A few weeks back, we reported about the global competition that is empowering local communities to tackle local energy issues, moving across cities such as Ghana, Nairobi, Tanzania and Brazil.

The competition, tagged Negawatt Challenge, was organised by the World Bank Group, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Korean Green Growth Partnership. The idea behind the initiative is to transform cities into more sustainable and energy efficient places using a multi-phase open innovation methodology.

As the World Bank succinctly puts it: “the Negawatt challenge is an open-innovation competition that will leverage a variety of cities’ rich ecosystems of innovative entrepreneurs and technology hubs to surface software, hardware and new business solutions. Together, these components are capable of transforming these cities into more sustainable places”.

The programme reached a crescendo last weekend (March 21 & 22, 2015) in Nairobi, Kenya with over 70 participants in attendance, who had registered to develop solutions that would solve energy problems in their community.

“The challenge allowed the participants to code through the night as they had to finish up the prototypes by Sunday 2pm (EAT) and present them to the panel of judges. Throughout the process, the participants were guided by various coaches who advised and guided them on the best way they would develop practical solutions,” as reported by @iLabAfrica.

13 teams presented their prototypes at the end of the challenge but were later shortlisted to six teams for a second round to present their solutions to the judges. It was from these remaining six that four winners emerged.

The winners of the Nairobi weekend challenge are:

Pluglin – Winner

Watt Saver – 1st Runner Up

Angaza – 2nd Runner Up

Wezesha Huduma – 3rd Runner Up

The winners of the Nairobi challenge will go through an intense three week boot camp curriculum that includes training and coaching (online/onsite); featuring trainers and mentors selected from Nairobi and the international tech scene.

The teams will then be flown to Barcelona’s Smart City Expo Congress for D-Day to compete against other city winners (i.e. Accra, Rio de Janeiro, & Dar es Salaam) as well as online competition winners from the Climate CoLab of MIT.

Photo Credit: the past tends to disappear via Compfight cc

Olumuyiwa Coker Author

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