One thing stood out last week during the ‘Hands on the Future’ show in Nairobi as young innovators showcased their skills: With nature and innovations, nothing goes to waste.
The exhibitions at KICC, Nairobi, promoted the pursuit of technical and vocational skills where students and instructors from various Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and stakeholders demonstrated their capabilities.
Many inventions that sent curious attendants trooping to stalls revolved around the use of renewable energy, use of organic products, environmental conservation and curbing wastage.
And in line with the extended ban on logging by the Ministry of Environment, many innovators demonstrated how they have adjusted to the need to conserve trees and reduce climate change and promote food security.
A metallic swing table that could be folded into a shelf to reduce unnecessary waste of space fascinated visitors, including secondary school students who attended the event. The innovation by students of Matuu Technical Training Institute in Machakos County demonstrated the value of space and multitasking.
“We encourage the use of metallic materials and board from recycled wood and paper to protect our forests from destruction. We need to be custodians of environmental protection,” explained Dennis Wambua, a student at the institution.
Similarly, Kenya Technical Trainers College (KTTC) utilised renewable energy with their portable solar cooker that innovators said was invented to reduce the use of firewood in cooking during the day.
“The technology uses glasses and mirrors to cook. Light bounces back but heat is retained for cooking. The mirrors converge heat and drains the energy to cooking pot,” explained exhibitor and student Fortunas Gisemba.
KTTC also showcased a vegetable solar dryer which also addresses food insecurity by reducing wastage.
The innovation is designed to dry vegetables chopped into small sizes without losing nutrients and original colours.
“During the rainy season, there is an oversupply of vegetables that usually go into waste. With this technology, you can add value by preserving and using them in future,” said Mercy Cherotich, an exhibitor and diploma student in general agriculture.
Solar energy was also shown to be essential in the purification of salty water by innovators from Don Bosco Technical Institute in their solar desalination module.
A solar panel is locally made from a combination of glass, metal and piece of black fabric. Water is channeled through the solar panel which heats the water and turns it into vapour that evaporates and collects at a platform then drains into a reservoir.
Salt remains and drains into another layer where it is used for other purposes.
“We realised that many people and institutions end up abandoning borehole water because of its saltiness. Now we can step in and ensure that you have what you need using renewable energy,” said Deogratias Inyasi.
Inyasi explained that one solar panel can generate more than five litres of water per day as maximum efficiency depends on the number of panels used and the demand for pure water. “We are researching further on how to do it better than it is at the moment,” stated Inyasi.
Students from PC Kinyanjui Technical Training Institute illustrated how egg shells and banana peels are used to make organic fertiliser. Crushed eggs shells can also serve as food supplement.
“The waste materials are dried and crushed to make fertiliser. Egg shells are rich in calcium while banana manure has magnesium, phosphorus and nitrogen.
“The two can be mixed to get composite manure,” revealed Kelvin Otieno, applied biology student at the institute.
Also, Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology (RVIST) excited attendants with their creation of natural bathing soap from a mixture of sweet potatoes, aloe vera, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
They also showed naturally made disinfectants consisting of sodium sulphate, carotene, salts, lemon and enriched with pine perfume.
The exhibition was launched by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Gender and Youth Affairs CS Prof Margaret Kobia on behalf of Deputy President William Ruto, who was the chief guest but was out of the country. The Standard Group is one of the partners in the initiative.
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