JA Kenya Launches Social Innovation Relay Competition

On the 4th of March 2023, JA Kenya launched the Social Innovation Relay Competition for high school students in collaboration with NCBA Bank. The event took place at the University of Nairobi, Taifa Hall, and it was attended by over 600 high school students from more than 30 schools in Nairobi and its environs, along with representatives from NCBA Bank Kenya, the Project Management Institute Kenya chapter and JA Alumni.

The Social Innovation Relay(SIR) is a competition that gives startup students an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial thinking and engage in a contest with other startups. Junior Achievement Kenya has partnered with NCBA (then NIC Bank) since 2016 in the SIR Program and has since reached more than 13,000 students across 115 secondary schools in collaboration with 12 private sector partners. The program is made for high school startups a chance to compete in the global arena.

The program aims to provide high school students with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue their interests and achieve their goals. “We are excited to launch this program and help prepare the next generation of leaders,” said James Mahondo, Program Manager at JA Kenya.

The keynote speech, which was delivered by Ms. Caroline Wangari on behalf of the NCBA Group Director of Marketing, Communication, and Citizenship, Ms. Nelly Wainaina. She addressed the students and shared her experience of using innovation to solve social problems. She said, “We believe that every student has the potential to achieve great things, and we want to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.”

The event featured a series of activities, including a trivia session where students were able to play against each other and engage with each other in answering questions that are related to the Sustainable Development Goals. The other students also cheered their schools on.

“We are thrilled to partner with Junior Achievement (JA) Kenya on this important initiative,” said Jacklyn Makanda from Project Management Institute Kenya chapter.  

The competition brings together experienced business mentors and students to advance real-world social problem-solving in their local communities and beyond. JA Kenya alumni were well represented at the event and took to the stage to speak to the students on the journey with the program in the previous years and their current careers, to motivate them to do better.

This year the SIR competition will run under the theme “Breaking Barriers”. This theme encourages students to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to obstacles or challenges that they may face in their communities or in the world.

The theme highlights the need for change and innovation to overcome social, economic, and environmental challenges that exist in the world. It encourages young people to think outside the box and find creative solutions to the issues that affect their communities.

Overall, the launch event was a huge success, and it set the tone for an exciting competition. The students were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the event, and the partners’ support was crucial in creating an environment that fosters innovation and creativity.

The launch event ended with a JA Kenya Program Manager taking the students through the Ideation Process, which was an interactive session that enabled the students to answer and ask questions in preparation for the competition.

The program is open to all high school students in the country and will be offered through the Junior Achievement Clubs in the respective schools. Interested students and educators can learn more about the program and how to get involved by visiting the JA Kenya website.

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