Maarifa kona making strides

Published June 28, 2018 by Nicholas Gathu Njoroge

The Maarifa kona project team and innovators pose for a group picture at the end of day two of the bootcamp June 11th, Nairobi Kenya


We took our first steps in September 2017 with the goal of engaging communities meaningfully in the exploration and development of responsive and impactful innovations, which would build the resilience and adequately prepare communities that have long endured the ravages of drought in Kenya. This was indeed an exciting undertaking for the Maarifa Kona team but not without its fair share of fears and challenges, which naturally accompany novel ideas and unchartered waters. Maarifa Kona is the localized reference for the Kenya Innovation Labs established under the Disaster and Emergencies Preparedness Program (DEPP).

We have made gains in the last few months; picking up momentum with key outcomes from our ground work. In the month of April to May 2018, we successfully held the Call for Ideas in the Counties of Marsabit and Garissa. We were overwhelmed with the submission of 236 community ideas from numerous groups and individuals. Maarifa kona is centered on a community-driven approach that heavily invests in community consultations and feedback as it engagement strategy. In this regard, we went back to the communities to involve them in the selection of the final 22 ideas (11 from each lab) that moved into the research and concept development stage of the programme.

Innovators share insights as part knowledge exchange and cross-learning at the bootcamp.


On 11th – 12th June 2018, the shortlisted 22 innovators from Marsabit and Garissa were hosted to a two-day boot camp at the Kenya Comfort Hotel, Nairobi. This platform enabled this diverse group of innovators to learn more about the Maarifa Kona innovation process and refine their ideas from the knowledge exchange. Additionally, the innovators also had a chance to interact with a network of mentors from iHub, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Kenyatta University and the Council of Governors. The intense two-day sessions drew out great insights that will inform the upcoming series of activities anticipated in the next nine months of the programme. We look forward to birthing a series of scalable community-driven innovations that will locally steer the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the commitments enshrined under the Grand Bargain.