Hundreds of secondary school students attending the 13th Kenya Universities Exhibitions at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos had an opportunity to interact with and share in the experiences of JKUAT student innovators. On hand to engage the students were Lilian Maina and Joan Marita, who have just concluded their undergraduate studies in BSc. Telecommunications and Information Engineering. The two, who have developed a biometric car security solution, believe that engineering and innovation is not a preserve of men.
“Creativity and innovation is about coming up with solutions to the many problems facing society, it has nothing to do with individual sex,” Lilian says.
“In our interaction with the students, we try to open up their thinking and worldview, drawing their attention to the beauty of being a thinker and innovator,” adds Joan.
The creative duo are currently working on designs for their innovation which they believe will foster motor vehicle security while cutting down on underage driving.
Chatting heartily with another group of students were Moses Kigen and Andrew Kavugwi, both Civil engineering students. This pair with creative knack are behind Plasto Bricks, an initiative that seeks to fast track elimination of plastic wastes by turning them into building materials.
Their idea which was motivated by the desire to live in an environmentally sound ecosystems won during the JKUAT Tech Expo 5.0, in December 2014.
Kigen believes that Kenya can leverage on the talent and creativity of the youth for new ideas to transform the country.
Andrew on the other hand encouraged the secondary school students to wisely choose academic programmes at the university instead of relying on misleading counsel by relatives and friends.
“I knew I wanted to be an engineer and the university to go to. JKUAT has equipped me with skills and competencies to be independent,” says Andrew.
Finally, the students heard from Daniel Wekesa, who together with Daphne Kabeberi, both of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department developed an intelligent Wheelchair which can detect and avoid obstacles on users’ path.
Wekesa told students how university education had dramatically changed his life. He believes students who qualify for campus admission to pursue programmes of their choices in the right institutions cannot go wrong.
The final year Electrical and electronic engineering student and his counterpart believe their innovation will ameliorate the living conditions of people living with disabilities who have to rely on manual wheelchairs and attendants.
Listening to the innovators drew the students to JKUAT where they sampled different academic programmes on offer. The students were drawn from various schools including Kitui Girls, Kyanguli Girls, Mumbuni Boys, Machakos School, Lukenya Girls and Machakos Institute of Technology.
The three-day exhibitions were organized by the Commission for University Education and came to an end on Saturday March 21, 2015.