Save the Children invests in Africa’s newest technology hub

Thursday 15 December 2016

Save the Children International are investing in Kenya’s burgeoning tech industry by opening an office in Nairobi that will serve as a network hub for the organisation. Following the trend of a number of corporate businesses such as Vodafone and Safaricom, Save the Children is leading the way for international non-governmental organisations to open up to new markets and talent, to the benefit of the organisation and the local economy.

Save the Children works in around 120 countries to help ensure all children learn, survive and are protected. It already has three offices in Nairobi, which support its programmatic and advocacy work across the country and region. In January 2016, it added further technical staff to create its own technology hub following extensive research on location and a 5-month recruitment process. Save the Children’s head of IT, Graham Kent, is looking to double the current size of its tech staff and will tap into the fresh and creative workforce in Nairobi.  

“The success of the hub has been unprecedented and the location of Nairobi has been paramount in this success. We want to continue expanding the offices size.”

Situated on the Western edge of Kenya, Nairobi is Africa’s prime location for development, with innovation from within the country and attracting investment from outside. Nairobi boasts the best internet connectivity in Kenya and the development of its very own ‘Silicon Valley’ due to the growth of research, investment and community platforms such as @iHub and @iLabAfrica. These organisations bring the local IT community together to share ideas and act as incubators to nurture its home-grown talent

Nairobi’s reputation as a tech innovator is often attributed to the mobile money transfer system, M-Pesa, which is used by over 50% of Kenya’s adult population. Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise visit to Nairobi earlier in the year to learn about the M-Pesa system. Attracting interest such as this takes one of Kenya’s leading technology programmes from having a large-scale reach to having an extensive global influence. Zuckerberg’s presence in Nairobi, despite it being for education rather than investment purposes, reflects the city’s increasing prominence in tech circles and reveals that it is a beast worth respecting.

Nairobi is fast emerging as a growing ecosystem of knowledge and expertise that provides the perfect backdrop for learning and development. This environment of growing thinkers and resources will help Save the Children initiate and expand projects, deliver new ideas, develop thinking and source new staff for their globally-reaching team.

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