skip to Main Content

Challenge Ambassador role

Urban Links Africa (ULA) has been established to develop equitable partnerships between UK SMEs and South African / Kenyan organisations to address urban challenges in six African cities.

We have a great opportunity for 10-12 local experts to create real change to the city issues about which they are passionate, by steering the ULA equitable partnerships to develop innovative solutions that solve real problems.

This is a paid position and will be remunerated at a competitive day rate.

Seven city challenges have been identified in collaboration with local stakeholders and validated through market analysis and research into commercial opportunities.

South Africa South Africa

Resilience in Informal Settlements (Cape Town)
Urban Mobility (Johannesburg)
Waste Management & Pollution (Durban)

Kenya Kenya (challenges apply for Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu)

Stormwater Drainage and Urban Flooding
Solid Waste Management
Traffic Management and Active Mobility
Wastewater Management

Desired profile

We are calling for highly motivated challenge ambassador ‘experts’ of a particular city challenge to actively shape the development of solutions to city challenges in collaboration with the project’s innovative partnerships. The ideal candidate will have a thorough, on-the-ground understanding of one of the challenge areas, meaning:

  • You are already deeply involved in and passionate about finding solutions to one of the seven urban challenges identified above.
  • Your advanced connections to local communities and organisations provide a great network of support for the ULA partnerships.
  • You have an in-depth experience of the problems, causes and impacts of a city challenge. This includes knowledge of current, on-the-ground initiatives and activities already taking place in your city.
  • You have a comprehensive knowledge of the regulatory, societal and cultural landscape of your city, that allows you to help ULA partnerships navigate these unique contexts.

Typically, we foresee the challenge ambassador profiles to be coming from NGOs, community associations, Non-Profits, social enterprises or experts currently working for a relevant local authority.

Note: If you decide to apply to become a challenge ambassador, you/your organisation will not be able to apply to the ULA open call to avoid conflict of interests.


As a challenge ambassador, your primary role will be to collaborate with the ULA team and the UK/African partnerships to ensure they develop solutions that meet the unique requirements and practical realities of the urban challenges facing the cities.

You will be expected to actively support 1-3 innovative SME partnership over a 5-month period.  We expect that this would require approximately 4 days per month, or 20 days over 5 months. 

Whilst precise time and participation requirements will differ by city, challenge and the nature partnerships co-developing solutions, you will be expected to assist in tasks that include:

  • Reviewing applications and selecting the most promising partnerships related to your expertise area (during the open call) as part of an international judging panel.
  • Sharing your knowledge of the city challenges reality with the selected partnerships to keep their intended solutions grounded and feasible.
  • Facilitating online weekly catch-ups with the partnerships to track their progress.
  • Helping to build suitable networks for the partnership, connecting them with key stakeholders, communities and contacts who can advance their solution and pave the way to a deployment phase.
  • Supporting the partnerships in small scale local testing of products and services as they develop.
  • Assisting with reporting and impact-assessment procedures that measure the solutions impact on the city and its citizens.
  • Participate in online events and if possible physical local meet-ups. It would be an advantage if you are comfortable presenting and facilitating events (online and offline).

Promoting the ULA project and become an ambassador for the partnerships you are supporting.

Why this is a great opportunity/benefits

  • Impact: Affect real change in the urban challenge you are passionate about: steering innovative companies to develop smart and realistic solutions; working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals; improving life for citizens.
  • Knowledge: Learn from and contribute to best practice in innovation, design thinking and impact assessment from world-class practitioners.
  • Exposure: Raise your profile as a thought leader in your field. Become part of a global network by working in collaboration with multidisciplinary and international teams, including world-renowned organisations and smaller agile start-ups.
  • Financial compensation: Although making a difference and driving impact in your city is a fulfilling experience, we understand your time is precious and we are in the position to compensate you competitivel

Apply to be a challenge owner

Follow the link below to complete a few short questions.