The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has announced the top 10 nominees who will be contending for the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), to be awarded in Accra, Ghana on 18th July 2017. Innovators from nine African countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe have been shortlisted for the prestigious Prize.
This year’s innovators have demonstrated incredible proficiency through innovative solutions addressing challenges in agriculture value chain, health care, energy, communications, service industries as well as surveillance using drone technology.
This year’s cream of the crop underwent a rigorous selection process by a renowned panel of judges including corporate, academia, technology and scientific experts representing top African innovation influencers.
“We are pleased to share with you the names of our IPA2017 nominees as we continue on our mission to catalyse the innovation spirit and unlock untapped potential in Africa. For the first time, this year’s nominees include innovators from Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Zimbabwe. Moreover, given the instrumental role African women play in transforming Africa, it is thrilling to see more women among the 10 nominees with game changing innovations. By providing platforms to recognize innovation excellence in Africa and mobilizing for African innovators, we continue to live up to our credo of engaging, inspiring and transforming. The inspiring stories of these nominees remind us that innovation and African-led solutions are indeed the answer to Africa’s growth and prosperity.” said Walter Fust, AIF Chairman of the Board.
Now celebrating its sixth year under the theme “African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity”, IPA is the premier innovation initiative in the African continent, offering a grand share-prize of US$185 000 and incentives to spur growth and prosperity in Africa through home-grown solutions.
IPA has seen tremendous growth in applications and increasing interest from both innovators and innovation enablers over the years. To date, IPA has attracted more than 7500 innovators from 52 African countries, making it a truly Pan African initiative. IPA 2017 edition witnessed a record number of entries from over2530innovatorsacross 48 African countries. The Foundation has supported past winners and nominees with approximately US$ 1 million to move their innovations forward. Due to exposure generated by IPA, past winners have gone on to secure over US$30million in investments to grow and scale their businesses
“Over the years, IPA has stimulated impactful and market-oriented innovations aiming at changing lives and transforming Africa. In this sixth edition, we want to promote more investment in home-grown innovations as well as intra-African collaboration and trade to allow the scaling up of viable innovations across borders. We’re excited for the opportunity to work with our partners to ensure the innovations of the 10 nominees will be available to African markets and beyond. We invite you to join us and unlock the potential of African innovators, starting by investing in these 10 nominees.” said Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, IPA Director.
AIF will host the IPA 2017awards ceremony and its second Innovation Ecosystems Connector on 17 and 18 July in Accra, Ghana. Here are the nominees:
Innovations in communications and smart solutions
1. Peris Bosire, Kenya: FarmDrive
FarmDrive is a financial technology company that has developed a mobile phone based application that collects data and provides an alternative risk assessment model for small holder farmers. While the continent remains largely dependent on agriculture, one of the biggest challenges facing smallholder farmers is access to credit or finance. Most financial institutions are reluctant to grant credit to farmers because their risk assessment models flag small farmers as being very risky. FarmDrive has developed a new methodology for assessing credit worthiness of farmers that has led to higher acceptance rate of loan applications by farmers while maintaining a very low default rate. This could have the effect of significantly boosting agricultural production on the continent while helping financial institutions cost effectively increase their agricultural loan portfolios.
2. Nokwethu Khojane, South Africa: Lakheni, Turning Social Capital into Buying Power
Lakheni is a social and business model innovation which seeks to aggregate low-income households into buying-groups in order to negotiate favourable discounts for goods and services supplied to these households. Most poor people end up paying for goods and services at a unit price that is usually much higher than the unit price paid by other people with more disposable income. This is because as goods and services are packaged into smaller and smaller units to make them affordable, they become less economically efficient and end up costing higher than if one was to buy in bulk or in larger units. In essence, thepoor end up paying a poverty premium. Lakheni solves this problem by aggregating poor households into a buyer’s market by leveraging mobile technology.
3. Omolabake Adenle, Nigeria: Voice Recognition and Speech Synthesis Software for African Languages
This is a software solution that can understand and digitize spoken African languages, and synthesize speech from African languages presented as digitized text. Digitizing African languages in this way allows Africans to interact with hardware devices such as mobile phones, and digital services such as call-center applications by speaking their local language. The software can be integrated into a wide range of devices and third-party software applications. While voice recognition and speech synthesis software have been developed for various Western and Asian languages, there has been very limited commercial application or academic research for African languages. The difficulty lies in modelling tonality present in most African languages and limited data resources for language modelling. This innovation opens up opportunities for Africans with low literacy levels to also enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution.
4. Nzola Swasisa, Democratic Republic of Congo: Lokole
Lokole, is a device that enables access to efficient email communication anywhere with cellular coverage at a price that is one hundred to one thousand times cheaper than accessing email via regular cellular bandwidth costs. Lokole achieves this firstly by creating a shareable local area network where up to a hundred users within a 25 meters’ radius can access the network and share the costs. Secondly, it contains advanced algorithms that compress email and also schedules uploads and downloads of data to when data bundles costs are at their cheapest. Costs per user could be as little as $0.01/person/day. More than 71% of the African population doesn’t have access to efficient communications. Lokole solves this communication problem and enables many communities to access efficient communication for the first time. Applications of Lokole include: health (remote-doctor), education (remote-teacher), commerce (purchase orders via email), business (attachment documents) and many more.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and mechanical solutions
5. Badr Idriss, Morocco: Atlan Space
Atlan Space develops software technology that is then deployed to manage the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. The software is currently tested for use in managing operations in detecting illegal or harmful maritime activity such as illegal fishing or oil spills over wide expanse areas. UAVs operated by this software can be launched and deployed into monitoring operations without having an aircraft operator. Also, by using Artificial Intelligence they are able to collect data, analyze and produce actionable reports. African governments face numerous challenges in monitoring activities and operation over wide areas. This includes border patrols, deforestation, animal poaching and maritime activity. The software allows for the deployment of UAVs at a very cost effective price without need for highly skilled human intervention and over a wide number of uses.
6. Aly El-Shafei, Egypt: Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing “SEMAJIB”
The patented innovation (SEMAJIB) presented by Dr. El-Shafei, is a smart bearing which is versatile and can change its characteristics as it operates. It consists of a magnetic bearing imbedded in an oil-filled journal bearing, thus forming the smart controllable bearing. The flooding of the bearing with oil is a game changer as the purpose of bearings has traditionally been to expel oil. There is a significant improvement in turbine performance using the SEMAJIB particularly in single line combined cycle plants, as well as conventional generator technology. The device is designed to be used to support energy generating turbines and can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs of generating energy in Africa.
Discoveries in healthcare solutions
7. Dougbeh-Chris Nyan, Liberia: New Technology for Rapid Detection of Many Infections Using Only One Test
This is a rapid diagnostic test that can detect and simultaneously differentiate at least three to seven infections at the same time within 10 to 40 minutes. In most African countries, there is a lack of sophisticated diagnostic devices and limited expertise in high-tech diagnostics. This hinders the clinical decision-making ability of healthcare providers. This test provides a solution to this clinical problem. The innovation is easy to use in any setting and particularly in rural areas. Additionally, the device is able to detect and distinguish multiple infections which bear the same symptoms for instance, when a patient has yellow fever, malaria, and Ebola. Whereas most testing methods take 3 – 7 days, this device gives test results in 10 – 40 minutes. This would provide a significant step in the detection and management of infectious diseases on the continent.
8. Olanisun Olufemi Adewole, Nigeria: Sweat TB Test, A non-invasive rapid skin test to detect Tuberculosis
Sweat TB Test, is a non-invasive rapid diagnostic test to detect tuberculosis (TB). TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death in Africa. Available methods are high tech; cannot be deployed in rural centres, dependent only sputum which sometimes may not be collectible and considered messy by patients. It is also time consuming with patients making repeated clinic visits before a diagnosis is made. Delay in diagnosis and missed diagnosis of 3million TB cases occur leading to continuous spread of the disease. Sweat TB Test leverages on TB specific marker in sweat of patients, to produce a point- of- care test to detect TB, within ten minutes, without any needle prick. In simple steps, reports are read and patients commenced on medication as needed at the same clinic visit. It has the potential to contribute towards effectively controlling TB, reduce TB related deaths and holds promise to prevent drug resistance TB in Africa.
9. Gift Gana, Zimbabwe: Dr. CADx
Dr CADx is a software solution that helps doctors and health care workers diagnose medical images more accurately. Due to the scarcity of radiologists on the continent, most medical images are read by general doctors or other health care workers who lack expertise and end up misdiagnosing more than 30% of the cases that they review. As a result, millions of patients fail to get the right treatment or the treatment is delayed leading to more complications and even death. Dr CADx uses deep learning to interpret medical images and achieve an accuracy of 82% an improvement over the 70% average for radiologists. Dr CADx is designed to work in low resource settings with poor internet connectivity opening it up for use in many rural settings in Africa.
10. Philippa Ngaju Makobore, Uganda: Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF)
The Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF) is medical device designed to accurately administer intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs by controlling the rate of fluid flow based on feedback from a drop sensor. Over 10% of children admitted to East African hospitals need immediate infusion therapy. Findings from the FEAST trial indicates that over-infusion in children increased the absolute risk of death by 3.3 % at 48 hours. Erroneous delivery rates can result into serious adverse effects. The ECGF solves this problem as it is very easy to operate and has key safety features which include alarms for rate of infusion (rapid or slow), total volume (over or under) and faulty sensors. A battery utilizing a hybrid (AC mains and solar) charging bed powers the device. The ECGF has the potential to save lives by providing accuracy and safety at 8% the cost of a brand-new infusion pump.]]>
Kenya’s Jennifer Riria to be Honoured as Model African Woman of the Year 2022 by YAWC
The Group Chief Executive Officer of Echo Network Africa (ENA), formerly Kenya Women Holding which is a woman led, women serving development institution has been nominated to be honoured at the 6th Annual Continental Convocation of the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) which is set to take place in Accra, Ghana from 2nd to 6th October, 2022 under the theme, “Network for Empowerment: Eliminating Barriers to Women’s Development”.
She will be honoured in relation to her interventions in improving the socio-economic situation of women and girls in Kenya, having been admitted into the EY Global Hall of Fame.
A special event dubbed, “Jennifer Riria Day” will be held in her honour on Tuesday 4th October within the period of the congress.
Dr Riria is distinguished as a Microfinance Banker and Practitioner, Researcher and Gender Specialist. She has led Kenya Women Finance Trust Microfinance (KWFT) Bank for over three decades, and propelled it from an unprofitable NGO to a medium sized Bank, serving low income women and their families all over the Kenya. KWFT has served over 3 million women and disbursed over US$ 3 billion over a period of 30 years. As the CEO she spearheaded the transformation of KWFT from a microfinance institution to a regulated middle-sized bank (2004-2009).
She has served in many other leadership roles both in financial, public, and health institutions for which she has been recognised locally and internationally. Dr Riria is the Patron of the Democracy Trust Fund (DTF) a semi-autonomous organization that supports and positions women to participate in democratic processes. Additionally, Dr Riria is the Chairperson of the Africa Women Leaders Network – Kenyan Chapter. Recently she re-launched the “Jennifer Riria Foundation” whose focus is to enhance young women’s leadership through innovations and connecting them with the private sector. Working with and touching people’s life is her passion. Dr. Riria served on many Boards including the Women’s World Bank Board which is an international microfinance network of microfinance institutions and banks for 21 years, which she was the Chairperson.
The “Jennifer Riria Day” will be the second in a series of events to recognise and celebrate astute women of Africa for their contributions to women empowerment for national and global impact. The first, having been conferred on the first female Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana, Hon. Akosua Frema Osei Opare in 2019. The day is specifically named after the woman proposed to be celebrated at the specific congress to leave an imprint on the minds of delegates on the achievements of the honouree.
The Young African Women Congress is a Pan-African event opened to young women of African descent. It is a platform which fosters knowledge-sharing and cultural exchanges among nations and generations. Major activities at the congress include Keynote Presentation, Panel Sessions, Career Workshops, Group Brainstorming Sessions as well as Project Story Presentations by delegates. There is also a full day trip to interesting sites to promote Africa’s heritage and tourism.
Its main objective is captured in its motto: Empowering Women for Continental Development and Integration for a Better World.
Ghana’s new dancing super-talent, Endurancegrand steps into the light with her effervescence
Dance With Purpose Academy (DWP) have established themselves as one of the best producers of dance talent on the African continent. One of their most exciting prospects emerging on the scene is Endurancegrand.
Born Endurance Dzigbordi Dedzo, the dancing queen who has been stepping gracefully to the rhythm since she was 7-years old has already performed on some of the biggest stages in the country including the VGMA, TV3, Coca Cola, Ghana Football Awards, Ghana’s Most Beautiful and most recently, The Global Citizen Festival: Accra as part of the DWP Academy collective during Usher’s show-stopping performance. To top that impressive feat, she has also worked with brands like AirtelTigo and Dark & Lovely.
Endurancegrand’s interest in dance was piqued by her brother-in-law, Joshua Rana, back when she was just a kid who loved playing football, video games and singing; and she has never looked back since. For her, dancing has never been just a job or a simple means to an end, dancing has always been the “end” itself, her north star. “I faced neglect, doubt and lost some people very close to me because I chose dance as a career but that did not stop me because I always knew what I wanted. To me, dancing is just as important as the air I breathe or the water I drink. Dancing is my life! When I step on the stage, nothing else makes sense. Only my body and the rhythms and energy it releases”, Endurance describing what dancing means to her.
The Capricorn dancer’s biggest dream is to be able to touch lives globally, travel around the world to share her knowledge to the young and old and show women around the world that they can be whatever they choose to be.
Understanding probable cause
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Global ed-tech leader releases Moodle Workplace 4.0 and a new user experience in its enterprise LMS
Today, Moodle announced the release of Moodle Workplace 4.0 and an improved user experience in its customisable enterprise learning management platform.
Emilio Lozano, Head of Workplace Solutions said, “Moodle Workplace is built on top of Moodle LMS, giving Moodle Workplace unique advantages as a platform to develop, upskill and reskill employees. In this release, we have benefited from the discovery and consultation process with the Moodle community that informed the improvements in Moodle LMS 4.0. As well as providing a better user experience, we have used the enhancements to further evolve our workplace learning tools, including rigorous testing with our end-users. In an increasingly competitive environment where learning and development is a key driver of performance and talent retention, I’m very excited about the benefits this release will provide to the L&D sector.”
The new Moodle Workplace 4.0 interface is fresh and intuitive with tabbed navigation.
Learning is prioritised through a personalised Dashboard
The Dashboard in Moodle Workplace 4.0 is simplified to display learners’ current enrolments plus a section for new available courses. Learners can see completion status at a glance, and when a learner completes a course, further courses unlocked as part of a learning path or program will appear in the “New available courses” section.
Easily navigate learning content with My Courses
There’s a new addition to the menu called “My Courses”. My Courses is a stand-alone dedicated page that summarises all the learning assigned to an employee in a learning hub, including enrolled, available or past courses.
Managers can create learning journeys for their staff by combining different courses into learning programs and learning paths. All programs, courses and course subsets are linked so that managers and employees can easily navigate within and between learning programs and courses.
Manage team performance and development
In Moodle Workplace 4.0, a new page called “My Teams” provides managers or department leads visibility into team members, including tracking employee roles, learning path progress, course completion status and certifications. Managers can generate individual or team reports obtaining insight into individual or team performance and learning program effectiveness.
Automate onboarding and streamline compliance training
The user experience improvements in Moodle Workplace 4.0 make it easier for managers to create tailored training pathways and onboard employees by automatically assigning learning and granting competencies to individuals or teams based on tailored or dynamic rules.
With automation, managers can turn learning programs into certifications to streamline compliance training or meet legislation requirements. Managers can also schedule a ‘recertification’ which can be the same Program or a different one.
Improve program efficiency by centrally managing multiple learning platforms within a single LMS site
Through multi-tenancy, Moodle Workplace 4.0 makes it straightforward for administrators and managers to support different learning audiences by creating an ecosystem of individual learning environments in a single LMS site. Each tenant can have its own look and feel, user membership, administrators, and content, and Moodle Workplace also supports content sharing across tenants.
Evaluate the impact of learning and make informed decisions
In Moodle Workplace 4.0, report builder now allows managers to build custom reports for audiences in a drag-and-drop interface with instant preview. Data insights help managers adapt and improve learning programs to drive better employee performance.
Build a seamless learning ecosystem with single sign-on and integrations
Moodle Workplace 4.0 integrates seamlessly with a wide variety of software, including HR systems and content repositories, so that L&D departments can build an ecosystem that supports their organisation.
The streamlined sign-in accommodates Single Sign-On with support a wide range of standard single sign-on providers (Google, Microsoft, Facebook) and also custom authentication plugins.
Boost employee engagement with rich and engaging learning experiences
Moodle Workplace 4.0 goes beyond the basic content features of most enterprise learning management systems. Courses are rich with activities requiring learners to actively engage with the learning content and each other in various modalities. New enhancements include BigBlueButton, the web conferencing and virtual classroom, and Appointment Booking, which allows managers to schedule group sessions or 1:1 meetings.
Contribution to open source Moodle LMS
The enhanced tools and features created for workplace learning in Moodle Workplace directly benefit the Moodle community and Moodle LMS as open source code and features. This relationship contributes to Moodle’s sustainability and allows us to continue on our journey to enable quality education in all corners of the globe, and our mission to empower educators to improve our world.
Watch the Moodle Workplace 4.0 video.
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