As the world gears up for the fifth industrial revolution, innovation has been instrumental as various global powers strive to keep up with the rapidly changing world.
Governments, multinational companies, and learning institutions have all focused their efforts towards innovation geared at addressing contemporary problems.
Kenya, too, has made strides in innovation with various innovations to its name. This article summarises some of the notable innovations credited to Kenyans in 2022.
Hyacinth converted to plastic
Joseph Nguthiru, an Egerton University graduate caught the attention of the world with his innovation named Hyapak, aimed at converting water hyacinth into biodegradable plastics that can be used by society.
In addition, his innovation offered an alternative to non-biodegradable plastics which risk plunging the world into a menace of plastic waste.
The innovation earned recognition locally and internationally owing to its timeliness at a time when water bodies in Kenya were encroached on by the hyacinth.
Nguthiru won the Presidential Award for Kenya in the East African Youth Innovation Forum in November 2022, owing to his efforts on sustainable solutions to climate change. He also won the TotalEnergies Startup of the Year Challenge, alongside two other students.
Hyapak, which has since been patented, beat 1,012 entries to emerge top in the Best Business Creation Project.
Unga from grass
In the wake of a prolonged drought described as one of the most severe in Kenya’s history, four students at Kabarak University in Nakuru came up with a scientific procedure for extracting flour from grass.
The students namely Faith Wandia, Salome Njeri, Innocent Bahati, and Edgar Ruto, laboured to devise a way of converting the cellulose found in grass to edible starch which they noted would help to offer a solution to Kenya’s overreliance on maize.
Mukuru Cooking Stove
Charlot Magayi, 29, was recognized for her innovation of the Mukuru Cooking stove which aims at reducing air pollution through gasses emitted from conventional sources of energy used in cooking.
The stoves are made from locally sourced recycled waste metal which reduces production costs and makes the products affordable for our target market.
In addition, the stoves are designed to efficiently use fuel, which helps in saving the cost of cooking and is environmentally friendly. Magayi won Ksh50 million in the 2022 edition of the Earth shot competition in the United States.
She was among the five winners who scoop awards in the awards headlined by Prince Phillip of Wales, of the United Kingdom.
Two Boys Who Innovated Smart Fingerprint Ballot Box
Two students from Chala Secondary School, in Taita Taveta County, were recognized for their project of developing a ‘smart fingerprint ballot box’.
The two, Diana Wambugha and Brian Mwaghogho, were among the innovators who participated in the Sarit Expo exhibitions in December which brought together different innovators.
According to them, the smart fingerprint ballot box would help to solve the problem of the stray ballot boxes which have proven to be a problem in Kenya’s elections.
The machine is designed to detect the colour of the ballot paper and signal to the clerks any disparity where the colour of the ballot paper does not match with the ballot box.
The students won a trip to Ireland where they were slated to participate in a global tech expo.
College Student With a Device Aimed at Detecting Thieves
Against the backdrop of the numerous criminal activities reported in the country, a college student from the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology (RVIST) unveiled a device designed to detect intruders in homesteads and other installations.
The device, according to the innovator, has sensors which upon detecting any movement within the premises trigger an alarm.
While showcasing the prototype, the RVIST student noted that he charges a fee of between Ksh20,000 and Ksh50,000 to install the detector.