Eco-friendly Carriage Bags Project takes JKUAT Student to Hult Finals

Brian Were pitching his innovative project

A First Year student pursuing Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy in the Department of Physics, will represent the University at the 10th Annual Hult Prize Regional Finals to be held in Nairobi, between April 19th and 20th this year.

The regional finals accords the participants an opportunity to showcase their social enterprise, with the prospects of advancing to the global finals and win $1 million in funding. It is also a chance to meet like-minded social entrepreneurs from around the world and bring that experience back to their country, campus and community.

The annual competition which is organized by the Bill Clinton Foundation, supports and sponsors academia as well as extend sponsorship to innovative university students all over the world with ideas that have community based problem solutions.

Brian Were, who beat 11 other innovative students who participated on Campus Edition in November 2018, under the 2018/2019 competition themed: Creating Opportunities for 10,000 Young People, was declared victorious for his Begi Bora Solutions project, which focuses on recycling disposable used baby diapers to produce eco-friendly carriage bags and seedlings propagation sleeves.

Eco-friendly bag developed by Were and team

The student says he was impelled to follow through this project after the government banned the use of plastic bags in Kenya, when he realized there would be a market niche interns of carriage mechanism.

“I wanted to provide a carriage mechanism to replace the plastic bags in use in the expense of conserving the environment,” said Were.

The budding innovator who had to incorporate two other partners –  Ian Cecil Odhiambo, a 3rd Year BSc. Renewable Energy and Environmental Physics student who helps in the development of the project, and Priscilla Wangui, also a 3rd Year BSc. Agribusiness and Economics student who assists as a financial manager and adviser –  attributes his success to his lecturer, Dr. Churchill Saoke. He says, Dr. Saoke has been a motivating factor and instrumental in the development of the project through the Tech Innovation entrepreneurship training.

Were’s innovation prowess has previously won him other awards which include: The Kenya National Innovation Agenda under the environment, water and sanitation category, organized by the Ministry of Education in 2018, My Little Big Thing – SDG innovation competition, organized by MK Africa in collaboration with the Cambridge University of Sustainability of Leadership and Business, South Africa.

A demonstration of how the eco-friendly carrier bag can be used.

He was a finalist at the Youth Empowerment Initiative Programme Governor’s  Stand up Challenge which was organized by the Youth Empowerment  Initiative Programme in Mombasa County.

While commenting on Were’s achievement, Dr. Saoke said his story would certainly inspire other students to put more effort in innovation.  The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student movement for social good, each year welcoming college and university students from all over the world to compete and show their talents.

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