A Business Information Technology (BBIT) alumnus from JKUAT has become the First runner up of the Third Annual Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge, winning Kshs. 7.5 Million (US$ 75,000) according to the Cisco Innovation Challenge website, May 20, 2019.
Dysmus Kisilu who is the founder of Solar Freeze, an initiative for smallholder farmers to effectively deal with postharvest loss through a holistic approach from storage to transportation and selling produce by using renewable energy faced stiff competition from formidable candidates.
The challenge is geared towards recognizing new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from student entrepreneurs around the world and is open to students and recent alumni from any college or university.
The prize money aims to help accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.
Since 2016, Kisilu has worked with over 3,000 rural smallholder farmers in Kenya with the focus being to reduce post-harvest losses through solar powered cold rooms as well as zero energy cool chambers.
Passionate about African economic growth, development and poverty eradication, Kisilu attests that climate change has really affected small holder farmers in developing countries especially for fresh produce such fruits and vegetables with over 45% going to waste.
He attributes this to the unreliability of local electricity supplies, the expense of conventional coolers, and the lack of technical expertise for the installation and maintenance hence the establishment of his initiative.