JKUAT through the College of Engineering and Technology and the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) have opened discussions on how to partner in the development, production and improvement of mobility aids. This was instituted when a team of Engineers from the College led by the Acting Principal Dr. Eng. Hiram Ndiritu through the auspices of iPIC sub-taskforce of the Africa-ai-JAPAN Project visited the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) head office and workshops in Westlands, Nairobi on Tuesday 22nd June 2021.
Mr. Anthony Nzuki, the Chief Executive Officer of APDK welcomed the team from JKUAT and intimated his organization was privileged to have a delegation of Engineers visit them. He expressed confidence that through collaborating with JKUAT engineers, APDK would enhance its mandate of provision of mobility devices both in quality and also in quantity. Mr. Nzuki also pointed out that given the task they have ahead, there was need for them to be innovative and thus needed expert partners.
“It’s only in the University that necessary research can be undertaken on the devices we are currently making in our workshops in order to improve them to meet the needs of our consumers.” Said Mr. Nzuki.
“We have no capacity both in human resource and capital resource to drive research and that’s why I am glad you are here to help us leverage both your expertise and your research capabilities. This will help us bridge the gap of demand and what we currently are able to supply as well as improve on the quality and meeting the needs of the users of our products.” An elated Mr. Nzuki added.
The organization’s Head of Programs, Mr. Benson Kiptum then gave an elaborate presentation of APDK’s outlook both in structure and their undertakings by which they impact on the physically challenged in Kenya and also in other East African countries.
While giving his opening remarks, Dr. Eng. Ndiritu who is also the chairperson of the iPIC sub-taskforce, thanked Africa-ai-JAPAN Project office for enabling the link with APDK through Industrial linkage initiative. He also thanked Mr. Nzuki and his team in APDK for welcoming the idea of technical partnership and also cordially receiving the team from JKUAT.
Dr. Eng. Ndiritu decried the disconnect between the academia and the industry, pointing out that the universities have been indicted for being up the tree with their research and innovations leaving the industry yarning for fruits to fall down the tree in the form of solutions to the challenges they face. He pledged a commitment that through iPIC, APDK would reap from the rich technical capacity from JKUAT to enhance their capability as well us up the quality of their products. Dr. Eng. Ndiritu also pointed out that JKUAT has the capacity to facilitate Intellectual Property (I.P.) right protection on APDK products as well as Quality Management Systems (Q.M.S.) expertise to ensure their products and services will be wholesome.
To strengthen the collaboration further, the College Acting Principal requested APDK through the CEO Mr. Nzuki to offer JKUAT engineering students industrial attachment opportunities within their workshops.
In closing, after the team from JKUAT was taken round the workshops and other facilities within APDK, there were precise points of reference that were agreed to form the base upon which the partnership should commence which were:
1.Follow-up on Memorandum Of Understanding.
2.Come up with Capacity Building Initiatives among them development of Short Courses on both Production and Usage of mobility devices.
3.JKUAT team to work on issues identified for improvement and development among them:
- Motorization of the devices.
- Development of Soft designs using Engineering Software.
- Standardization of products.
- Safety concern of the Devices.
- Alternative cost-effective material.
- Strong but light materials for the different mobility aids.
- Need for development of portable devices.