Ngugi displays the simple village radio that he has innovated. The radio is turning around the lives of villagers in a small sleepy village in Subukia.
The extraordinary true story of a Kenyan youngster and his sister who transformed their village by building a Frequency Modulation Radio transmitter has captured the imagination of both local and international community. Twenty-year-old Peter Ngugi and his sister Naomi Wanjiru aged 22 who built a portable radio station out of junk- capable of sending signals within a radius of 8 square kilometers have already toured Sweden courtesy of Hand in Hand a local nongovernmental organisation, granting them the impetus to pitch their idea to stakeholders for support. Self-taught Ngugi who has been feted as a creative innovator has mounted the portable radio station using wood and electronic waste-copper wires, plastic and mother boards of condemned conventional radios in the village. His against-all-odds achievements are all the more remarkable considering he was forced to quit school aged 13 at Standard Eight because his family could no longer afford fees. When he and his sister retreated to their parents’ small farm in Subukia some 20 kilometers North of Nakuru town their future seemed limited. But this was not another tale of African potential thwarted by poverty. The then teenagers had a dream of bringing relevant educative, informative and entertaining messages to their village. His sister has been instrumental in collecting electronic trash and plastic waste that he uses in his experiments. READ : SERIAL KENYAN INNOVATOR MAKES FLYING CAR Unable to attend school, Ngugi kept up his education by using a local library. Fascinated by science, his life changed one day when he picked up a discarded electronic mother board. His interest was spurred on how the circuit worked and that was the beginning of many trials and experiments. When not helping his family farm maize, he plugged away at his prototype, working by the light of a paraffin lamp in the evenings. But his ingenious project met blank looks in his community of about 3000 people. “Many, including his close acquaintances, thought he was going crazy,” he recalls. Villagers were further perplexed at the youngster and his sister spending so much time scouring rubbish pits.
Ngugi displays the simple village radio that he has innovated. The radio is turning around the lives of villagers in a small sleepy village in Subukia.
IME FM assembled in three years, transmits the messages on an unregistered 108.0 FM in a village of 3000. READ : KQ HITS TURBULENCE ON MUCH HYPED NEW YORK FLIGHT Ngugi says the FM community radio that hardly weighs five kilograms and measures not more than 40 square centimeters can help broadcast marketing, security and other public service messages within its scope. On her part, Wanjiru says she has been using the radio to sensitise neighbours on the essence of keeping their environment clean. She wants to continue using the radio to reach out to her village mates in her spirited bid for a village that is free of plastic waste. Wanjiru is determined to sensitise listeners in her broadcast area to recycle, reuse and reduce plastic and e-waste. The duo has perfected recycling of electronic parts and plastic to make devices that can provide practical solutions to common problems afflicting urban dwellers. The youthful innovators have showcased their talents at various expos including an innovation exposition at Nyayo Gardens sponsored by County government of Nakuru. READ : NAKURU BEST INVESTMENT DESTINATION IN KENYA Launching the expo Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui pledged to provide innovators like Ngugi and Wanjiru the desired leverage to provide solutions to local problems while enabling young innovators live of their ingenuity. He said his government has already allocated Kshs150 million over the next five years to expand innovation and training of talented youth in a bid to make them competitive on the national and global stage. Besides funding, the governor called on youth to apply for relevant courses in seven youth polytechnics in the county for vocational training where qualified tutors will use ample resources at the facilities to horn their skills and make them competitive. Ngugi and Wanjiru can only keep counting on the governor`s promise to boost their quest for a community radio which they say is an idea whose time has come. Just like other young innovators in the County, they feel innovation provides infinite possibilities to a country that is still at the conceptualization phase of development and with ambitious goals in technology. SEE ALSO : STANDARD IN STRATEGY TO REEL IN DIGITAL READERS


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