And the winner of the Falling Walls Lab Nairobi 2023 is…

Juryvorsitz, Dr. Erick Towett (links) und Martin Kiyeng (rechts) © DAAD Kenya

On Thursday, May 11, 2023, the DAAD Nairobi, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Nairobi hosted this year’s Falling Walls Lab at the Goethe-Institut Auditorium.

Falling Walls Lab is a world-class pitch competition, networking forum, and stepping stone that brings together a diverse and interdisciplinary pool of students and early-career professionals by providing a stage for breakthrough ideas both globally and locally.

Out of the 32 applications received, eight candidates were invited to present their pitch at the Lab in 2:30 minutes, with additional 30 seconds for questions from the jury (Dr. Erick Towett, Dr. Collins Handa, Dr. Alice Onyango, Lilian Momanyi, and Jules Onyango).

Participants pose with members of the jury

The breakthrough factor (how innovative is the proposed idea?), potential impact of the presented work (how relevant is the idea to the discipline and beyond?), and performance (how convincing was the presentation?) help the jury determine the winner, who qualifies for the global finale in Berlin on 7 November and wins a ticket to attend the Falling Walls Science Summit, where the international Lab winners get to interact and network with the world’s movers and shakers of science, business, and policy-making.

Falling Walls Lab 2023

The winner was Martin Kiyeng of Ubuni/USIU Africa, breaking the wall of unsustainable diapering. He was followed closely by Peter Kibet of KALRO And Charles Oyamo of the University of Nairobi in positions two and three respectively.

Martin Kiyeng, Winner of the Falling Walls Lab 2023

Martin Kiyeng elaborated how, around the world, disposable diapers represent about 4% of all solid waste and are the 1/3 largest contributor to single-use consumer items in landfills. He also explained how, out of 700,000 babies born in Kenya every year, only 4% use diapers.  He therefore introduced a social enterprise solution that is developing patented technology to process natural fiber from agricultural waste into a highly absorbent diaper material to produce 100% biodegradable and compostable diapers through a market based circular business innovation and environmental impact at scale to catalyze consumer behavior.

Read more about the Falling Walls Lab

The winner Martin Kiyeng qualified for the global finale in Berlin on November 7, won a ticket to attend the Falling Walls Science Summit, and will take part in an exclusive extended programme during his stay in Germany. He will also compete to become the Breakthrough Winner in the Emerging Talents category of Falling Walls, possibly taking home the title and prize money, and receiving the opportunity to pitch his idea once again on the grand stage of the Falling Walls Breakthroughs of the Year.

We at the DAAD Nairobi Office congratulate the participants of the Falling Walls Lab Nairobi 2023 and wish them the very best in their future endeavors. We also congratulate Martin Kiyeng for breaking the wall of sustainable diapering in Kenya and wish him the best as he travels to Berlin to meet other innovators, network, and share his breakthrough idea!




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