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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set out an ambitious agenda for global development for the next fifteen years, leading up to 2030. As Africa moves from the commitment phase to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for illustrations of hands-on, practical innovation takes center stage.  MK-Africa is a marketing and sustainability consulting firm dedicated to helping companies connect their brand success to social good.  The goal is to inspire, engage and equip business and brand leaders embed environmental and social innovation into the heart of their business.

In 2017, MK-Africa launched the #MyLittleBigThing Universities Sustainability Innovation Challenge in partnership with KPMG and the Cambridge University Sustainability Leadership Institute in South Africa. Inspired by Nobel laureate, the late Wangari Maathai’s ‘Little Thing’ of planting trees, the competition aims at encouraging the development of ideas that will help us to find the best home-grown solutions to Africa’s sustainability issues.

Last year the competition attracted entries from all over the country.    The 2018 competition season has kicked off with a survey of SDGs awareness and engagement among Kenya’s youth.  This survey, which closes at the end of January, aims to assess the awareness of the SDGs, to understand current youth participation in the SDGs and to identify insights and good practices of successful youth-led SDGs engagement.

The target respondents in the survey are undergraduate university students (18- 35yrs of age) and data collection is through a structured questionnaire online survey. The expected outputs are a report for thought leadership. This report will be launched in February 2018 and will be followed by an in-depth review by university education stakeholders and representatives from the corporate sector and Government.  This will be carried out in a series of events targeting young people across the country.  Kenya’s adoption of the SDGs has created a space for innovative solutions to address the needs and aspirations of young people. It is fundamental to mainstream youth-led engagement at national level.

The Top 15 Finalists - 2017

Out of hundreds of participants, 15 names were shortlisted:

Name of Participant University
Amos Godwin Njiraini USIU-Africa
Nyamwange Sam Kenyatta University
Winfred Abuyabo Mukonzo Maseno University
Stephen Mwongela Moses University of Eldoret
Karani Kihonge Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Nick Waithaka Muhiu Egerton University
Wanjeri Millicent Loice University of Nairobi
Elvis Ochwal University of Nairobi
John Hastin Gichia Kiurire Kenyatta University
Odhiambo O. Gaylord Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Nyabwa James Ochuka University of Eldoret
Wainaina Mary Wambui University of Nairobi
Immaculate Wanjiku University of Nairobi
Wafula Moses Wangwa Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Mwendwa Kevin Maingi Mwendwa Strathmore University

‘My Little Big Thing’ SDGs Campaign, is a competition is challenging university students to develop simple ideas that are commercially viable that will contribute to the implementation of the SDGs in Kenya. Running from May 2017, the competition targets undergraduate students from all universities and polytechnics across Kenya.

Eric Omondi's Little Big Thing

Popular Comedian, Eric Omondi is the campaign ambassador for the My Little Big Thing Sustainability Innovation Challenge.  His ‘Little Big Thing’, is recycling vegetable oil for biodiesel production.  He is recycling cooking oil to fuel his car. Eric wants to scale up this idea into a business by starting his own cooking oil petrol station by participating in the ‘My Little Big Thing’ challenge.



The competition was launched on 10th May 2017 at a media event proudly sponsored by Simba Corporation who hosted the event at the Aspire Centre in Westlands, Nairobi. The event was also sponsored by Blaze by Safaricom who got an opportunity to address the audience of about100 guests consisting of media, the university community and other campaign sponsors and partners. Partners KPMG & Cambridge University also spoke at the event with the campaign ambassador, comedian Eric Omondi, entertaining the guests.


The launch was published in The Standard, on page 43, under the topic Higher Education corporate scene. It was also published in The Nairobian & Business Daily under the pictorial section.

The launch of #MyLittleBigThing was featured on Ebru TV and on HBR Radio.


We had campaign activations at USIU, JKUAT, Riara and Strathmore and Catholic University. Sponsors such as P&G and ArtCaffe engaged with the students during the activations and the campaign ambassador, Eric Omondi entertained the students visiting our promotion desk and encouraged them to register. We also engaged with students via their social media pages as a nationwide lecturers’ strike hampered planning for more activations.


A total of 144 entries were made. 15 candidates from the following universities were short-listed for the business skills training: USIU Africa, Maseno, University of Eldoret, Strathmore, JKUAT, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta & Egerton University. This was moderated by KPMG. The training included presentation skills, patents and copyrights and social media marketing. The business skills training was sponsored by Simba Corporation who provided the Aspire Centre’s training facilities for the day. The judges looked at eligibility and evaluation of all the entries based on quality of the idea, impact and commercial viability.


Seven students were vying for 3 slots in The Cambridge University Sustainability Practitioners’ Program that will be held in Intundla, South Africa in August. The 7 are from University of Eldoret, UoN, USIU, KU, Maseno, Egerton and JKUAT. Each was given a social media budget to promote their idea on social media so as to gain votes. We supported their efforts using the following social media strategy. The public voted and 3 winners emerged.

The Winning Innovations

Amos Njiraini - USIU Africa
Sam Nyamwange - Kenyatta University
Winfred Abuyabo - Maseno University