On Friday, October 30, 2015 Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) celebrated 5 months of successful Garage sessions at the Innovation Lab on Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace. These sessions are guided by the theme “Catalyzing Engineering solutions”.
It was a packed session for the 46 participants who attended the 5th Innovation Garage including; RAN staff, student interns, innovators, university students, great engineering experts and mentors. Participants had the opportunity to view and critique the first fully designed two prototypes locally fabricated by RAN Innovators under the mentorship of Innovation Consortium Limited Team.
The prototypes that were showcased in this Garage included;
1. “Radio Tower” for the RootIO Community Radio: Redesigning the Radio Tower meant reducing the total cost of the current Tower from $2000 to about $200 while increasing the length from 15 m to 25 m. The prototype showcased had modules that could be co-joined to achieve the needed height which was very promising to the RootIO Innovators. The Innovators are going in for the next iteration to explore ways of portability of such a long Tower and address other concerns also related to the locally available materials that were used.
Jude Mukundane said “This is indeed great work on the Community Radio Tower, now that I am back in the country; I am also going to devote more time to further fabricating this tower to completion”.
2. A locally designed “Mechanized Maize Thresher”: The prototype was powered at the RAN Lab which mesmerized most of the students that attended the Garage. This Thresher has the potential to Thresh 10 Tons of Maize in a few minutes on just 1 litre of fuel. The Innovation of this project was a winnowing chamber that was attached onto the Thresher. The Maize product from this machine is very clean without any chuff ready to be milled. This is a huge relief to farmers who have been using rudimentary methods that were also labor intensive to thresh maize. In the next iterations, Innovators are considering a manual Thresher to suit the needs of local farmers who may not afford fuel.
Stephen Sekanyo, the lead innovator on the Mechanized Maize Thresher Project joined all participants to thank the RAN and Innovation Consortium Limited Teams for the continued support towards innovation. He added; “It has been an enriching opportunity working with the RAN Team, experts at the Innovation Consortium Limited and all you creative thinkers. If we continue with this momentum in such collaborations, we will surely transform African communities using local solutions. The brains are here, local materials are available coupled with the generous support from the American people through United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to enhance the work around innovation.
The interactive session saw all participants share instant feedback after the prototypes had been presented.
Dr. Julius Ssentongo, RAN Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab Program Coordinator commented that “It is exciting witnessing the RAN Innovation Garage in action. Both these prototypes have been fabricated using locally available resources and materials, we must continue to exploit these innovative minds in and outside this Innovation space for African led and developed solutions to address African community challenges”.
The Innovation Garage is a great platform to support home grown engineering solutions and through these monthly sessions, Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) hopes to support local solutions that will transcend nations. The RAN Team wishes to launch paradigm shifting Innovations that will disrupt the way we conduct business. We would like to see technologies developed in Africa being launched on the global market as Game Changers.


In pictures

thresher2 thresh1 threasher1 thresh1 rootio rootio1 rootio3 josh
Photos of the 5th Innovation Garage can be accessed here
Do not miss out on yet another interactive, vibrant and inspirational RAN Innovation Garage scheduled November 27, 2015 at the RAN Innovation Lab. Each session presents different opportunities for “Solutions through Innovation”.