A team led by Prof. Martin Veller, Dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences in University of Witwatersrand (UoW) in South Africa visited Makerere University School of Public Health ResileintAfrica Network (RAN) to appreciate the efforts towards identifying, incubating and scaling of innovations as solutions to communities’ most pressing challenges. It was also an opportunity for the two institutions to discuss possible areas for partnership in an effort to push forth each other’s agenda. Prof. Veller was accompanied by Prof. Penny Moore, Research and Prof. Amadi Ihunwo, Teaching and Research Staff. This team had on Thursday September 22, 2016 agreed to implement some activities with Makerere University College of Health Sciences in a Memorandum of Understanding signed in the Makerere University’s Senior Common Room.
In his remarks, Prof Veller noted that “RAN is an amazing project, what you have done is turning things around and will likely transform more communities in the near future”.He also shared that Deliberative Polling (DP) had been used in some of the far deep communities in South Africa and had worked very well. That the uniqueness of RAN is in the community penetration and strong engagement.
The visiting team had an opportunity to tour the RAN Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab Space located on Plot 30, Upper Kololo Terrace in Kampala Uganda and interact with 9 RAN Innovators who pitched their innovative ideas, projects and prototypes. These innovators received real time feed-back from the team and such feed-back is directed towards further developing and scaling of the innovations for community transformation. The RAN Team later engaged these visitors in a discussion on possible areas for collaboration highlighting that;
- The University of Witwatersrand can be a platform for easy access to clinical trials for RAN’s health related Innovations like ‘Matibabu’, the non-invasive malaria diagnosis tool kit.
- The Department of Science and Technology Team at UoW would also be a good one to have talks with to discuss possibilities to leverage additional funding to support the Innovation work at RAN among other relationships. The teams would explore this together.
- That the Faculty of Engineering at UoW too could be a good link to explore for RAN to directly work with.
- Need to have talks with the Information Technology Hub established by UoW in collaboration with IBM so that some of the innovations under incubation at RAN can benefit from the expertise there in.
- Prof. Veller would also take up talks with Prof. Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, Director RAN Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab for reference to deep rural poor communities in South Africa to expand RAN’s reach thus community impact but also feed into learning for better implementation of RAN’s activities. UoW would also leverage from RAN’s expertise in penetrating the communities for development among others.
- That the teams would also explore leveraging from the Science experts program in South Africa to support students to innovate (Penny would make the necessary linkages).
- Most of the linkages can be project specific.
‘Solutions through Innovation’