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Kenyan waste management firm among Orange Africa Social Venture Prize winners

A Kenyan waste management initiative, TAKACHAR, is one of the three winners of this year’s Orange Africa Social Venture Prize, Telkom Kenya, a subsidiary of French telecommunications firm-France Telcom-Orange, said Monday in Nairobi.

TAKACHAR is a waste management initiative that uses telecoms technologies to track waste collection in real time. It emerged second in the pan African competition.

The contest is a continental showcase of entrepreneurs and start ups that offer ICT based solutions to improve the lives of people living in Africa.

The first place went to Ivorian start up Vivus Limited, a project that allows for agricultural and farm produce traders to optimise their stocks by adjusting the same based on supply and demand.

Third placed Niokobok, a Senegalese e-commerce business, enables people living out of that country send basic necessities to their families back home, thus avoiding the extra cost of transferring money.

The announcement of the winners was made during the annual AfricaCom Awards ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, last week.

The three projects will walk away with 25,000 Euros (KSh. 2,625,000), 15,000 Euros (KSh. 1,575,000) and 10,000 Euros (KSh. 1,050,000) worth of prize money, as well as tailored mentorship provided by entrepreneurial and ICT experts, said Telkom Orange.

TAKACHAR is already operational and enables cooperatives to operate more efficiently by increasing the proportion of organic waste that can be transformed into charcoal.

It uses ICT to implement mobile-phone-based tracking tags to track the routes of waste-pickers in real-time, using a web-based mapping platform.

The aim of this is to map out the spatial organisation of waste management, which will help cooperatives expand their coverage areas efficiently.

The project, which has the potential of being replicated in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, has already been implemented in several slum settlements around Nairobi, where waste management is virtually non-existent, contributing to environmental/health hazards, as well as greenhouse emissions from decomposing organic waste.

TAKACHAR is made up of young individuals primarily in university in Kenya and in the United States, keen on environmental preservation and community development. TAKACHAR’S social impact includes tripling the income of cooperative groupings, managing 20 tonnes per week of organic waste, mitigating 8 tonnes per day of equivalent greenhouse emissions, as well as saving 700 trees a year.

Forty five of the 437 entries submitted to the Orange Africa Social Venture Prize that is now in its second year were from Kenya; the second highest number of applications from an individual country.

This translates to slightly over 10 percent of the total entries, that are drawn primarily from the 18 Orange affiliates in Africa.

Two other Kenyan projects also made it to the initial shortlist: Njorku Kenya, a job search engine for those seeking to be employed in Kenya and Sasa Africa, an e-commerce platform that enables craftswomen to engage more effectively with a global customer base.

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