Thursday April 6th, 2017 saw the 2nd Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab) Resilience Innovation Acceleration Program (RIAP) Innovation Exhibition Round 2 happen at Makerere University Main Campus. This was aimed at harnessing the already existing potential in form of working and tested models but also physically interacting with the tangible prototypes. This exhibition brought together 29 innovations that had been shortlisted from the over 100 later cleaned out to 65 initial applicants. The 29 innovations were spread across RAN thematic areas of focus including; health, Agriculture, Livelihood and Education. Just after the morning downpour, the exhibition kicked off at 9:00am EAT at the University main building grounds attracting 317 participants. The exhibition was graced by 7 multidisciplinary judges who selflessly sieved through each of the innovator pitches critically understanding how the prototypes operates but also the value add to communities. ”It is fulfilling to interact with all these innovators with their prototypes in this exhibition. This is how much Uganda is endowed with real solutions to most of the challenges facing the communities. ‘We all need to embrace and support these innovators to realize their creativeness for the benefit of those in need’, shared Ms. Annet Kandole, from CARE Uganda the Lead Judge at the exhibition. Braving the harsh weather (heavy on and off rainfall), the exhibition was well coordinated by Ms. Hariet Adong, RAN Communications Manager, Dr. Julius Ssentongo, EA RILab Program Coordinator, Ms. Anne Burugu, EA RIlab Administrator and Mr. Ronald Kayiwa EA RILab Innovation Officer.
The exhibition that ran up to 5:30 pm was well attended by the University community including students; faculty and support staff that freely interacted with the exhibitors to better understand what community challenges their innovations were addressing. Due to the big number of exhibitors, the judges of the day did not have enough time to tally and declare the winners. Ms. Harriet Adong, requested the exhibitors to be patient for at least the next 1 to 2 weeks when the judges’ verdict would come through and that would be communicated on mail and telephone. The then selected innovations would meet a team of experts to further delineate what their prototypes would do to address the different resilience issues. The exhibition was adjourned on a high note with awarding the ‘People’s Choice’ best exhibitor that had been voted for on an online platform https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=https://fans.vote/vote/ACoZOwdP8rE/resilient-africa-network/choose-your-best-project-at-the-ran-exhibition&source=gmail&ust=1493278194262000&usg=AFQjCNGN6j54pHWqKwnfA0exAEN76YTG4Q by all the innovation exhibition participants and the general public. The MamaOpe-Pnuemnia kit Innovators scooped this award after receiving an overwhelming number of votes.
Following the innovation exhibition, on Thursday April 20, 2017, 20 innovative teams joined in a live 10 minutes pitch each at the RAN Innovation Lab where the top 5-10 most transformative solutions will be selected. These will receive between USD7,500 and 15,000 only to further support scaling of their solutions. ‘Let us critically analyze what these innovators are doing, ensure that their proposed solutions have the potential to positively impact target communities almost immediately and support them to achieve this’ shared Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health and RAN Chief of Party as he addressed the external judges at RAN. One of the judges, Diana Nandagire Ntamu, Makerere University Business School while leading Panel 1 through the vetting exercise noted that ‘For me, I see a lot of potential at RAN, different new ideas emerge all the time and so whenever I am called upon to join them in vetting some of the innovative solutions, I willingly join the team’. Wishing all the teams best of luck as we strive to transform the communities!
‘Solutions through Innovation’