Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) hosted the 9th Innovation Garage on April 1, 2016 at the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab) on Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace in Kampala Uganda. This session brought together 22 participants majority of who were male.

The garage, which brings together innovators from multiple disciplines, and is guided by the theme “Catalyzing Engineering Solutions”, facilitated a brainstorming session where participants discussed topics related to mechanical welding coupled with developing real innovative solutions to address communities’ most pressing challenges. It was also a rich opportunity for participants to flesh out areas for further development of some innovative solutions including; The Byuuma App, diarrhea bed and Kampala Food Service that had been discussed in the previous garage (8th edition). The spirit in garage participants is guided by the saying “Never leave any stone un-turned” thus the close follow-up on earlier discussed projects.

Grace Nakibaala,  an innovator being supported by the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab shared the developments that been made on the diarrhea bed and received the following feedback from participants;

  1. That the Innovation should keep the buckets as accessories since these are already available.
  2. That a mechanism should be created to enable the bucket to be attached on the bed. That the innovator explores using a slide-in and out mechanism.
  3. In order to prevent smell and sight of the waste, participants proposed use of a funnel but finally agreed to use foam, which is a mass of small bubbles that form at the surface of a liquid. The foam used will disseminate good smell and as it is a thick substance, it will cover up the waste material. The buckets used should be round in shape
  4. The use of foam mattresses was suggested in order to make these available for any individual in need.

Participants appreciated the progress (in development) of the innovation and were all looking forward to viewing the prototype in the upcoming 10th Innovation garage.

The Byuuma App innovators also shared a brief presentation of their progress highlighting the biggest challenge facing the app so far being modifying the market link of the app to the customers/end users. However, they promised to share a detailed presentation on development progress and even demonstrate how the app works or how it is used during the upcoming garage session. It was exciting to note that these innovators had already engaged some potential customers/end users with whom they are testing the app for further improvement. Continuous engagement with the end users/ potential customers throughout the Innovation Process enriches the end product. This is because feedback from the potential end users greatly informs further development of the product.  The Community being at the center of RAN’s Innovation Agenda, all innovators including the Garage Team innovate for, with and by the community.

Come and witness but most importantly give feedback on these African conceived, developed, incubated, fabricated and scaled innovative solutions as we all strive to develop solutions to address African communities’ most pressing challenges. These discussions and many more will be during the 10th RAN Innovation Garage scheduled April 29, 2016 starting at 5:00 pm EAT. The agreement in this garage session was that each one of us comes with a friend, relative or colleague, preferably a female so that we all contribute towards involving more females in science, technology and innovation. This way, we are sure not to miss the spice females come along with to even better the innovative products/projects.




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