Roads Out of Poverty - Catalyzing rural development by improving infrastructure

Software to monitor roads and to build and repair gravel roads through manual labor and mobile phones. 90% cheaper than heavy machinery

Photo of Kevin
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Mobilized Construction

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Denmark

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Uganda: Luwero Kenya: Kenol


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Rural communities are physically separated from value chains through crumbling road infrastructure. Unlocking value from these underutilized assets is critical to creating the renaissance needed to provide health services and economic opportunities for 3 billion people worldwide. 30-40% of food loss occurs during post-harvest, causing over 500M tons of waste and suppressing farming income by a 15%. The $1 trillion infrastructure gap can only be filled by building more effectively and monitoring at the most remote areas.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Our software measures road quality and creates micro-contracts for local individuals to repair roads using manual labor and cellphones. This eliminates the need to use heavy machinery and creates employment directly in rural communities. Manual labor produces the same quality gravel roads as heavy machinery and the construction is US$1,500 per kilometer, 90% less compared to the World Bank. We focus on a mobile first solution that builds capacity so road assets ownership can be transferred to local managers. We see local management, operation, repairs, and ultimately funding all within the local community.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We completed our first project in Uganda in 2016 to repairing the road to local health clinic to increase access to the health facilities. Our focus was to assess the feasibility of labor-based maintenance and the impact to the community and we completed 1km of road construction for $1,500 USD and improved roads for 2,500 individuals. The community saw a 50% reduction in taxi fares and travel time to the clinic decreased travel time, meaning in emergencies mothers reached the Shanti clinic in 7 minutes versus 15 minutes. We are currently repairing 30km of roads in Murang'a County Kenya to improve market access to farmers in Murang’a County. This project creates 1,800 days of labor and improves daily accessibility for 7,500 individuals.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Today: Grants - 70%. Earned income - 30%. Long term: Our business model is licensing our software based on the number of kilometers repaired in our system and providing consulting services to assist with project implementation and community training. Our software costs on average $100 per kilometer monitored and maintained and consulting is $10,000 per month. We charged $7,000 for the 30 kilometer project in Kenya to train and deploy our software over 3 months and $3,000 to utilize the software. Manual labor, tools, and materials were sourced and paid by the local community from the annual road maintenance budget.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Building and repairing gravel repairs using manual labor is not new. What has failed is development agencies like the World Bank have not been able to sustain locally managed or funded roads once projects end. Our software focuses to build capacity to ensure transfer of ownership for operations. Our remote road monitoring measures international standards of roughness so intermediate funding can flow until communities are able to self fund gravel repairs and eventually switch tarmac/asphalt.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Johan and Kevin met at the Forbes Under 30 Summit looking for inspiration. Johan was completing his final year of graduate school and Kevin finishing a rotation to become a user experience designer. We were certain they wanted something practical and tangibly serves people. Johan shared his thesis about infrastructure and Kevin saw the practical deployment of software and phones. We began framing how this could work, booked a trip to Uganda to conduct a pilot, and shortly thereafter moved to Kenya to launch operations.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact


Join the conversation:

Photo of Emiliano Iturriaga

Hi!! I like your idea very much and I think it can be easy to sell, specially because you are able to lower costs so much, it is attractive to anyone in charge of the road mantainance budget.

I have a question doses your software requieres internet or that the cellphone has signal at all times?
Do you have any proposals to change the ways roads are built so that the impact of fragmenting ecosystems is reduced?
Any ideas to desing roads that allow fauna to cross safely? do yo think this could be important to take into account?

Photo of Kevin

Hi Emiliano. The software does not require constant internet signal. GPS data can be collected without signal, internet is just needed to upload the data and create contracts to be pushed to local community members.

We do not have the tools at this time for analysis on ecosystems or fauna but with the right external data source we could integrate that into planning. We are focused on operations, maintenance, and reconstruction of existing roads which may have undergone that analysis previously.

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