Last chance to join weather information competition

CIP Prize manager at Cardno Emerging Markets, Nicki Spence.
CIP Prize manager at Cardno Emerging Markets, Nicki Spence.

THE UKAid and Kenya Meteorological Services have partnered to create a competition to reward top weather and climate information business ideas among Kenyan communities.

Titled the Climate Information Prize, the programme will award the best 15 submissions that outline a business idea using weather and climate information, to develop a solution that will help the vulnerable adapt to climate variability and change.

According to CIP Prize manager at Cardno Emerging Markets, Nicki Spence, a lot of weather and climate information is readily available but not in formats that communities can easily understand and make use of.

“The weather and climate can have adverse effects on individuals and communities, especially where livelihoods are based on weather dependent resources. Winning ideas will put poor individuals and households in control and enable them to access the information they need in order to better tackle climate uncertainty and risk,” she says adding that by awarding cash prizes, the CIP is aiming at encouraging the design and development of such ideas.

Says Spence: "In this context, 'climate information' can include any information on average and extreme conditions of temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture and humidity, whether obtained from local or scientific sources. For the purposes of this prize, it includes short-term weather-related information as well as information covering periods of months, seasons and years"

The CIP has been developed to include two types of prizes namely Wazo (ideas) and Tekeleza (implementation). The former will award cash prizes with a particular focus on the recognition, showcasing, and publicity of novel ideas using climate information.

“All applicants must specify the community (or communities) with which they propose to work in Kenya and each submission must contain only one business idea. There are clear terms and conditions that all applicants must adhere by. All submissions will be online and there is a verification process. To apply, you will need to submit your idea through our website,” she explains.

Spence adds that an independent judging panel consisting of industry experts has been mandated to take charge of the process.

The winners will be announced at an award gala event to be held in Nairobi in March this year. Apart from receiving a global and national recognition, winners will receive cash prizes amounting to Sh9 million, with a maximum individual prize of US$15,000 (Sh1.53 million).

They will also have an opportunity to present their ideas to investors at the event and a chance to network with other peers and investors for further funding. Submissions deadline is February 7.

On the other hand, Tekeleza will be the main award of the prize programme and will be awarded to the best applicants who have implemented their ideas on-the-ground over several years, and who can demonstrate the highest impact across a number of indicators.

“Research and development is changing. The Internet now provides boundless opportunities for posting problems to wide audiences, dramatically increasing the rate of problem resolution and opening up fields of endeavour to new participants from unexpected sources. Innovation prizes build on open innovation principles incentivising participation and helping capture the imagination of communities. At CIP, we hope that as an innovation prize, we will catalyse advances in environmental technologies for the benefit of the vulnerable,” she adds.

Submissions for the competition will be accepted by individuals or organisations, where applicants may be international, national, or local/community-based but must have a bank account to take part. However, no government organisation (at state or county level) will be illegible to participate.