They say innovation comes out of great human ingenuity and very personal passion. Kenyans have come up with mind-blowing innovations that solve day-to-day challenges. It is for these innovations that Kenya is recognized as the Silicon Valley of Africa. The country is among 17 middle and lower-income economies that perform better on innovation than their peers.
Below are innovations by Kenyans that have changed some lives.
At 25-years, Roy Allela invented Sign-10, a pair of smart gloves with flex sensors that convert sign language movements into audio. Behind this innovation, according to Roy was the dire need to communicate with his 6-year-old niece who was born deaf.
The flex sensors are placed on each finger aids in quantifying the letters formed from the curve of each finger of the glove’s wearer.
The gloves are then connected to a mobile app (he also developed) through BlueTooth which then converts the sign into audio speech.
“My niece wears the gloves, pairs them to her phone or mine, then starts signing and I’m able to understand what she’s saying,” says Allela.
After watching his Maasai community fighting with lions to protect livestock, Richard Turere,11, invented Lion Lights to make peace with the wild beasts.
To keep the lions away from livestock shade, Turere made a fence around the pen with a basic solar-powered light system that mimics the movement of a person using a torch to guard the herd.
The passion for innovation in the young boy was birthed through breaking electronics, including his mother’s new radio, and fixing them. He has been featured in global platforms including TED Talk.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a global crisis but mostly affects the Arabic and African nations. World Health Organization, More than 200 million girls and women worldwide have gone through the cut which ‘signifies’ transition to womanhood.
However, the cut means that girls have to drop out of school and become wives. This prompted teenagers at Kisumu Girls High School to invent an app called i-Cut.
The application connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already undergone the process. It also provides information about the negative effects on girls health.
The first kind of its own, sending and receiving money through the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card has been achieved only in Kenya. This innovation that is more than a decade old has turned SIM cards into a bank account.
The innovation developed by Safaricom solved the everyday problem of sending money from one person to another in a matter of seconds. This innovation has received revenue of billions of shillings as each year pass adding value to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
5. Solar Tiles
In the 1990s, after the country experienced a 16-hour blackout, two siblings, Charity Wanjiku and Tony Nyaga birthed solar tiles.
The two, an architect and an engineer wanted to use their skills to introduce a quick solution to the power outage that were frequent at that time. The two who currently are at an African Innovative Company first pitched their innovative idea for their master’s degree and received commendations.
Further giant innovative company Tesla has had the same innovation which came ten years later after the two siblings birthed it.