SANKORE PCT — Nairobi Edition Winners

Kelly Kigan
February 4, 2022

The Nairobi Pitch Competition Tour was an exciting affair that happened on 29th January 2022. 10 projects were pitched by different contenders, each offering solutions to Kenyan based challenges that can be built on blockchain and NEAR Protocol. Truth is, all the projects were brilliant and viable, and even the judges had a hard time settling on the best projects that qualified for Sankore’s incubation program. Out of the 10 projects, three qualified for Sankore’s incubation program. The three projects satisfactorily checked all the boxes needed to secure the incubation.

Related: SANKORE PCT: The Contenders

Kilimo Shwari

Patrick Wendo learnt about Sankore from one of his friends in the tech spaces. He took interest in the organization and visited a Web developers function organized by Sankore at iHub. He just completed his university education at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and is waiting to graduate. Mr Wendo learnt about the PCT when Sankore visited JKUAT for activations regarding the competition.

Patrick (In White) and Event Lead Alex Matu

Patrick took the judges and audience through a story of the typical frustrated small scale Kenyan farmer, and thereafter offered a solution that could transform the experience of the Kenyan farmer. Bad weather, for example, late and poorly distributed rains, lead to extreme losses for small scale Kenyan farmers. Unexpected calamities such as the recent locust invasion in Kenya further add salt to injury to the Kenyan farmers¹. Patrick proposed an on-chain insurance program to shield small-scale Kenyan farmers from such unfortunate incidences. Mr Wendo identifies a gap in the traditional insurance programs where there is huge mistrust between insurers and clients. This is not only in the agricultural sector but is reflected in other fields including health care and motor insurance.

Patrick’s project will register farmers on the NEAR platform, where they can buy policies, all of which would be stored on-chain. In case of any unfortunate incidences, Smart Contracts will facilitate compensation. The farmers would have prior knowledge of the season through machine learning and AI incorporated in the system.

Patrick is no stranger to blockchain, as he built his final year project on the technology.

“The project I did in Uni was built on solidity for the Ethereum blockchain. My former supervisor is a blockchain expert and she introduced me to the technology when I was in the third year.”

When not coding, Patrick will be whooping your ass in one of those console games.

Smartfarm Kenya Agricultural Project

The Trinity — Georgia, Lenny, and Fanuel

Georgia, Lenny and Fanuel also focused their blockchain solution to resolve agricultural problems. The three learnt about Sankore and the PCT through Sankore’s Twitter and Instagram pages, and also, activations conducted in their school campus, JKUAT. Georgia stated that they were not well acquainted with blockchain and NEAR Protocol before Sankore visited their campus for an activation. Following a detailed explanation of blockchain and NEAR Protocol, the trio was transformed into overnight blockchain and NEAR ambassadors, with their project set to be built on the two technologies.

“We did not know about Blockchain and NEAR Protocol until we met Kevin, CEO of Sankore. He explained to us about the technologies in the simplest way and we became ambassadors of the technologies overnight.”
Sankore CEO, Kevin Imani

The triad forms the LC solutions and created the Smartfarm Kenya Agricultural project. Their project highlighted the limited irrigation space in Kenya, which stands at a mere 7%². This gets worse because of delayed and unreliable rainfall, which leads to extreme losses, particularly for small scale farmers who lack the financial resources to irrigate their farms. The project further seeks to achieve the goals of efficiency in farming by developing smart systems to minimize input and maximize output. The other goal is to use AI to obtain critical data on seasons and consequently offer insights to farmers to help them achieve the best farming results.

The team outsources financial and agricultural advice from external players, making their entity holistic and well oriented. When not making agricultural solutions for Kenyan farmers, the three upskill through listening to tech podcasts and reading. They go for bike rides where they brainstorm more ideas for their projects. Georgia is a movie junkie who disapproves DC content but loves Marvel productions.

Ledja

Tyson Onyango and Dorcus Rahab graced the stage, pitching at number six with their project Ledja. The duo work with Godwin Olingo, who manages the project and is a UX/UI designer, with skills in Java, Python and Machine Learning. Tyson on the other hand is a Data Analyst, with experience in Linux, Python, Stata and SQL. Dorcus is a brilliant corporate marketer, who has specialized in digital marketing, biosystems and bioinformatics. Godwin learnt about Sankore and the competition through an Instagram post made by the organization. He didn’t make much of the post the first time he came across it, but he later reviewed the post and mobilized the team to take part in the competition.

Hitting the nail on its head, Dorcus kicked off the presentation pointing out the problem of fake documentation in Kenya and Africa at large³. Sadly, the leaders of the nation have fake documentation, pointing out the reality that Kenya and Africa are being headed by incompetent individuals. The project seeks to liaise with higher learning institutions in Kenya, to get genuine documentation of their learners and initiate document digitization using NEAR Protocol for faster, safer and secure document verification.

Godwin has done a great job in maintaining the team and handling tech projects for their clients. The initial co-founders; Godwin, Tyson and Dorcus work together with four other consultants, who handle their accounts, legal and branding matters. This ensures seamless operations of systems in the company.

“The three of us (Godwin, Tyson and Dorcus) are the initial cofounders, but we work with a team of consultants. We have a team working on the company’s legal aspect. There is an accounting consultancy handling our bookkeeping and a branding team that brings Ledja to life.”

Ledja is currently involved with Kenyan public universities, to initiate the document verification process, and help rid the country of the problem of fake documentation.

Godwin is an avid reader, who loves World Affairs books. He rebuilds jalopies when not coding.

References

[1]. From locusts to cyclones: The human cost of interlinked disasters. (United Nations, September 2021).

[2]. Kenya — Total area equipped for irrigation. (Knoema, 2019).

[3]. Kenya: Why Fake Academic Papers Continue to Be ‘Hot Cake’ (Daily Nation, June 2021).

*Editor’s note

Sankore 2.0 is an Africa-focused community integrating the NEAR blockchain with projects and solutions conceived and built by local developers in Kenya. As noted in the content of this blog, Sankore 2.0 seeks to promote the development of Web3 products in Nairobi — for Kenya and for Africa as a whole

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