Who We Are

NIKO GREEN and the World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD) have developed a design competition, called “Endelevu® Design Challenge” that is aimed at engaging students and unemployed graduates in exploring, demonstrating and disseminating circular economy and sustainability strategies for the built environment through a collaborative design-build process in order to meet real-life social needs and environmental challenges.

This transformative youth empowerment program sees students develop solutions for real world challenges, and creates a fresh synergy between school, industry, technology and enterprise. It will also equip the youth with practical skills for self-sustainability, employability and job creation.

What Problem Is Endelevu Design Challenge Aiming To Address?

Redesigning the Built Environment

Buildings and construction have major impacts on our environment in its resource use (land, materials, energy, water); emissions (GHG, particulates, waste) and on biodiversity. The construction industry accounts for one third of all the waste and GHG emissions created, and more than a third of all the material used globally. These sectors can also play a critical role in improving the environment by cleaning polluted areas and recycling not only its own waste streams but those of other sectors in its own production and consumption. On the other hand, buildings contribute to human health, safety and comfort. Construction activities provide employment and innovation opportunities for both genders and to the youth. Thus, sustainable building construction provides an excellent platform for contributing to sustainable consumption and production, climate change mitigation and realization of other Sustainable Development Goals. Endelevu® Design Challenge is calling for young built environment professionals (future architects, designers, engineers, etc) to craft and innovate new materials and uses from waste and co-create healthy spaces.

Bridging training gaps

The higher education sub-sector continues to face a number of quality and relevance issues that are of concern. One of the challenges facing University and TVET education in Kenya is the mismatch between the skills graduate acquire and demands from the industry. Tertiary education institutions are often blamed for producing graduates who are not adequately equipped and empowered to tackle the challenges of our time. There is a general lack of ‘practical’ and ‘challenging’ on the ground practice, as most of the curricula is heavily theory based. Certification is often based on completion of courses and passing examinations rather than demonstration of competence.

Secondly, there is a general absence of integrated sustainability in the student’s curricula, as well as within the University’s internal policies and procedures ranging from procurement to facilities and operations. Obviously, architectural education needs a re-set,

to make it fit for the future. New structures and value systems are needed. Architectural education for the future should instill in the learners an awareness of the agency of the architect to affect change, urgently; it should equip them with the skills of critical and system thinking; and enhance their collaborative capacity. This requires taking the studio out of the school and making apprenticeship and craftsmanship commonplace.

Endelevu® Design Challenge will demonstrate an interactive learning model and program which will not only lead to innovation and creativity, but also addresses the needs of the community. Through the Challenge, students and graduates collaboratively extend theoretical design principles into real-life design-build projects in order to create inclusive, resource efficient, and economically viable structural solutions for human shelter.

Addressing persisting social infrastructure gaps through CSR investments

There is huge disparities in access to quality social infrastructure in Kenya and the rest of Africa. For example, in Kenya, the tuition, sanitation and accommodation facilities in most schools are inadequate, incomplete or dilapidated. About 38% of Kenyan primary schools either do not have toilet and water facilities or have large enrollment without adequate functional toilets and water facilities. 43.9% of the schools do not have libraries. 41% of public schools are not fenced and are therefore at an immediate risk of encroachment. The current state of the physical infrastructure in many schools is also not friendly for the children with disabilities. Hence, a majority of out-of-school children in Kenya have a disability, with 16% of all children and young people with disability being out of education. These shortages and disparities will greatly hinder the full implementation of the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) system and realization of the Universal Basic Education targets.

Creating healthy and safe childcare environments to support the growth and needs of our young population and working/studying mothers is also one of the greatest challenge facing the design industry today. Globally, the World Bank estimates that 350 million children do not have access to child care services. Each year, about 1 million children are born in Kenya. Despite the growing demand for systems to care for children, so that their mothers and other family members can work and support their families, Kenya has a very weak childcare support system and COVID has stretched this system to a breaking point. 52% of working Kenyan women resume work within three months after birth contributing to a rapid decrease in breastfeeding rates - hence the need to create conducive work environment for women to successfully combine work with breastfeeding. The need for childcare facilities for adolescent and teenage mothers is dire. According to a 2016 survey by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Kenya recorded 378,397 adolescent and teenage pregnancies for girls aged 10-19 years between July 2016 and June 2017, specifically, 28,932 girls aged 10-14 and 349,465 girls aged 15-19 became pregnant. The Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2014 found that 13,000 teenage girls drop out of Kenyan schools every year due to pregnancy.

Endelevu® Design Challenge provides a long-term and well coordinated collaborative programme to support the government’s efforts in addressing these social infrastructure gaps. Endelevu.Africa supports socially-inclusive and circular construction programs that help communities to create, develop, and support healthy spaces through material reuse and corporate social responsibility.

How Does Endelevu Design Challenge Work?

Training on sustainable design and circular construction

An introductory training on green and circular economy, climate change, sustainable development goals and the role of design and youth innovation will be covered. This will be followed by an in-depth training on sustainable design and building re-use. The graduates of this training will be accredited as “Endelevu Designers

Mentorship in design

Each design team will receive at least twelve hours of design-stage coaching (review and guidance) by industry experts to hone their design thinking and refine their design proposals. The teams will also engage with the Campus/School (users) in refining the project briefs and developing design concepts.

Mobilizing materials and funds for 1:1 construction

The teams will be involved in mapping, recovery and re-purposing of redundant materials on campus for reuse in construction of the prioritized social facilities. Additional materials (both new and second-hand) and funds that are needed for the project will be mobilized through the digital construction crowdfunding platform - Endelevu.Africa.

Testing of re-engineered components and construction of 1:1 pilots

Apropriate experimental construction and applied research/tests on the re-purposed building components will be undertaken to assure of/guarantee their technical performance and economic viability. The results of these tests are to inform iteration of re-use ideas and provide the evidence base for review of construction codes.

Actual (1:1 scale) construction of the projects

Build the winning design proposals to serve as models/living laboratories that will communicate and present sustainable design solutions effectively and attractively to the public and inspire the transition to a circular, and inclusive society. Participants will get a chance to oversee construction of their proposals as paid interns or attaché's.

Documentation of the process and best practices

A multi-media pack (data visualization, social media and video) created to document the Challenge process and create informative print and digital materials to publicize the outcomes of the project. A course manual will also be produced to aid in replication of the Challenge.

What Are The Expected Outcomes?

The challenge accrues wider impact on communities, architectural education and practice.

Create green jobs for the youth through sustainable design and circular construction

The Challenge will give the youth real-life work experience for practical application of their knowledge and acquisition of soft skills and values such as communication, critical and whole-systems thinking, problem-solving and responsible citizenship to improve their employability and capacity to create their own green enterprises.

Spur strategic partnerships towards advancing social equity and inclusion through corporate social responsibility

The Challenge will help create a national awareness on social inclusion and the role of design in addressing persisting social disparities. It also amplifies social value in construction by mobilizing donation of materials and funds through Endelevu.Africa platform to support the construction of social facilities.

Create a new circular model built around creativity, innovation and enterprise -

The Challenge develop a prototype of construction with recycled and renewable materials and a living laboratory for sustainable architecture - creating first class buildings from second-hand materials.

Team Composition

Individual participants will register in teams of six to ten. Each team must comprise of an architectural professional and representation of least three other built environment professions/disciplines such as engineering, product design, quantity surveying or members with specific craft or material knowledge. Each team must also comprise of at least one recent graduate, a TVET student and female student. Through cross discipline collaboration, participants will learn from different professional perspectives to understand how they can work together to reduce waste and design within the limits of our environment. Each team will be encouraged to research, experiment and explore the materials that are locally available in and around campus to create an intervention that integrates at least 50% reused or recycled elements/comments.

Our partners

Contact Us


Utumishi Co-op House, P.O Box 4892-00100, Nairobi



Your message has been sent. Thank you!