Microsoft and the Kenya ICT Board have partnered to train 200 students from various universities and colleges on how to innovate, collaborate and support each other using technology to make a difference in their communities.
The ‘Innovate for Good’ program is under the Microsoft YouthSpark Initiative that empowers young people interested in social innovation and social entrepreneurship to turn ideas into reality by taking them through a set of training and activities.
In Kenya, the Innovate for Good program will focus on developing innovative solutions around education, health, water and county development.
“The Innovate for Good program will collaborate with the Kenya Open Data Initiative to help the youth identify existing problem areas and the associated public data, then use this information to develop solutions that positively impact their communities. Whether their interest is in volunteering, working at a nonprofit, or starting their own venture, we will support them to move their ideas forward,” said Jeffery Avina, Citizenship Director Microsoft Middle East and Africa.
Avina added that the training will lead to constructive engagement between the youth and other stakeholders including the Government which in turn spur innovation.
The two-day forum held at KICC has two broad tracks. On the first day (yesterday), the focus was on developer track while day two will focus on non-techie students drawn from a pool of existing Microsoft Students Partners, Dream Spark beneficiaries, past Imagine Cup competitors, AIESEC and Microsoft YouthSpark recipients from various colleges and universities.
The developer track sought to encourage local developers to build applications on the Windows 8 platform that can be published in both the Microsoft store as well as the open data portal. Kenyan developers can now easily build, submit and sell their apps through the Windows store with favorable economic terms.
The non-technical youth track focused on identifying outstanding ideas in the areas of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. The youth whose ideas will be selected will have an opportunity to attend an online course for 9-10 weeks to help them turn their ideas into reality and prepare them for the application for seed funding.