IPA 2015 Finalist’s Innovation Catalyses African Philanthropic Spirit

For Kenyan entrepreneur and finalist of the Innovation Prize for Africa 2015, Kyai Mullei, catalysing the African spirit to give is a passion. Mullei and his business partner, David Mark co-founded mChanga, a fundraising management platform that works via SMS or online. According to Mullei, the platform is aimed at facilitating organized giving. Mullei said that Africans have a long history of giving which is often not recognized.

“Africans give a lot. Across Africa there are practices like Harambee, Ubuntu, Susu, Agacira that prove this. Africans do not have social safety nets in the official sense. Insurance and life insurance penetration rates are below 5 per cent and formal employment below fifty percent. So the extended family is the method of social insurance and this revolves around regular giving,” said Mullei.

He added that though Africans may less likely give to people and organisations that they do not know as it happens in the West; it does not necessarily mean that they do not have a culture of giving.

“Kenya has a deeply engrained culture of giving – adults participate in at least 5 occasions of coming together for a cause per year. But there are high costs involved in organizing traditional (in person) fundraisers. Because family and friends increasingly spread out geographically nationally, regionally and internationally, coordinating traditional fundraiser is harder than ever before,” said Mullei.

Mullei says that m-Changa provides a cheap and effective method of collecting funds through mobile money, and for diaspora contributors, it provides a transparent and cheap method of remitting cash to specific causes, with transparency at all stages of the fundraiser.

Since the product was launched in 2013, a total of US$300000 has been raised and 3500 fundraising campaigns have been launched resulting in 200 per cent growth.

“m-Changa competes with traditional fundraising, crowdfunding and mobile money services. Traditional fundraising is an increasingly high-cost and high hassle option, relying on face-to-face meetings, while not tapping fully into social networks. M-Changa provides quick, easy and cheap fundraising to everyone. It’s the only product combining mobile money with SMS functionality, to automate large scale fundraising,” said Mullei.

According to Mullei, being selected among IPA 2015 finalists was a groundbreaker that will open up new opportunities.

“It was great being selected among the finalists for the Innovation Prize for Africa, a great validation that what we have been doing for three years at M-Changa is recognized as useful and impactful for society,” he said, adding that he wanted to make M-Changa the de-facto fundraising platform in Africa, allowing for more people to engage in fundraiser because it is cheaper and more efficient than before.

The IPA is an initiative of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) that was established in 2011. It aims to mobilize African innovators and entrepreneurs by providing US$ 150 000 for market-oriented solutions that support African-led development. IPA provides also more incentives for the participants including post-prize support to women and young innovators under 26 age.

The IPA brings together the best of African ingenuity in the rigours of science and technology, environment and energy, agri-business, health and well-being, the manufacturing and service industry, as well as the ICT sector. The IPA 2016 edition, dubbed “Made in Africa” is in harmony with the AIF mission that seeks to catalyse the innovation spirit in Africa, living up to its credo: by Africans, for Africa.

Don’t miss out, apply now for IPA 2016 and you could be one of the next IPA winners! Find more details here: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/apply-now/ . Deadline: 31 October 2015