Micro-insurance and Micro-Finance cover the same type of people. The conventional market for insurance is people who have money. They are basically trying to sell a promise to their customer. Close to 50 insurance companies and their low market penetration was what challenged Elvis Ackel to open Kenya’s first Micro-insurance company(Citadel). The main question was how to expand the insurance market.

Citadel targets the UN-insured but insurable person/people. The people that live between 300 to 500 Kenya shillings a day. “This is a very risky venture” as Elvis describes it. Being a social entrepreneur in the insurance market he mainly seeks to

  • build knowledge
  • build capacity and
  • build awareness

The low income earners/Bottom of the pyramid are much more aware than the guy who sits in the office. The Insurance Regulatory Authority act on Micro insurance was basically made with this market segment in mind with the help of the Elvis.




Kennedy Wariua and a Colleague from IBM
Kennedy Wariua and a Colleague from IBM

KENNEDY WARIUA (IBM Kenyan leader, Ecosystems development) gave a very insightful talk at the University of Nairobi today talking about his life, career and being an entrepreneur. The session was meant for computer science students and the start-ups being incubated at the C4DLab innovation centre. . The call from Kennedy to this audince doesnt come as a surprise since he is very fond of technology and likes working with innovative minds. The session went down at the Code For Development(C4DLab/Phd Lab) at the School of Computing and Informatics.

I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship” He started. By 1994,” I had started doing my first Job” he continued.” there were no same opportunities as there are now, “he said. “The difference was the level of exposure to technolog”.

a student at the session
a student at the session

In that year, Kennedy started working at a shop at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport. He was supposed to go to started bachelor of Arts at Kenyatta University at the time but opted to go to employment since he was not into the arts but into tech. With a small monthly salary of 3,000/= Kenya shillings and siblings defendant on him, he had to supplement it. He started buying rice in bulk and selling to his colleagues at the airport at a profit. within a short time the venture was earning him more money than his job. He worked at the shop for 5 years.

By 2000, Kennedy had found a new place at KenCell communications Limited(Currently Airtel Kenya). He joined the telecommunications company when it was testing the market and still new. He worked there for 8years. During this period, he was also doing private studies online. He eventually graduated with a bachelors degree from Kenya Methodist University(K.E.M.U.).


He later joined Yu Mobile by Essar which was also starting its operations in Kenya at the time. He stilled worked at the technical and IT department as he did at KenCell. He worked there for 3years before joining the IBM team.

IBM has invested billions to transform Africa” he continued. One of the reasons for this investment is to help de-congest the Nairobi city under their vision for a smarter planet. The main point of the talk was to help the students realize that to work better with IBM, they needed to align their goals with those of creating a smarter planet.

Finally, he urged the students to tryout their Global entrepreneur program. He pointed out the success of MODE(mobile decision) a Kenyan start-up that won the 2012 global IBM SmartCamp and through their program and mentorship is now available in 17 countries.





By Neville Mugambi

Photos by: @MADEKarubiu



Lethalsmallz(A Kenyan Artsit) is going solo after launching his album Common Mwanainch. He has featured artists like Benadi, Wakesho, Kimya(Bamboos brother), Kev mamba, Kimathi, Charles Ouda, Ananda(an upcoming raga sensation), Wira, Buju Razor, Phonez, Judge and Dez 32. The album was compiled from various recording studios. These include G-ganji records, Kusini records and A-world.

The album is a contemporary Hip-hop album with a Kenyan feel to it. The lead track in the album which is also called common mwanainch is a collaboration with Kimya and the music video is also out. You can get to watch the video on YouTube.

Here is the full list of the album:

We Here Now

Rome Ft MnM

Usijaribu ft Benady

Call On You Ft Wakesho

Life  Ft Buju Razor

Common Mwananchi Ft Kimya

Celebrate  Ft Ananda

Lethal Love

Fungua Macho Ft Judge


Praise God


Nataka Kudoz

Hold it Down ft Benady & Charli

On Toes Ft Ananda  DEZ 32 Kev Mamba & Flamez

Abdouba Dida (Star)

Life Of An Artiste (L.O.A)

Vile Inafaa ft Benady

Many Mcs Ft Judge

By Trevor Makamu
The album has 19 tracks. Most of the music enthusiasts I have interacted with are of the opinion that in Kenya, to make it as an artist one still has no option but to compile an album first. The success of the Washamba Wenza crew is visible in Nairobi. The crew currently organize an event called Hip-hop hookup at the famous Sarakasi Dome every month.


iHUB hardware device known as brck
iHUB hardware device known as brck

what happens at the silicon savannah? what else is Kenya known for except for M-pesa? who is taking advantage of the mobile device market in Kenya?… These are some of the questions that were lingering in  mind some time back. There was a very thin line between mobile innovation, start-ups and technology. Wait until iHUB came along in 2010. Their success stories in the recent past include Ushahidi ( kopokopo( These projects and their massive number of techies at their premise have enabled iHUB to be one of the leading innovation centers in East and Central Africa.

BRCK (, which is their latest project is a bit different form the iHUB caliber. This is a state of the art hardware that interestingly looks like a small construction brick. Thus the name BRCK.

The hardware is said to be able to offer WIFI connectivity for mobile devices without requiring to be powered by electricity. Its target market, in my opinion is the tourists who come to Kenya not knowing that internet connectivity is a luxury in East Africa. The BRCK devices doubles up as a router, gateway and modem. For more specifications on the devices follow

iHUB founder with his brck device
iHUB founder with his brck device

Many African countries have already beat Kenya to chase being able to make their own mobile phone brands and tablets, even laptop brands. None of these has been innovation but a way to take advantage of the cheap production costs in China. Maybe this could be one of those products that will take the market by storm like Mobile money’s M-pesa or it would not. But the main point to put across to world is that, Kenya is not sleeping in terms of innovation.

By Neville Mugambi.

photos courtesy: and



‘I thought he would change ‘…  That is was the first word from Naomi’s lips,  when she told me to write an elaborate piece of her story for publication. with a shrunken emotional side eyes I could trace the invisible pain from that expression,  I met Naomi in Kampala Uganda  I was on a friend house warming party,  I was working on different media blogging projects in Kampala through a friend’s connection to a certain magazine house,.
“why women stay with abusive partners”
… “Domestic violence is incredibly complex.  those who haven’t
experienced it first-hand always say,  ‘why didn’t you just leave?’  ” There’s no simple answer to that question. But in my case, my case my first husband made me believe that I couldn’t survive without him.
“I was 17 when I met Ezra.  He was 32 and a manager at the local radio station.  Getting attention from this grown-up,  Charismatic, successful man was flattering.  Within a year,  we were engaged.
” with hindsight,  I can see how he used his maturity to assert control over me. Because he was older, he knew best about everything.
“my parents didn’t approve of the age gap, but I was a headstrong teenager who wasn’t about to do.
” The physical violence didnt start right away. What I didn’t realize that I was being subjected to a subtle campaign of emotional abuse.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s like a dripping tap,  wearing down your confidence and self worth until everything is stripped away and you’re incapable of standing on your own feet.
“Ezra was moody and bad tempered, and it was always my fault. I was constantly walking on eggshells and apologizing for my wrong doings even when I didn’t know they were.”

no way out
“One evening I told him I was thinking of getting a part time job.  Having finished school I wanted to do something worthwhile and earn my money.
“This did not go down well.  he said I was being selfish and shortsighted,  that I should be supporting him and his needs.  How was I do that if I was to take a petty job as an office messenger girl?
”  I was dragged pushed and slapped.  Any object to hand was thrown and smashed.  My instinct was to leave but I was cornered at the door.  ‘Leave this house,’ he said,  ‘and I’ll take a knife to the dog.’
” The day after the first attack,  I was meant to go wedding – dress shopping with my mum.  I fed her with an excuse and stayed at home.
” I didn’t have the excuse and stayed at home. “I didn’t have the strength to pull out of the perfect traditional wedding that was being organized for us from the buganda Kingdom.  I felt like it was too late to admit I’d made a mistake.
” we married in 1986 (omg I wasn’t born by then I made a joke haha)  she was 19. ” Like most victims,  I soldiered on, hoping life would get better.  But the abuse continued.  Pinches,  punches ands slaps.  A kick in the back or a bucket of water to get me out of bed.”
“He tore stripped off everything ~my intelligence, my efficiency as a wife, my appearance and even my ability in the bedroom.  He threatened to burn my livestock,  to reveal my father’s love life to the papers or ruin his business.  He callously picked on all that was precious to me.
“Our house bore the scars of violence – a cracked fireplace,  broken plaster,  ruined wallpaper.  He ruined countless ornaments, gifts and heirlooms.  I stopped having people over,  especially my family.  I didn’t want them asking questions I was too ashamed to answer.

“Ezra eventually allowed me to get a job at the radio station he was on management team. Now he was the boss at work and as well as at home. ” I don’t believe any of my colleagues had the first idea what was going on.  There were never any bruises that they could see, but putting on a brave face at work was physically and mentally exhausting.
” It was living two lives – one under a big black cloud no one else could see.  The happy, strong-willed,  confident young woman I once was had slowly been destroyed.  I felt incredibly alone.
” I was cut off from my parents and sister.  They sensed I was unhappy but had no idea about the abuse.
” I walked out of him once,  but it only took one phone call to coax me back. ‘ I’m sorry’,  he said.  ‘I need you’,
“Victims go back because women want to see their abuser’s good side and make it work.  We want to believe them when they say,  I shouldn’t have done that.  I love you and I want to make this right. ‘we cling to the hope that they will change,  that we haven’t made a mistake sticking by them that one day we we’ll be happy.  But there is rarely a happy ending.
“In the end,  after five years together,  Ezra left me.  I was devastated and,  despite everything, I was the one begging him to stay –  an example of the hold he had over me.”

“BUT despite having an overwhelming fear of being alone, I didn’t fall to pieces. I found a fantastic lawyer to assist with the divorce.  He me write down everything,  which enabled me to confront what I’d been through.
“To finally open up was immense relief. I no longer had to carry this shameful secret around with me. My family and friends came back into my life and my confidence soon followed. My life started the day Ezra left.

” a lot of women who have suffered domestic violence will tell you that the mental and emotional abuse is far more damaging and difficult to recover from. I believe that after five years with Ezra, it took me another 8 years to recover.

” It wasn’t until I met my wonderful husband Jim in 1997 that I really got over the anger and the desire for revenge. We have three kids Zara nine, Zach six and zuri three.
Now I am a mum,  I can only imagine what I put my worried parents through.
” I was so deep that I couldn’t admit I’d married a monster.  You don’t have to put your hands up and say your marriage was a mistake.
I don’t enjoy reliving this part of my life. But if by talking about it I can give one woman hope or the strength to pick up the phone and get help, then it’s worth it “.

Naomi is working with a publisher friend of mine now in Kampala Uganda.

By: Paul Masidza, ( Bungoma.



Most Kenyans probably have not heard about FabLab UoN and the activities that go on there. It is a place where electrical and mechanical engineering enthusiasts are abundant. Though even most of the undergraduate students in Kenya taking these courses have no idea of the services it offers. I asked one a random engineering student this week whether they new what goes on in the lab. They told me that they have free WIFI. That was correct but it dint hit the student that this is just one of their hands on projects.

The success of the projects in the lab have led to them winning the Best Innovation center award from Transform Kenya. The award was humbly recieved by Dr. Kamau Gachigi(Director) on 20/7/2014. Their greatest asset is the fabrication resources that they have in their laboratory. From 3D printers to laser gagdets. Here is the Fabrication Laboratory breakdown that has its roots from MIT(Massachusetts institute of technology)

What is the Fab Lab?

The Fab Lab is basically a collection of tools and equipment that leverage the power of Digital Fabrication Techniques in the hands of the average innovative mind.

Fab labs share core capabilities so that projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:

-A computer-controlled laser-cutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts

-A larger (4′x8′) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture- (and house-) sized parts

-A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas

-A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make three-dimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards

-Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors

These work with components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a fab lab being able to make a fab lab.

Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow’s personal fabricators.

Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway, and now Kenya. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.

source: courtesy

By Neville Mugambi.