Various innovations by college students in science and technology countrywide are yearning to be commercialised in order to answer to numerous challenges affecting people in relation to health, transport, agriculture and finance.
President Hakainde Hichilema last week awarded 50 youths under an innovation support fund branded Hakainde Hichilema Innovation Fund (HHIF) with support of $1,000 to each innovator.
Among the 50 students picked countrywide, five were from Ndola’s Northern Technical College (NORTEC), who have initiated various innovations which the college has started patenting.
Lusaka Times has taken time to hear from the five award winning students and to highlight their eye-catching ideas.
One of the fine young students is Alexander Gift Maseka, who has come up with a solar powered infant incubator that can safeguard newly born babies in health facilities that are not connected to the national power grid.
“This solar powered incubator that will run on DC power supply to be used in rural areas and in situations of power outages,” Maseka said in an interview.
Another student Emmanuel Shalubala has initiated a mobile application that makes it easy for people to come up with monthly household budgets by giving them up to date prices of various items available at their local markets.
“My budget application is a mobile application that helps and makes it easy for people to come up with monthly household budgets by giving them up to date prices of various items available at their local markets and also indicating the names of the shops where those items can be bought from as well as providing grocery delivery service to the users,” Shalubala remarked.
Mary Mubanga’s innovation borders on the transport sector:” It has been observed that some heavy-duty vehicles avoid the weighbridge mostly due to overloading of goods (overweight) hence avoiding payment, vehicle not being roadworthy. That’s why overloading is prohibited when a truck is overloaded, the truck’s operating performance will be strained, accelerating wear and tear on the brakes and other components.”
Mubanga’s has designed and developed a weighbridge bypass detector with a web camera monitoring system that alerts a Police station closest to the overloaded vehicle and the owner.
Alex Mulenga’s project is an innovation that uses weather data or soil moisture data to determine the irrigation needs of the landscape and maximizes the irrigation efficiency by reducing water to be used.
“The title of my project is design and implementation of the plant watering and monitoring. This is about smart farming. This innovation is an irrigation system which economises the use of underground water through climate- smart agriculture. This innovation uses weather data or soil moisture data to determine the irrigation needs of the landscape and maximizes the irrigation efficiency by reducing water wastage, while maintaining plant health and quality. This design and implementation of an automatic plant watering and monitoring system using Arduino technologies,” Mulenga stated.
Grace Samwaka has initiated an idea around electric vehicle charging.
“This is a more efficient and convenient way of charging electric vehicles as it can charge along the road, car pack land lay by. Helps reduce hazards such as electric shock possessed by old charging cables as it does not have any contacts, and there is no exposed electric connection,” she commented.
NORTEC Principal Martin Kasonso has hailed the initiatives by students while appreciating the emphasis the Government has placed on youth innovations in the science and technology sector.
Mr. Kasongo said the government has placed value on the showcased talent and innovativeness for the young people by providing an enabling environment to supplement their concepts.
He said the efforts from the government have significantly encouraged youths to utilise their talent as Zambia strives to attain sustainable economic development.
“We are grateful to President Hakainde Hichilema for recognising five of our students who excelled in various innovations they developed. As an institution we have many innovations that these students are churning out,” Mr. Kasonso said.
On skills development, Mr. Kasonso said the emphasis the Government is placing on helping students acquire life-long expertise is exciting.
NORTEC is currently training 1,266 students registered under Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from various parts of the country.
Mr. Kasonso said NORTEC is overwhelmed with the number of students registered under CDF.
He has told Radio Icengelo News in Ndola that the skills development component of CDF has provided opportunities for many youths to acquire lifelong skills.
“Many young people were failing to come to institutions like ours because they couldn’t afford the fees but when the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) opened up we saw a lot of talented young men and women who are coming to our institution to be trained,” Mr. Kasonso declared.
Zambian students are really clever. Now these inventions or projects need to be commercialized so that it becomes a money making venture at the same time assisting the community.
Great job to the students and more need to follow in their steps. Keep up the great work and it is indeed a great initiative by the President.
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