West Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (WA RILab) – ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) University of Development Studies – Tamale, Ghana
Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG) Capacity Building Training
ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) secretariat, through the West African Resilience Innovation Lab (WA RILab) in partnership with the University of Development Studies, Tamale campus hosted and delivered a 4 days (August 8th – 11th) jam packed capacity building session for the YSiG innovation teams on M&E, design thinking, business modeling, and MKITS. This session was crowned with an Exhibition of innovative solutions from the community on August 12th 2016 at the International Conference Center. The training which attracted multidisciplinary students, WA RILab ambassadors, and Lab staff (30 in total) was guided by the theme: “Resilient Communities through University led Innovations”. The training was facilitated by Dr. Harriet Namata, Eng. Dr. Dorothy Okello, Joseph Mukawa and Brian Ndyaguma from the RAN Secretariat and Deborah Elsie and Prof. Holly from Tulane University. This training was also timely when the Youth Spark Innovation Grantees (YSiG) were being inducted into the RAN innovation and incubation program. The journey (innovation program) always sees, the innovator develop their idea from a concept, carefully understanding the root causes of the problem, the theory of change, and a series of trainings and coaching on design thinking, Needfinding, business modeling, documentation through MKITS, pitching as well as mentorship.
Among the tasks assigned during the week, the innovators engaged in a quick Needfinding on the acute water shortage and open defecation; the 2 challenges in the Tamale community. The data collected was used to inform the next set of activities including prototyping. Some interesting research finding including the following were shared; on open defecation; residents are not motivated to build toilets because of they are poor. If someone had a mud and wattle house, he/she did not see value in spending scarce resources in building a toilet. On acute water shortage, the residents advised that it is better to construct a borehole for water supply than rely on the rains and piping water from the surface water bodies because they are highly contaminated. Prototypes were built and pitching done as shown here.
The week was crowned with an open exhibition involving other innovators around Tamale pitching alongside the YSiG grantees. A multidisciplinary team of judges assessed the innovations presented at the exhibition while sharing feedback to inform further development. Some of the outstanding innovative solutions included; harvesting fly larvae for animal protein, using the Moringa plant for water purification and generating electricity from a cook stove. Details can be accessed here http://www.warilab.org/ and http://www.graphic.com.gh/news/education/uds-wa-rilab-holds-innovations-exhibition-at-dungu-campus.html .
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