• The RAN 11th Innovation Garage

    The 11th Innovation Garage guided by the Theme “Catalyzing Engineering Solutions” was hosted by Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) on Friday May 27, 2016 at the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab) on Plot 30 Upper Kololo Terrace in Kampala, Uganda.

    The Innovation Garage is a multi-disciplinary platform that supports home grown engineering solutions and through these monthly sessions the RAN Team hopes to support locally developed and groomed innovative solutions that will transcend nations. With its vibrant partnership with Innovation Consortium Limited in Uganda, it gives innovators access to not only expertise but also an Engineering Workshop where they can make use of the state of the art machinery to sort out all welding and prototyping needs.

    This garage featured two new innovations: FISTApp and the Q- Ultra Wireless App. The FISTApp (Fistula Application) a piece of software technology to predetermine the chances of obstructed labour through the automatic computation of the mother’s data to detect signs of possible complications they might be exposed to during labour while Q-Ultra Wireless App. a cost effective, handheld, portable Ultrasound scanner that works hand in hand with a mobile phone application to display ultrasound images.

    The garage session started out with an interactive introduction hearing where all the participants were asked to introduce themselves and to mention one unique fact about either their character or hobbies. This session was moderated by the garage Vice President, Grace Nakibaala, who later shared the objectives of the garage beefing this up with examples of some innovations that have previously been featured during the garage sessions. She also remarked, ‘’the garage is a place that will incubate your ideas and innovations by providing you with a platform to receive effective feedback and quick fixes. Some of the innovations that have been featured at previous garages have been able to build up and revamp their innovations and are now either on the market or on their way there. ‘’

    The first pitch was by Q-Ultra wireless app team who from the feedback received discovered that a lot more research needed to be done on the innovation in terms of the total costs that would be incurred to their first prototype, its advantages over the current existing solutions and the innovation machinery specifications.  

    The second pitch was by the FISTApp team who already have a working prototype for their innovation. Their major challenge was that the mathematical model that was being used to calculate percentage risk is still not able to work at 100% efficiency. During the brainstorming and feedback session the innovators were able to interact with Dr. Joshua Ssebuliba, a Gynecologist at Mulago hospital, who pointed out to them that in order to attain more accuracy and efficiency of their mathematical model they had to go back to the drawing board and redefine the problem they were solving to ensure that all factors that lead to obstructed labour are considered when implementing the mathematical model.

    It was also a privilege to host a team from HiiL-Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law, Nairobi Kenya led by Ms. Evelyn Wangui   who shared about a Call Opportunity on Innovating in Justice. Her presentation highlighted the following key aspects;

    • HiiL-Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law objective which is to help turn promising ideas into effective technologies.
    • Their Alumni including mSME Garage based in Uganda whose objective is to empower SME’s to run legit businesses while supporting them to acquire the necessary legal structures and registration certificates.
    • The Innovation Justice 2016 challenges which are in two main categories-SME Empowerment and Family Justice. The criteria for qualification includes: uniqueness, solution meeting an existing need and potential for scalability. Up to Euro 160,000 available to further support promising innovations. The platform is open to innovations at all stages (including solid ideas).The selection phases include: shortlisting, online voting, crowdsourcing and a final decision by a judging panel after a pitch at the Hague. This platform is open till June 30, 2016. For more information on the Call for Justice Innovations 2016 visit www.innovatingjustice.com.

    After the innovation presentations and feedback sessions, Paul Omare who is working on an innovation of the  improved Sewing Machine, which will be featured in the RAN 12th Innovation Garage  shared with the participants a preview/ snapshot of his project. This was in an effort to prepare participants for the next garage and to have something exciting to look forward to as the innovation is already at a Prototype stage.

    This garage session came to a close with a brief report shared by the innovator working on the IC Sprinkler which was featured in the RAN 10th Innovation Garage session. He had this to say, ‘’Thank you very much for the feedback I received at the last garage. The IC Sprinkler has been modified and is now on the market for farmers across the country to buy.’’

    Don’t miss the RAN 12th Innovation Garage session scheduled Friday June 24, 2016 starting 5:00 pm EAT and remember to come with a friend, colleague in-law, neighbour among others  preferably female for we are all working together to further contribute to involving more females in science, technology and innovation. In doing so, we will not miss the spice which these females come along with. See you all at the end of the month of June, 2016.

    “Solutions through Innovation”





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