After the challenge - Winnie Akara
For nine months Winnie and her team SAHARA worked on their project PAWABOX and reached the Grand Finale, emerging 3rd out of the total 6 participants in the prototype division of the challenge. How does life go after the Re-Think Protein Challenge’2 for Winnie?
What was your experience of the challenge?
This challenge was quite the learning platform for us, and even though we all had our eye on the top spot, we were equally delighted when we made it to top 3. We worked extremely hard for this and were glad to be acknowledged for our efforts. It was a unique experience, with a unique team and we honestly did the best we could, especially during a pandemic.
I’ve grown so much through the experience and have developed a flexible, evolving mindset, so accomodating that I am willing to dive deep into the sea of unknowns called entrepreneurship. I always thought of myself as just a biologist, but after this challenge, I am willing to explore further and uproot hidden parts of me that I would have never come to know if I didn’t take the risk and sign up for this challenge. I learnt about team work and set a very important foundation for my career going forth.
What are you up to after the challenge?
After the challenge, I have decided to move back to Kenya and focus all my efforts into R.O.C.K (Reaching Out with Compassion in Kibera) and growing the program. We need to ensure a future where our students not only excel in education, graduate from university but land jobs that would ensure that they are completely free from the chains that threaten to hold them captive in a world defined by extreme levels of poverty.
We as an organization are currently working on an educational series but own no cameras of our own. Renting them out for each episode has proven to be too costly, so at the moment, we are fundraising to buy our own equipment. With this equipment, we strive to boost growth in our program through a media apprenticeship program that will be open to interested youth in the slum, as well as students at R.O.C.K, helping them unearth talents and skills they might not have been aware of.
How can we follow your next steps?
I’m on LinkedIn where I try to update my efforts in real time. I am also on YouTube, where we upload our videos. Please watch, share and subscribe!
What is your ultimate tip to other students?
Not all solutions are meant to be complex, its usually the simple and mundane things that go forgotten, so start small. Also, do not shy away from any opportunity to market yourselves and your idea, speak up in every room that holds relevance to your solution. Your idea is bigger than you and any insecurities or fears you may harbour inside, so make sure you dominate and take up space like you were always meant to.