births higher that the continental average.

Although the literacy rate in Kenya is far better than in most other African countries, quality education is something
hard to come by in Kenya.  So at the end of the day, most students graduate from school with degree upon degree but are unable to apply what they have learned in school to help better their living conditions.

About 50% of the entire Kenyan populace live below the poverty line according to the new multidimensional poverty index with the unemployment rate around hovering around 40%.

Like in most African countries, about 75% of the total population of Kenya are subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families, and in times of crop failure, most of these families go starving.  The unpredictable climatic conditions in Kenya sometimes worsen the situation.  From the
tropical regions along the coast to the arid interior regions, natural havoc such as recurring drought and unpredictable flooding during the rainy seasons sometimes put many rural families in nothing but absolute poverty.

The Triple Helix Summit will seek to catalyze the overall attainment of the SDGs, which call for Global Partnership to ensure their achievement.  The Summit proposes the use of a Quadra Helix approach that incorporates the government, the private sector, civil society, and academia in exploring the use of ICT and Data in accelerating the attainment of SDGs.

I Choose Life – Africa
(the Summit Host)

I Choose Life –Africa (ICL) is one of the leading youth focused Non-Governmental Organizations in Kenya.  The organization works across four sectors: Health, Education, Economic Empowerment and Leadership and Governance.  ICL’s vision is ‘Healthy Africa, Empowered People’ while her mission is, ‘To create a movement of individuals that enhance the quality of life for communities through health initiatives, education, economic empowerment, and improved leadership and governance’.  The organization works closely with the Government, Universities, Business community and other CSOs in a development approach known as the Quadra Helix in order to bring about high developmental impact among communities.  ICL has programs in over 234 Academic institutions including primary, secondary schools and tertiary institutions across twenty-three counties in Kenya.  The organization reaches over one million youth annually with various strategic interventions.

The programmatic areas of work for ICL


The Quadra Helix: development approach by ICL

ICL has focused on the Quadra Helix approach to development using the sub county model.  We use the smallest units of the Kenyan devolved government structure to stimulate synergistic relationships between the actors in order to break the linear relations that have traditionally existed and to establish more nonlinear roles to stimulate internal transformation.

Why Quadra Helix?

The need for convergence of minds amongst the four most critical players in any economy and appreciating the crucial role played by each where:

  1. Government puts in place the right systems, structures, and environment for development to thrive.
  2. Academia conducts the relevant research to inform solutions to specific issues affecting a particular community.  In addition, they prepare the manpower with the right skills, knowledge, and attitudes to develop innovative solutions to challenges in their communities
  3. Businesses invest in developing profitable and sustainable model solutions that are replicable amongst different communities and that can be scaled up making life and work easier.
  4. Civil Society on the other hand plays the key role of ensuring that there is accountability among key stakeholders.  The Government is accountable for the systems and fair regulations, that business does not exploit the community driven by profit, and that academia is ethical in research and manpower building.  The Civil Society is also mandated to educate the community on their rights and responsibilities for the good of their own community.  In addition, it has a responsibility to ensure that the community and its people are led and governed by values and ethics that uphold human dignity.


The First International Triple Helix Summit 2017
Accelerating the attainment of SDGs through ICT + Data

– Location –
The summit will be held at the University of Nairobi Towers, and will include a high-level strategic networking dinner hosted at the Norfolk Hotel.

The Summit Management Structure

The Triple Helix Summit has three main organizers: the Steering Committee, the Scientific Committee, and the Secretariat:

  • The Steering Committee is chaired by the Office of the Deputy President and has representatives from the various ministries, Private Sector, Academia, Civil Society and the Triple Helix Association.
  • The Scientific Committee is led by various universities with a goal of ensuring the implementation of the SDGs is based on research and evidence.  The Secretariat’s role is to ensure a timely execution of the Summit deliverables.
  • The Secretariat is hosted by I Choose Life – Africa.

The Organizing Committee of the Summit have prepared an interesting programme, which includes the followings:

Plenary Sessions

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in a devolved government for sustainable development.

Inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

ICT + Data
Global partnerships, ICT and data for the attainment of SDGs.


1.0   Health Tracks 2.0   Education
Boosting innovation and growth through university-industry co-creation

· Service delivery for sustainable development

· Healthy workforce for sustainable development

· Leadership and governance in health care

Innovations and technology for health systems

· Heath financing

· Health research

· Health commodities and technologies

· Triple Helix for health service delivery support

Innovation for delivering community heath

· Best practice and innovation for increasing access to Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH)

· Refocusing on prevention of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD)

· Sustainable implementation of community health service


 The Entrepreneurial University – from access and curriculum to regional innovation systems

· Education workforce competence analysis

· Curriculum reforms for sustainable development

· Improving education relevance and pathways

Innovation and technologies for education systems

· Improving quality of education through teacher performance management

· Improving learning outcomes through ICT and innovation

· Establishing global innovation hubs

· University led Triple Helix in Pakistan

Education system responsiveness and resilience

· Leadership, governance and accountability for development

· Improving equity and inclusion through integration

· Financing models for quality education


3.0   Environment 4.0   ICT + Data
Environmental sustainability, climate change and information systems

· Climate change information system

· Climate change commodities and research

· Financing of interventions for combating adverse climate change

 Innovations and technologies for climate change

· Winning business models and partnerships

· Renewable and green energy solutions and Triple Helix facilitation

· Civil society’s actions in safe guarding climate resilience and reduction of CGS emissions

· Climate Change affects health, water and food security in Africa: Risk to SDGs, policy gaps and mitigation measures

Climate change and resilience

· Food security and climate change

· Production competitiveness of small-scale farmers

· Technology commercialization in production, value addition and marketing


Data roadmaps for sustainable development and Triple Helix responsibilities

· Data for public and private decision-making

· Knowledge translation platforms

· Innovations in civil registration and vital statistics


Innovation and technology ecosystems and Triple Helix

· Innovations and technologies for citizen generated data

· Frontiers in open data for sustainable development

· Improve data quality for sustainable development

· Deriving, developing and delivering value from SGDs

5.0   Food Security and Hunger  
· Food security and climate change

· Production competiveness of smallholder farmers by 2030 and beyond

· Technology commercialization in production, value addition and marketing

· Waste Management and recovery



Confirmed Workshops

  • Entrepreneurial universities for sustainable development
  • Science and engineering education for sustainability,
  • Establishing science parks and incubators in Africa
  • Triple Helix and drivers of regional development
  • Green business, green jobs and green economy
  • Big data for sustainable development
  • Corporate responsibility for business good and SDGs

Social Events

In Kenya for the first time, or for the love of the bush, the jungle, and the wild, you can either choose to take a short drive out of Nairobi’s central business district to Nairobi National Park, or a Safari to the Maasai Mara.

Nairobi National Park

Kenya’s first national park, Nairobi National Park is a haven for wildlife and is only a seven-kilometer drive from the skyscrapers of Nairobi’s city center.

The park is a rhino sanctuary, which protects more than fifty of these critically endangered creatures.  In addition to the rhinos, visitors may spot lions, gazelles, buffaloes, warthogs, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and ostriches, and more than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the wetlands.

Nairobi National Museum

The park is a rhino sanctuary, which protects more than fifty of these critically endangered creatures.  In addition to the rhinos, visitors may spot lions, gazelles, buffaloes, warthogs, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and ostriches, and more than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the wetlands.
The National Museum in Nairobi is an educational way to spend a few hours on a city stopover.  The museum displays diverse cultural and natural history exhibits including more than 900 stuffed birds and mammals, fossils from Lake Turkana, ethnic displays from various Kenyan tribal groups, and exhibits of local art.

In the Geology Gallery, visitors can explore an impressive collection of rocks and minerals and learn about tectonic plates and the life cycle of a volcano.  The Hominid Vault contains a collection of prehistoric bones and fossils, including the preserved fossil of an elephant.  At the museum, visitors can purchase combination tickets, which include entrance to the adjacent Snake Park with live specimens of Kenya’s most common reptiles.


The coastal city of Kenya has some of the best beaches in the world.  Kenya’s tropical beaches have a lot to offer everyone, from unspoiled resorts to beautiful white sandy beaches, which are perfect for the ultimate relaxation.

Mombasa beaches brag of the best local reefs, clear water and soft white sands; they offer a great swimming opportunity, gives a delightful feeling coupled with and an alluring ocean that offers an amazing sight.

The beaches also offer you an opportunity to engage in some beach activities such as surfing, sunbathing, or a long walk along the shores.


Selected Articles

Empowering Teachers and Students with Comprehensive Digital and Technology Literacy for the Twenty-First Century Knowledge Economy (Using Helix Interactions to bring ICT Core Skills to Teachers and Students in Kenya)

Anne Gatende
Executive Director
Virtual Learning Solutions
I Choose Life – Africa

Digital Literacy is vital to the future of Africa.  Kenya’s Vision 2030 earmarks the ICT sector for wealth and employment creation.  The target is to propel Kenyan’s economic rate to ten percent annually with ICT taking a lead with an estimated GDP growth rate of eight percent; creation of 180,000 jobs and fifty regional ICT companies by 2017.  This makes ICT one of the foundations for economic development.  The proposed Konza Technology City represents a strategic opportunity to invest in the growth of the ICT sector in the county as well as the country’s overall economy.  Upon completion, Konza City is expected to create over 200,000 jobs and create an enabling environment for world-class research, education, and business to encourage innovation.  Phase one will create about 18,000 jobs.

This is a strategic opportunity for a social enterprise like ours to look for partners who want to invest in ICT skills development so that the young people benefit through employment and job creation.

At the global level Ministers of Education, high-level government officials and representatives of civil society organizations, teachers’ organizations, United Nations (UN) agencies, development partners, and members of academia and the private sector (note the Helix interactions), gathered at the International Conference on ICT and Post-2015 Education from 23 to 25 May 2015 in Qingdao, the People’s Republic of China.  This meeting was held to further their collective understanding of how to
unleash the full potential of ICT for education.  They came up with a new vision for education by 2030, as articulated in the final Declaration, titled ‘Towards Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning’ (Qingdao Declaration).  This declaration was later adopted at the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea.  In this declaration, the stakeholders further affirmed that the remarkable advances in information and communication technologies (lCT), and the rapid expansion of internet connectivity have made today’s world increasingly interconnected, and made knowledge more accessible for every girl and boy, woman and man. According to their conviction, in order to achieve the goal of Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning by 2030, education systems need to integrate technology across the pillars of access, equity and inclusion, quality and learning outcomes within a lifelong learning perspective.  They understand that technology alone will not bring the necessary transformation, they are well aware that it offers unprecedented opportunities.

There is also great awareness that the uneven access to technology and online content is widening the long existing learning divide.  Their commitment is to ensure that by 2030 all girls and boys have access to connect to digital devices and a relevant digital learning environment that is responsive to leaners with disabilities.  They recommend that all education stakeholders recognize the enrollment in quality-assured online courses as an alternative or a complementary means to the regular programs of study when striving for the objective of universal access to basic education and skills development.

With this understanding of the role of ICT in achieving education goals, an interaction between Virtual Learning Solutions, an education social enterprise, and a Civil Society Organization, I Choose Life Africa (ICL), has been playing out during the last year.  This interaction has proved of great use in an attempt to close the digital divide by bringing aspects of digital literacy and teacher training to ICL’s education programs in their three counties of operation.  This has happened in sixty schools in Kenya where about 10,000 marginalized girls have been targeted for various interventions through a DFID program.  One of the key interventions has been integrating ICT to improve learning outcomes.  The schools have been equipped with laptop computers that have been installed with teacher training materials and learning software to enable the teachers to use technology to teach.

Virtual Learning Solutions has partnered with Microsoft to offer the Microsoft Certified Educator program that trains the teachers in six core competency areas aligned to the UNESCO framework recommended for governments in the new dispensation of teaching and learning with technology.  The six competency areas are core to teachers aligning themselves the twenty-first century learning design.  It is envisaged that their learners will be better equipped to succeed in knowledge economies that have become more and more reliant on technology and connectivity.  In pursuing the educator program, the teacher is trained in aligning ICT to their pedagogy, organization and management, curriculum and assessment, understanding policy, teacher professional learning and ICT itself.

The teacher training aligns to the four-stage learning pathway for the teacher:

  1. Digital literacy where the core competencies of computing applications and living online are made available through the IC3 digital literacy curriculum recommended by the global digital literacy council (GLB).  The three core competency areas are tested using the Learn Practice Certify learning pathway.  The course is delivered as a TV content with ITPRo TV, Wiley and ICL, with a local University of Nairobi ICT Lecturer, and implemented by Virtual Learning Solutions for the development of digital skills for in and out of school youth and their teachers.  The course has been designed to provide knowledge on the basics of computing giving comprehensive coverage of the full range of entry level computer skills, where students learn at their own pace using their own device in their home or anywhere with an internet connection.  All the TV episodes are transcribed for optimized content and keyword search, giving the students easy access to specific IT knowledge when it’s needed.
  2. Teacher professional development is the technology literacy and the Microsoft course is administered the course is dubbed as the ‘technology literacy course for educators’ and is expected to give about thirty-six notional hours of learning and be examined in a single proctored online exam.  As the teacher prepares their student for the twenty-first century learning design they themselves are subjected to that unfamiliar mode of learning.  The observations are quite interesting as the teacher come to terms with how much they need to change and learn in order to support their learners.  12000 teachers have gone through this course countrywide in preparation for the digital literacy program being rolled out by the government across all primary schools.  The training has been offered to all Standard One teachers.  The gap for training remains huge and we will need to keep investing in teacher training if we really want to see the dividends of ICT in our education systems.
  3. Knowledge deepening where we have partnered with Concordia University in Canada and Agakhan Academies to introduce the Learning toolkit software.  Teachers are trained on how to embed this toolkit for learning and assessment as part of their daily work.  They use it to teach reading and mathematics in the lower grades and deep and critical thinking, as well as goal setting and self-regulation in the higher secondary classes.  The teacher looks at how to teach thirty-two skills with software that is connected to seventeen books.  The toolkit is designed in such a way that the child cannot master the logarithm and will not master it and therefore get bored after figuring it out.
  4. Media information literacy has yet to be introduced for teachers to then go ahead and be more innovative and creative with technology to start authoring their own content and using technology to directly use their own material more and more after they have acquired the skills for learning.

As a result of using this training, teachers who come from very remote schools have come to appreciate that technology can be used in the classroom for their own subjects.  Where they thought that the use of computers was for the computer teachers, they have come to see its relevance to their own profession.  They feel changed and ahead of their peers and want to change even more to keep abreast with new methods of content delivery.  They feel more skilled and upgraded and are proud to use the new methodologies.  Their fear that technology use is an interference and a waste of time is abated as they see how machine learning can improve their time management skills.

The training of the teachers has proved to be a good and worthwhile investment.  Self- regulated learning helps the teachers to internalize the kind of work required in the twenty-first century.  Learners with high levels of self-regulation have a good control over attainment of their goals.  They can focus on the processes of how to acquire these skills.

This technology enabled learning style prepares students for the real world.  It provides ownership over learning.  It provides teachers with a deeper understanding of the student experience.  This is what creates the lifelong learners – from the cradle to the grave.

More will be presented during the Summit.


Solar Lights to Increase Income

Nick Lusson
I Choose Life – Africa

Kenya is a dynamic country of approximately 45 million people.  It has become the regional hub for commerce and development.  However, the power supply in Kenya is expensive and erratic.  Kenya has facilities to generate over 50% of its power supply from hydro dams, but in severe drought conditions like we are seeing now (and that have been recurring for more than a decade) the electricity supply goes down and the price goes up.  The power companies rely on quick and expensive coal and diesel to meet the need, and then pass the cost on to the customer.  Recent investments in geo-thermal power and wind power have not been enough to meet the growing demand.

Even when power supply meets the demand, the grid distribution in Kenya leaves most of the population without electricity in their homesteads.  Estimates of the percentage of people who have access to electricity vary depending on the source, and the definition they are using of ‘access to electricity’.  The World Bank states the electrification was 23% as of 2012 (The World Bank Group, 2017) but government estimates are higher.

What is clear is that grid tied power is currently leaving millions of rural Kenyans in the dark.

Poverty is a big issue in Kenya, with 51% of the population living in absolute poverty (Chigozie, 2016), defined as lacking basic human needs long enough that it causes harm.

While it’s true that innovation and technology have found a home here, agriculture contributes 25% of Kenya’s GDP, and over 75% of that is from small-scale farming and livestock production.  Around 80% of Kenyans engage in farming activities at least part-time. (CIA, 2017)

It is clear that in order to boost the quality of life of Kenyans, it must start with agriculture and address the shortcomings of the energy industry.

Enter HiNation

HiNation is a Swedish producer of high quality solar lighting products.  HiNation entered the Kenyan market late 2016 with unique solar powered lighting solutions designed and tested for the rural Kenyan population.  The product is called “AngazaBoma” which is Swahili for ‘Light your home’.  The product is unique because it is very portable and powerful.  The solar panel is foldable and is built into a polyester case that can fit in a purse, and the power bank is pocketsize, and each of the three LED lights put out 150-230 lumens!

But this alone isn’t what is setting HiNation apart.   HiNation wants to change the lives of millions of rural Kenyans, and to do this they are partnering with local and international researchers.  HiNation is asking the question: can our high output solar lights be used to increase farm production cost-effectively?
The existing data points to yes.

There have been many studies showing the effects of photo period manipulation on livestock production.  Photo period is defined as the amount of time each day during which an organism receives light.  In animal husbandry, photoperiod manipulation has been used for many years as a means to stimulate production, and it has become a widely accepted practice in the Western world, especially in dairy production and egg production among others.

The research on photoperiod manipulation in dairy cows shows that use of long-day photo period (LDPP) increases milk production by about 15% (Meier Sandra, 2015) (Dahl, 2001)  The response is gradual and repeatable (House, 2011).  Studies have shown that the increase in milk production can range from 5%-16% but are most consistently in the 8%-10% range (House, 2011).

It has long been known that chickens respond to light in a variety of ways including growth and reproductive performance.  The value of regulating the photoperiod has been recognized for many years and is used regularly by commercial poultry farmers, especially in mid to high latitude areas where the duration of the day can vary significantly from summer to winter (UCONN, 2016).

However, there are several limitations to these studies.  Most of the studies focus on dairy cows and milk production in large barns that house dozens of cows, and a few studies additionally recorded growth of heifers (young female cow that have not borne a calf yet.)  Poultry studies on photo period manipulation are usually measuring against the seasonal changes in the natural photoperiod from regions at high latitudes where daylight decreases significantly during the winter season compared to summer season.

Additional studies focus on the economic viability of adding photoperiod manipulation capabilities to existing farms based on the yields predicted from studies measuring the production increases.

All of the studies, whether focused on dairy cows, egg-laying chickens or economic minded are from developed countries and do not take into consideration the climate or typical farming conditions found among small shareholder farmers common in the developing world.

Missing from the existing knowledge base are studies pertaining to the specific challenges facing farmers in developing countries.  Most farmers in these regions are small shareholder farmers.  The climate in tropical and equatorial regions where many developing countries are found is very different from the climate in the mid-latitudes where many developed countries are found.  Natural light varies little in equatorial regions.

The vast majority of farmers in these regions live without grid tied electricity.  The existing economic studies have not measured the costs of electricity, equipment and feed in developing countries so they have little value influencing decisions in the developing world.

HiNation has partnered with the Swedish University of Agriculture Science, a local Kenyan NGO called I Choose Life – Africa, the Bio-Intensive Training Center in Meru Kenya, and other organizations to conduct the research needed to give a definitive answer to these questions.

‘We have been working with The Swedish University of Agricultural Science for many years and we know the impact and importance of light in animal farming’ says Kristina Linhardt, CEO of HiNation.  ‘We are trying to reaching the farmers and involve them and show that it is possible to increase their incomes by using light, and at the same time get light into their homes’.

‘We have studies showing substantial increases within several areas; chicken, pig and fish farming.  Within milking it is possible to increase the liters to levels of 30-60 liters Kenyan farmers can increase their productivity with large numbers and even double it by using good light, and at the same time get light in their homes’.

As costs come down for solar lighting products this appears to be a viable opportunity for Kenyan farmers.  HiNation is working with SACCOs, Micro finance institutions to make these solar lights available on a payment plan.  At only 10,000ksh (roughly $100) the future is bright for rural Kenyan farmers.

But that’s not all.  Research has shown that there are even more far reaching benefits to having solar lights.

The most common form of lighting available to rural Kenyans is kerosene.  Kerosene smoke contains pollutants such as fine Particulate Matter (PM), Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Formaldehyde, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Sulphur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Oxides. (Climate and Clean Air Coalition, 2015).

Besides the green-house effect of these chemicals, breathing in this smoke is associated with asthma, lung cancer and acquired respiratory infections (The World Health Organization, 2016), which is the number one cause of infant mortality in Kenya (Kenya Ministry of Health, 2014).  Replacing kerosene lamps with solar lights will have a positive impact on the health of members of households.

Kerosene lamps emit 20-40 lumens of light.  This is not enough light for reading or studying without straining the eyes.  Switching to a solar light like HiNation’s gives the household useful hours of reading and studying which is directly linked to performance in school.  Reports have even shown that students with solar lights at home have increased attendance, increased motivation for school, and an increased chance of transitioning from primary school to secondary school.

The solar lights also charge mobile phones, giving the user access to information, finances and security that is currently not available.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a worldwide agenda to transform the direction of the world to a sustainable and inclusive community.  The work of HiNation has a significant impact on each of the following goals and more:
SDG 1       No poverty

SDG 2       Zero hunger

SDG 7       Affordable and clean energy

SDG 8       Decent work and economic growth

SDG 9       Industry, innovation and infrastructure

SDG 11      Sustainable cities and communities

SDG 13      Climate action

SDG 17      Partnerships for the goals


Works Cited

Chigozie, E. (2016, November 6). Poverty in Kenya: Statistics and Facts You Should Know. Retrieved from AnswersAfrica:

CIA. (2017, February 6). Kenya. Retrieved from The World Factbook:

Climate and Clean Air Coalition. (2015). Black carbon and kerosene lamps. Retrieved from

Dahl, B. G. (2001). Managing light in dairy barns for increased mil production. Beaverton: Oregon State University.

House, H. (2011). Lighting for More Milk. Ontario: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Kenya Ministry of Health. (2014, December). Health Sector Human Resources Strategy. Retrieved from Ministry of Health:

Meier Sandra, P. (2015). Effects of Long-Day Energy-Efficient Lighting on Milk Production in Dairy Operations. Ithica, NY: New York State Energy Research and Devlopment Authority.

The World Bank Group. (2017, February 6). Access to electricity. Retrieved from The World Bank Data:

The World Health Organization. (2016, February). Household air pollution and health. Retrieved from The World Health Organization:

UCONN. (2016, October 16). University of Connnecticut, Poultry Pages. Retrieved from Light and Lighting for Poultry:


Biometric School Information Management System (BioSIM4Education)
Student Enrolment Project using Unique Personal Identification

Evans Yegon
I Choose Life – Africa


The overarching goal of Kenya’s vision is to turn the country into a globally competitive and a prosperous nation by the year 2030, as enshrined in the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

To this end the government has given the education sector the right focus in terms of planning and resource allocation with the sector being allocated 6.4% of GDP within the international standards of 6%-7%.  As a result of this heavy and sustained investment the sector has attained key achievements, but despite these successes, the sector faces challenges including regional disparities in access, equity and retention; quality and relevance, weak governance and accountability; low education performance outcomes and transition, weak linkages between education and the labour market, teacher development and weak synergies between the national and county governments.

According to the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 53 (b) every child has the right to free and compulsory basic education. While Article 55 (b) every person has the right to access relevant education and training.

To address the above constitutional requirements, the Government has developed the Nationals Education Sector Plan 2013-2018, a five year Education’s sector plan (NESP) for delivering the reforms required by the Basic Education Act of 2013 among other major plans.  NESP aims to deliver quality education for Kenya’s sustainable development and to address the identified challenges with the overarching goal being Enhanced Quality Basic Education for Kenya’s Sustainable Development.  NESP clusters around four basic principles namely: inclusiveness; integrated and unified system; equitable school environment, and quality of learning.  Consistent to these four key principles, NESP has identified six priority investment areas for grouping programmes and strategies: education sector governance and accountability; access to free and compulsory basic education; education quality; equity and inclusion; relevance and social competencies and values.  All these priorities have been developed based on the recognition of current strengths, lessons learnt for Kenyan and international experiences, and making the overarching goal a reality.
The Problem:  Challenges Facing the Education


Despite the large investment in education, Kenya’s education system has significant weaknesses including:

1.      Lack of Unique Personal Identification (UPI) and reliable, timely data for effective decision making

a. Lack of real time automated systems to track the total number of learners in the education system.

b. Lack of real time data on students’ class attendance for decision making.

c. Weak systems for parent involvement and engagement in education agenda enhancement.

d. Lack of a clear system to track and trace students’ academic and extra curricula progression including radicalization.

2.      Weak teacher and school management

a. Inadequate teacher performance monitoring and management system.

b. Lack of automated quality assurance and an integrated Management Information Systems to inform decision making.

c. Lack of coordinated, real time engagement of parents and teachers in student welfare and school development.

d. Lack of an automated system to enhance parental involvement in the education of their children.

3.      Lack of automated examination management
Even in an examination oriented system, there is impersonation of students in examinations, and sitting of exams in alternate centres to improve the chance of educational advancement.


The Solution:

The Biometric Student Information Management System (BioSIM©), is a web and mobile application-based School Information Management System that addresses the above challenges by automating, simplifying, and enhancing student and school management through real time improvements to performance, quality and security.  The system provides a real time solution.

Goal:  to enhanced Governance management and accountability in education for Kenya’s sustainable development.

Specific Objectives

  1. To improve the tracking of students through setting up a Unique Personal Identification (UPI) in Kenya’s education system for reliable timely data for effective decision making.
  2. To reduce resource wastage.
  3. To strengthen teacher and school management through data for decision making.
  4. To strengthen examination management against the impersonation of students.