InnoCentive Launches Open Innovation Campaign With Habitat for Humanity to Find Solutions to Prevent Mosquito Bites Across Africa

Global nonprofit seeking ways to prevent the spread of malaria, which is expected to be a greater cause of death in Africa than COVID-19 this year

Open innovation firm InnoCentive is supporting global housing nonprofit Habitat for Humanity in a new challenge to find a solution for retrofitting houses across Africa to reduce the spread of malaria.

Focusing particularly on Kenya, where around 70% of the population is thought to be at risk of malaria, the challenge - Malaria Prevention through Innovations in Home Design or Home Life - runs through 7 June 2021. The challenge aims to find affordable and sustainable home design solutions to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes inside the home and/or reduce the number of mosquito bites from mosquitoes that get into a home, lowering transmission of malaria and other diseases.

The most recent World malaria report, released on 30 November 2020, stated there were 229 million cases of malaria in 2019 with an estimated 409,000 malaria deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) African Region was home to 94% of all malaria cases and deaths in 2019, while the WHO has also predicted that excess malaria mortality will be larger than direct COVID-19 mortality.

"Common ways of reducing malaria risk include through the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying of insecticides," said Patrick Kelley, vice president of Habitat for Humanity's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. "But retrofitting low-income houses with smarter home design also can cut malaria transmission. We can't wait to see what the solvers on the InnoCentive platform come up with."

In the regions most affected by mosquitoes, most houses are built with open features, including windows, eaves, and ceilings that do not keep mosquitoes out. Habitat for Humanity is seeking a design compatible with a typical house for a low-income Kenyan family, using locally available materials and borrowing from traditional local housing styles.

InnoCentive, a Wazoku brand, is the world's most comprehensive and powerful innovation platform and global solver community. The company has worked successfully with many NGOs, nonprofits and businesses that seek the expertise of its global network of nearly 500,000 registered expert problem 'solvers', comprised of engineers, Ph.D. students, CEOs, start-ups, material experts, scientists and business leaders.

"For people in the U.S. and Europe, a mosquito bite is a mild inconvenience, but in Kenya and other parts of Africa it is a matter of life or death," said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku. "Using the collective expertise and know-how of the InnoCentive crowd is a powerful way of finding solutions to challenges of such magnitude."

InnoCentive's partner SeaFreight Labs, a crowdsourcing consultancy delivering solutions to the global seafreight community, is supporting this challenge as part of SeaFreight Labs' commitment to the Pledge 1% movement.

"Open innovation is especially well-suited to helping with such challenges," said Harry Sangree, Founder and CEO, SeaFreight Labs. "There is enormous value to be found in crowd-solving and this RTP (reduction to practice) challenge will be no different, delivering solutions to help address this critical issue."

Habitat for Humanity has run many open innovation challenges with InnoCentive, details of which can be found in the organization's pavilion.


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For further information about Habitat for Humanity, visit

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Source: InnoCentive