On November 29th, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, we announced the seven winners of the Tekeleza Prize. We awarded these organisations over USD $500,000 in cash prizes for their innovative solutions that have helped vulnerable communities mitigate against climate change risks.
The Tekeleza Prize is the last stage of the Climate Information Prize (CIP), which is part of the UK Aid funded Ideas to Impact programme delivered by an IMC-led consortium. CIP was launched in September 2015 to encourage, through financial incentives, the development of solutions that make climate information easier to access and use by Kenya’s farmers. Accessing climate information, related to days and weeks as well as longer-term periods, helps them make better informed farming decisions and adapt to climate change and variability.
Out of 40 applicants, we selected 29 to participate in the competition and implement their proposed initiatives. These range from short message services and software applications that relay climate information through to face-to-face training and use of local structures, especially targeting communities with limited access to technology.
‘The winning innovations reached a certain number of beneficiaries during the prize period, and winners showed evidence of how their initiative had benefited their target community – in particular marginalised groups such as youth, elderly and persons with disabilities.’
– CIP Prize Manager Nicki Spence
On assessing the progress and impact these initiatives made in helping target communities access climate information, nine applicants emerged as finalists and were subjected to live judging to determine the seven winners.
The first prize of USD 200, 000 went to the Last Mile Connectivity through Agro-dealers Franchise Model, Village Youth Agents and Mobile Technology by Farmers Pride. This initiative provides smallholder farmers and agro-dealers in 10 Kenya’s counties with timely and relevant quality farm inputs, services and climate information at affordable prices. This is done through a comprehensive and innovative franchise model of agro-dealers. Farmers Pride also trains farmers on conservation agriculture and how to mitigate risks associated with climate change.
Climate Smart Agriculture by Ukulima Tech was awarded the second prize of USD 75,000. This initiative seeks to enable target communities to adapt and build resilience to climate change through the use of a mobile application that provides climate data. This enables communities to choose when best to plant and which crops and varieties, which improves their harvest.
The third prize of USD 75,000 went to SmartAg by SmartAg Limited. The initiative uses web and mobile technologies to provide real-time weather and agronomic data to agriculture field officers, farmers and agricultural retailers. This helps them make decisions to mitigate against risks posed by erratic weather patterns.
Akiporoo (in Turkana language, Smart Weather Community) received the fourth prize of USD 50,000. Through face-to-face meetings and the use of local structures, Akiporoo provides nomads and agro-pastoralists in Turkana, Kenya’s northwesternmost county, with context-specific, timely and reliable weather forecasts. It also provides livelihoods advisory to help them mitigate against disaster risks.
The following three runners-up were each awarded USD 35,000 for their initiatives:
Weather and Climate Change Solution for Smallholder Farmers by Cosdep self-help group, which uses mobile phones and tailored radio programmes to relay real-time weather and climate information.
Sustainable Organic Farming and Development Initiative (SOFDI), which relies on existing farmer level structures as frameworks to increase access to and use of climate information.
LandInfo Mobile App, a community-driven mobile technology initiative that provides users with accurate, real-time access to climate and soil information.
Optimism for the future
Upon receiving their prizes, the winners expressed optimism that the cash prizes would enable them to further develop and expand their innovations to reach more communities and hoped they could attract investments to ensure sustainability. They urged the Kenya Meteorological Department to partner with them to deliver climate information to communities to help them deal with the challenges of climate change.
While presiding over the award ceremony, Acting Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) Stella Aura noted that the innovators are playing a critical role in enabling the vulnerable to access and use climate information to take adaptive measures and build resilient and sustainable livelihoods. She also encouraged the winners to use the cash awards to refine their innovations to further enhance access and use of climate information by vulnerable communities. On behalf of KMD, she committed to continuing the partnerships with the innovators to expand communities’ access to climate information.
‘Availing financing for these innovations will enable the winners to build their innovations, expand their scope to reach more communities and more importantly, work towards their sustainability.’
– Stella Aura, Acting Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department
The award of the Tekeleza Prize marks the end of the Climate Information Prize series, which already awarded the Wazo Prize in April 2016 and the Tambua Prize in November 2016.