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Kenya Nordic Green Hub by Quercus Group

Kenya Nordic Green Hub

Supporting inclusive businesses in Kenya

We have seen a transition from aid to market-driven and entrepreneurial approaches in development partnerships in Kenya. The East African country also increasingly strips off the role as donor receiving nation and demands recognition as a trade partner on eye height.

Entrepreneurial approaches to human development are often about technology transfer. International companies partake and seek to position their products in emerging markets. The reasons are manifold – sometimes for real economic opportunity, sometimes for CSR, and in other times as genuine contributions to make an impact.

Case details

Client name:
Confederation of Danish Industry (DI)
Aug 2021
Sep 2021

Technology transfers often fail to account for the local context. Products then do not succeed because of the ill market-fit, or cause (unintended or unforeseen) harm to people, the economy and the environment.

From distance, the Kenya Nordic Green Hub aims to contribute to improving difficult climate and sustainability-related situations in Kenya. It might also appear as an export promotion instrument. Both are partly true.

The Kenya Nordic Green Hub’s mission is to design, facilitate and manage technology transfers to Kenya with more inclusive outcomes.

The hypothesis is if sustainable solutions from the Nordic countries are adapted, perhaps even co-created, with and by a broad partnership comprising Kenyan and Nordic stakeholders. then the outcomes will be more effective and mutually beneficial.

Generating a shared understanding and shared plan for action

The initiative focused on two key tasks upon its inception:

  1. Building a hub as a cross-border multi-stakeholder partnership.From an organizational perspective, the Kenya-Nordic Green Hub was conceived as a multi-stakeholder partnership. It involved partners from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Kenya, and from public, private, civic society and knowledge organizations.

    Similar to cluster development, our role then was to design a process and organize people around establishing relationships, developing a joint vision, finding a way to organize and so on.

  2. Building a portfolio of interventions and activities.From an instrumental perspective, the KNGH is a mechanism for Kenyan and Nordic partners to generate a shared understanding of complex issues, co-create and prototype approaches and solutions, and implement and support a portfolio of interventions.

Generating a shared understanding and shared plan for action

In spring 2019, the KNGH hosted the KNGH summit in Nairobi bringing together 200+ participants from ministries, industries, academia and civic society from Kenya and the Nordics. The participants were invited to participate in a co-creative design sprint of two days.

“Quercus Group played an instrumental role to bring stakeholders from public and private sector together, so they actually collaborated on identifying causes and joint solutions to some of Kenya’s key climate challenges. Like most of the participants, I was surprised about the energy and enthusiasm that Quercus Group managed to orchestra during our workshops. Much of the success was build on QG’s attention to stakeholder mapping, understanding and reporting on the enabling ecosystem in Kenya, and the continuous relation management with both public and private stakeholders – and not to forget; the other hub-partners.” – Bjarne Palstrøm, Senior Advsior, Confederation of Danish Industry

The goal was to

  • mobilize a larger set of stakeholders around the hub’s mission and invite them to contribute,
  • identify key problem domains and jointly prioritize specific issues,
  • develop early-stage project ideas and solutions.

40 teams developed 40 project ideas at the end of the summit in three main areas:

  1. Sustainable mobility in Nairobi,
  2. Consumer waste in Nairobi,
  3. Commercial waste in Nairobi.

All solutions were cataloged and shared with the summit’s participants.

About the KNGH project

Funded by the Nordic Development Fund, the hub is an initiative by Aalto University, Leapfrog Projects, the Confederation of Danish IndustriesInclusive Business Sweden, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and a broader group of Kenyan and Nordic partners.

The Quercus Group team was part of the initiative from conceiving and designing the initiative to implementing all the way to tactical tasks as workshop design and facilitation, stakeholder mobilization or organizing the summit through our Kenyan office.