President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged young Kenyan scientists to expend their energies wisely and remain focused on cutting-edge innovations that will help thrust Kenya into global scientific stardom.
The President challenged the budding scientists, engineers and innovators to entrench Kenya’s position as a hub for innovation and creativity in the sciences and technology.
“… let me reiterate to our young scientists, engineers, mathematicians and innovators, you are fortunate to be young and vibrant in a time of immense opportunity.
“Use your energies wisely and remain focused. Through hard work, discipline and consistency, and heeding the wise counsel of your mentors; there is no limit to what you can achieve,” President Kenyatta said.
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The President spoke Tuesday when he opened the 2020 Young Scientists Kenya National Science and Technology Exhibition that was conducted online.
President Kenyatta said that as the patron of Young Scientists Kenya (YSK), he was proud of the remarkable way youngsters have adapted to the challenging circumstances occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By moving this exhibition online, you have shown the vibrancy of digital technology and its ability to offer safe solutions to pressing challenges,” President Kenyatta said.
He expressed satisfaction that students from 22 counties, drawn from public and private schools in rural, urban, and ASAL regions, participated in the virtual event.
The President emphasized the need to promote inclusivity in terms of participation by girls and young women, young persons living with disabilities and those living in rural areas and the ASALs.
“I am encouraged to note that the participants represent the full spectrum of our diversity. But particularly heartening is the participation of two special needs schools despite this year’s constraints, demonstrating disability is not inability,” he said.
Tanvi Hirani and Iyad Taher with their Universal Healthcare System, were crowned the overall Young Scientists Kenya winners. They travelled to Dublin, Ireland last January, to take part in the British Telecom Young Scientists Ireland Exhibition.
Brenda Kithinji and Sophia Ndunge, with their Home-made Lift Pump Project finished as overall runners-up.
“I salute the two young ladies, Brenda and Sophia, for demonstrating that our womenfolk can excel in any profession; that the science field is not a preserve for men,” the President said.
The Head of State also congratulated David Mugo and Daniel Maithya, from Machakos Boys High School, for their road-based electrical generator innovation as well as Isaac Muendo and Kimani Kamau from Nova Pioneer Boys School who created the state-of-the-art cybersecurity software.
The two outstanding innovations are currently being reviewed for intellectual property protection by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
The President also commended Ahmed Lukman, who came up with a “Voting App” which promise to increase the efficiency, security and transparency of the country’s electoral process.
“This innovation impressed not only the Young Scientists Kenya judges but also the panel of investors on KCB’s Lions’ Den; earning Lukman an award from Young Scientists Kenya and a commitment of support from Kenyan business leaders,” the President observed.
The Head of State noted that the success stories presented at the exhibition should serve as a continuing inspiration to the country as they show the importance of nurturing young people and affording them platforms to showcase their talent, ideas and innovations.
Dr Kevit Desai, the Principal Secretary Vocational and Technical Education (TVET) also spoke during the opening session where young people shared their innovation journeys in science and technology.