Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) http://www.ranlab.org/ hosted the 7th Innovation Garage on Friday January 29, 2015 at the RAN Innovation Lab on Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace, Kampala Uganda. The Innovation Garage in partnership with the Innovation Consortium Limited aids bringing innovation to life. The Garage, guided by the theme; “Catalyzing Engineering solutions” drives deep thinking by attendees through interactive brainstorming sessions and experimentation to pursue the best prototypes and solutions.

This year’s first Innovation garage opened with a pitch session as three innovation projects: the Cooking Stove, No touch Water Tap and Silage/ Hay Making Machine were presented to the Garage participants. It was a rich learning session as it engaged participants and innovators in sharing their opinions, lessons, successes, and reviews directed towards further developing solutions through innovation to address communities’ challenges.

During the Garage session, Nolbert Muhumuza the Co-founder, President and Chief Operations Officer of Awamu Biomass Energy http://awamu.ug/shared about the unique qualities of The Improved Cooking Stoves. It is a clean cooking gasifier stove that utilizes renewable energy from dry biomass, while increasing household incomes, reducing Indoor Air Pollution and mitigating climate change with the associated effects on livelihood. In addition;

  • The target end users are peri-urban rural communities
  • The Improved Cooking Stoves cook faster because they use gas
  • The stoves also use several Bio mas for cooking thus several fuel sources
  • Saves time and money
  • Burns gas before cooking so reduces indoor air pollution
  • Burns into charcoal which can be used for further cooking or even sold
  • Also creates employment for the people

Grace Nakibaala one of RAN’s Innovators presented her project theNo Touch Pedal Water Tap. It is an improved design of the already existing tap model where users no longer need to touch the tap on opening and closing to allow water flow while washing their hands. The purpose of this project is to promote hygiene and prevent easy spread of contagious diseases including Ebola. This project is designed for suitability and will be used  in the urban areas in existing environments and to fit within the existing water systems. The Team behind this innovation currently has a working prototype and is moving on to carry out a mini pilot to inform further development of the innovation. The pilot is planned for Makerere University School of Public Health RAN Office premises and Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) Public Washrooms.

Pidson Abaho presented The Silage/Hay Production Machine innovation, a project designed by the Innovative Consortium Limited to enable farmers manufacture food for their animals using silage from maize.

Participants noted some positives about the innovation including the following;

  • It saves time to get the animals what to consume
  • It is easy to manage and apply
  • Cost friendly
  • It is very durable (lasts for over 15 years)

Areas of improvement;

  • It emits a lot of fumes, which could be harmful especially to humane body, thus need to address this concern during further fabrication.
  • Need to modify the area with sharp blades for safety of the users

As the event came to a conclusion, Harriet Adong, the Communications Manager at RAN, urged participants to encourage female participation in Innovation by indulging them in events such as the Innovation Garages, adding them to the Innovation Teams among others. She emphasized the spice and values add these female counterparts come with and add to the innovation.  Additionally, she publicized the Youth Spark Innovation Grants opportunity (YSiG) and encouraged participants to reach out to other students to participate in the call.

In order to maximize efficiency, build capacity and successfully utilize the potential of the Innovation Garage sessions, participants also deliberated on and elected the Innovation Garage leaders. These will oversee the smooth running of these sessions in collaboration with the RAN and Innovation Consortium Limited Teams. Participants joined in celebrating the election of

Stephen Sekanyo
an innovator with Kungula!Thresh It project http://www.ranlab.org/innovations/ric4ace-grantees  as President
Grace Nakibaala
Team Leader on the No touch Pedal Water Tap project as Vice President

This event (held every last Friday of the Month) is open to multi-disciplinary persons, students, faculty and the communities at large because at RAN, we realize and appreciate that each discipline contributes significantly to the quality of the Innovation. The Garage is a great platform to support home grown engineering solutions and it is through such sessions that RAN supports local solutions directed towards transcending nations. It brings together students, faculty, researchers, scholars, innovators and the community who join the radical group work on inventing game changing solutions.

Assemble and pack up your gear, ready for the next real hands-on Innovation Garage on Friday February 27, 2016 at the Innovation Consortium Limited premises located in Kireka, Kampala Uganda starting at 4:45pm EAT.

“We do not need to be too many in number to innovate, it is the knowledge rich brains and creativity of a few individuals that will transform Africa and later the world at large” stated Bayron Ssemalago of the Innovation Consortium Limited”.

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