Launching the Design Hackathon Roadshow in  Kenya

Garage48 is back in Kenya - to empower local-inspired talents in design thinking, digital design and prototyping skills. During September, we’ll be having three Garage48 design hackathons across the country. We want to help the participants to prepare for the #euafricathejourney 2021 online hackathon programme, who are eager to develop solutions to the challenges of local and global socio-economic issues.

Design Hackathon Kenya series is organized as a part of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and in partnership with Pangea Accelerator, Ibiz Africa and Strathmore University in Nairobi, Lakehub in Kisumu and Swahilipot HUB in Mombasa. The hackathons would not be happening without our local partners - the support organizations and drivers of the fast-growing startup and ICT sector in Kenya, who have been warmly welcoming us to continue collaboration with the local ecosystem that we started already in August.

The #euafricathejourney Empowering the Startup Community Workshop on August 19-20th brought together over 25 startup ecosystem support organizations from East Africa to build stronger connections and a more seamless network empowering the fast growth of the ICT sector in the region. We’re excited to see how the design hackathon series will develop the collaboration further.

First stop - Nairobi

The series started off on the 7th -10th of September in the entrepreneurial hub of East Africa and the capital of Kenya - Nairobi. A young and fast-growing city, Nairobi is estimated to reach a population of 5 million by 2025. With the fast growth, the economy has not yet caught up, resulting in various challenges in the urban setting in Kenya.

Sunset view to Nairobi Upper Hill region from Strathmore University terrace.

The participants of the design hackathon in Nairobi reflected the metropolitan character and the challenges the city faces in the problems they presented during the pitching of the ideas. With the average age between twenties and thirties, passionate about the design, digital solutions and making an impact through tackling the socio-economic challenges in Kenya and beyond, the participants made their ideas heard - loud and clear.

These young individuals came up with ideas on how to

  • fundraise for young politicians, so that they would be able to run for office,

  • bring university education closer to actual needs on the job market,

  • translate text to sign language for deaf people,

  • clean up the streets from garbage and provide job opportunities,

  • offer 1-on-1 physical coaching and specialized training,

  • stop farmers from losing money due to fluctuating vendor prices,

  • help farmers better plan and increase their food production,

  • secure a quality print for your merchandise,

  • assist researchers in writing papers to give them more time in laboratories,

  • order, pay for and review informal jobs such as house cleaning,

  • order online health & wellness products.

Six teams were formed around the most compelling ideas that in the course of the 4-day workshop and the Garage48 hackathon structure were built into design prototypes of the digital product or service.

Agriment connects farmers and food suppliers in one central platform to cater the increasing food demand and make food production more efficient in emerging markets.

Team: Bonface Nyalwal, Stephen Darunga, Jesca Ochieng, Leanne Munyori, Edward Hinga.

NGAO is an e-sports application for getting more people in Kenya into e-sports and brings together gamers, investors and is building a community around it.


Team: Loise, Adonijah, John.

SHIRIKI platform empowers African artists by showcasing African art to the world and providing additional revenue streams to the artists.

Team: Kevin Kachapin, Graham Eric, Antony Mathu, Dave Mwangi, Victor Kenneth.

tai - assessment reimagined uses AI for exams evaluations in order to lessen the workload of overwhelmed teachers.

Team: Valerie, Alex, Duncan, Watson, Zidane

Tujimind is an easy-to-use online platform that provides affordable mental health solutions.

Team: Steve Wallah

Wash Wash mobile application connects laundry service providers for the user -  centrally.

Team: Caroline Njuguna, Yvonne Katama, Mary Apondi, Jay Dwayne, Gilbert Mghana.

#euafricathejourney- not just a hackathon

Design Hackathons in Kenya are part of the EU: Africa The Journey 2021 edition, an African-European online hackathon program, which brings together the brightest minds on both continents and helps them create solutions that would boost the continent's digitalisation and solve some of the socioeconomic issues.

The teams that have participated in the design hackathons will get a straight pass to the #euafricathejourney 2021 edition, where they will compete for a 100 000€ prize fund and a chance to continue in the 2-month long acceleration program.
Register now!

For us at Garage48 team, for the local partner and the participants, it was the first on-site event we have had in a year and a half. The uniqueness of this gathering was even further amplified by the unexpected visit of our beloved president of Estonia - Mrs Kersti Kaljulaid. The president visited our hackathon after she had officially launched the collaboration between TalTech and Strathmore University in e-Governance and joined the High-Level Think-Tank meeting on Sustainability for e-Governance in Kenya.

We love our president and we’re amazed at her inspiration and support for entrepreneurial individuals and startups! Thank you for this visit and for your wise words.

President Kersti Kaljulaid welcoming the hackathon participants during her state visit to Kenya.

48 hours have expanded
The Design Hackathon Kenya is a 4-day design sprint combined with Garage48 hackathon structure. Meaning, that we're putting together the bulletproof Garage48 hackathon format with the strongest elements of design thinking, digital design, user experience, branding and prototyping knowledge sharing to deliver an extended hackathon to best fit the needs of the participants attending the event.  Our crew of volunteer mentors - Jaanus Sakkis, Jaanus Jagomägi and Gerardo Garcia Diaz are making sure it results as a success.

Garage48 crew is ready to kick off the Design Hackathon in Nairobi.

Next stops- Kisumu, Mombasa and Kampala

As you’re reading this blog, we’re closing our second design hackathon in the series in Kisumu, with a majority of female participants taking on harsh challenges in the third biggest city in Kenya and the rural areas surrounding it.

Design Hackathon Kisumu participants in the draw-and-test workshop. 

Next up - Mombasa at the end of September!

After that we’re heading back to Kampala in Uganda from where we took our last flight back to Estonia before the world locked down, to kickstart the virtual hackathon format and lead us all to the #euafricathejourney online hackathon programme.

Join the journey via LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and our webpage.

REGISTER to the EU: Africa the Journey 2021 online hackathon.

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The program is organized in collaboration and with the financing of the Estonia Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation.

The design hackathons are organized in partnership with Pangea Accelerator in Nairobi, Lakehub in Kisumu and Swahilipot Hub in Mombasa.

About the author

kadri tiisvelt

Kadri is the COO of Garage48 with years of experience as a hackathon organizer and community builder. She loves to create and bring together supportive environments for starting entrepreneurs who wish to make their ideas into valuable services and products. 🌸

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