A team of engineers from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and the Association of Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) have opened discussions to explore areas where experts from the university and the association can leverage on their collective synergy for the benefit of the stakeholders.
One of the activities could be the fabrication of cost effective and accessorizing modern mobility devices to suit the needs of their users.
This was one of the key highlights of discussions held, Tuesday, June 22, 2021 during a courtesy call by JKUAT to APDK offices in Nairobi, aimed at identifying viable partnership areas where gaps have been manifested especially in the technical field where JKUAT could offer expertise through the Africa-ai-Japan Project’s Innovation Prototyping and Integrated Centre (iPIC) sub-task force.
The areas of partnership are set to be formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding that will be jointly executed by the two parties once the partnership areas have been concretized.
Some of the key areas the university is ready to offer its expertise on include; diversification and modification of wheel chairs to achieve compactness for portability, motorization of mobility devices using green energy and improvement of their breaking systems, reducing cost of production using locally sourced materials and capacity building among others.
During the meeting, APDK revealed that a research conducted by the Association showed that they have challenges addressing the gaps between the demand of mobility devices from people with mobility disability and what the association can produce annually.
APDK Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Anthony Nzuki said, a partnership with JKUAT will be a welcome boost to his organization aspiration to inject more innovativeness in their efforts to reach more people with mobility disability particularly in the rural areas.
Mr. Nzuki stated that his overall vision for APDK is to produce enough mobility devices for both local usage and exports to other neighboring countries.
While lauding the university for showing a keen interest in partnering with industry, Mr. Nzuki stated that the partnership will go a long way in bridging the gap between research and development.
The Acting Principal, College of Engineering and Technology, Dr. Hiram Ndiritu who led the visiting team, thanked Africa-ai-Japan project for leading the initiative of addressing pressing thematic needs.
Dr. Ndiritu reiterated that JKUAT is “committed to bridging the gap between academia and research in order to find a common ground to meet each other’s needs, while creating substantial and sustainable solutions for both industry and academia.”
Other than technical expertise, Dr. Ndiritu stated that JKUAT is also keen on providing consultation regarding Intellectual Property Rights through the University’s Directorate of Intellectual Property Management and University-Industry Liaison.
Dr. Shohei Aoki, Prof. Christopher Kanali and Mr. Daniel Omondi and other engineers from the iPIC sub-task force, were present during the discussions.