A water engineer, former rocket scientist, and education innovators were among the finalists for the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
The four finalists are from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, and were chosen for their engineering innovations which provide solutions to local problems.
For the first time, education topped the Africa Prize list, with two innovations in the final chosen for their great potential to improve how Africans access education.
From Nigeria, systems engineer Godwin Benson developed Tuteria, an online platform that links students to qualified tutors. Users can find tutors within their budget and location to teach them to play the piano, sew clothes, learn a new language and more. Tutors also cover a range of academic subjects for a range of ages.
A Ugandan innovation, the Yaaka Digital Learning Network, developed by Africa Prize finalist Hindu Nabulumba and her team also aims to bring education to those who can’t physically access learning institutions.
Students and teachers share materials in the form of text, audio, audio-visual or video content. Online classes are held for those with internet-connected devices.
Offline versions have also been developed.
Addressing water challenges, finalist Kelvin Gacheru’s innovation is Mobi-Water, a smart solar-powered water monitoring system.
Mobi-Water sends a text message alert to up to 10 mobile numbers when water levels drop below a certain point. Users can remotely open and close valves and pumps if they want to refill the tank or redirect the water.
Finally, South African rocket scientist Andre Nel’s invention tackles water and energy issues. The Green Tower Microgrid is a hybrid, solar micro-grid solution that uses 90% less energy to heat water.
The four finalists were selected from a pool of 16 shortlisted candidates from across sub-Saharan Africa, who all received six months of training and mentorship.
The winner will be announced on 23 May 2017 in Nairobi after pitching live to the judging panel and assembled audience. The winner receives £25,000, and £10,000 is awarded to each of the runners up.