Researchers have started earning from their innovations and research projects that address problems in society.
Dr Dorothy Okello,
the director Innovations at the ResillientAfrica Network, said it is high time researchers across the country begin taking lessons from communities they are designing solutions for because the closed-minded approach to research has failed to produce appropriate local technology to address challenges in manufacturing.
She was addressing students and journalists during a tour to assess the impact of technologies which students from the Makerere University College of Design Art and Technology (CEDAT) have designed and sold to communities to address challenges of chronic conflict and climate change.
“It is good that you involve the community in research, listen to their experiences and design technology according to their specifications because what works elsewhere may not apply in another area,” she said.
Lecturers from CEDAT and students had to change the design of a rapid fruit and vegetable solar drier that was manufactured using basic principles of physics and solar energy to produce the drier.
Among innovations that are cashing in money for innovators from the University, is a solar water irrigation system which, according to Mario Wanji, the innovator, has become popular among farmers who use pumps to water their animals, crops and for domestic use in water stressed areas of Luwero and Nakasongola.
“Each pump costs Shs600,000. I have sold over 40 units since 2014 and I have another order for 24 which are yet to get complete and I deliver them to the clients,” he said.
Timothy Kayondo, another student who invented a water purification system that uses sand and ultraviolet rays to clean water, said so far, he has installed three commercial machines in Migadde Matugga and Entebbe. Each one goes for Shs7m while he has smaller units which cost Shs800,000.