Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) hosted the 10th Innovation Garage on Friday April 29, 2016 at the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab) on Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace in Kampala, Uganda.

The Innovation Garage guided by the Theme “Catalyzing Engineering Solutions” is a platform that is well positioned to assist innovators refine their ideas by enabling them to build and get quick fixes of their projects collaboratively with very creative and brave individuals. The Innovation Garage also supports local talent to come forth with Local Engineering solutions for some of the challenges faced in our communities.

During this garage session, participants shared and brainstormed about the IC Sprinkler,  a low cost, locally fabricated sprinkler. This was designed to address the challenge of prolonged drought seasons which often lead to low crop yields or even complete losses affecting livelihood.  Currently, even if irrigation can be effected, the irrigation process is expensive. For those who can afford to irrigate their gardens, the materials used are not locally available and other irrigation alternatives are slow in addition to being labor intensive.

The innovator brought a prototype of the innovation to show the intricate design of the sprinkler. This prototype is made out of scrap metal comprising mainly of a base, a set of ball bearings and a faucet which is the water outlet. The IC Sprinkler works in such a way that once it is attached to a water piping system and water is pumped into it, the water pressure being enhanced by the set of ball bearings enables the sprinkler to rotate around the garden it is irrigating.

Innovation calls for collaboration, sharing of ideas, sitting down and talking with potential end users and getting their feedback also in an effort to understand their actual needs and further inform development of the innovation. .

The prototype was tested in a tomato garden during which the following challenges were noted:

  • The sprinkler did not irrigate the areas near where it was stationed
  • The sprinkler rotated slowly
  • Massively producing the sprinkler while maintaining the set specifications also proved difficult because of its current design complexity
  • There is need for a water pump for the sprinkler to work

After sharing with fellow innovators these challenges, participants also viewed a video presentation of the sprinkler in action to give a clearer picture of the challenges earlier highlighted but  also additionally share insights into how the sprinkler works.

The innovator received the following feedback;

  • The Sprinkler should be made lighter by reducing the amount of metal used to manufacture  the device
  • To improve on the pressure needed to pump water out of the sprinkler by reducing and narrowing the size of the sprinkler’s nozzle
  • To modify the sprinkler to be able to fit onto any water piping system noting the need for flexibility in such a connection
  • The design should be made more appealing to the eyes of the potential end users to improve on its marketability
  • To consider and explore using other materials for some parts of the sprinkler
  • To change the shape of the sprinkler water outlet on the nozzle from round to a cross for better water distribution and pressure build-up

The Byuuma App,Pedal tap and Diarrhoea bed innovators each shared a brief presentation on their progress with their respective innovations.

Byuuma App, a mobile application designed as a virtual market for persons in-need of Artisan products to search and access the directory of registered sellers and products, was still at the prototype stage.  These Innovators were still waiting for the completion of the app prototype for them to further work on the Innovation.

The Pedal Tap, an improved design of the already existing tap model with a more hygienic turning on mechanism enabling users not to touch the tap on opening and closing for water flow while washing their hands. The team working on this innovation has secured funding from Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) through the Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG) Opportunity to further push this Innovation to the next level-Congratulations!  Some Pedal Tap Prototypes are already being tested in an effort to collect end-users feedback and the team is working on a business scaling model for their product.

The Diarrhea bed, a modification of the existing cholera bed (with a hole almost in the middle of the bed and bucket underneath) designed to prevent patients, care takers, medical workers and cleaners from getting into contact with waste which can likely expose them to infections. This team is now implementing feedback received from the previous innovation garage sessions to ensure that the bucket is attached to the bed among others.

One of the first time innovators, Tony Ayebare said, ‘’All in all, the Innovation garage was really inspirational to me and I also cannot wait to pitch my innovative idea during the RAN 11th Innovation Garage. I advise every innovator out there or anyone with a good, creative, innovative, different idea to join in the Garage sessions, come and pitch your ideas to get free feedback for further development of the same. Others even win grant opportunities to turn their ideas into  reality. This is the place to be! ‘’

Another first time innovator commented, ‘’several individuals and teams have conceived innovative ideas  and also developed innovations but are looking for funding, resources or even ideas to further grow them. I believe the innovation garage is a platform aimed at adding value to such innovations by providing feedback and counsel to enable innovators carry out additional research directed towards further development of their ideas. It will be more than fulfilling to witness these ideas hit the market”..

The garage is held every last Friday of the month, Do not miss the next garage which will be held on Friday, May 29, 2016 at the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab) on Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace in Kampala, Uganda. Come with a friend, relative or colleague, as we all strive to develop solutions to address African communities’ most pressing challenges.

“Together we can develop solutions through Innovation”






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