President celebrates youth for exemplary innovations

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta tours exhibition booths by young Kenyan techies at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani, Taita Taveta county recently. Photo/PD/FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday celebrated young Kenyans for their innovation and challenged youths to rise to the occasion and provide solutions to problems.

They include former Shinyalu MP Japheth Shamalla, Michael Mwaisakenyi and Ken Gicira who are engineering students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Roy Allela, an innovator.

 The President singled out the four saying they had come up with ideas that had helped their communities with the MP drafting a critical policy paper while a young man.

While challenging the youth to rise to the occasion and come up with innovations that could solve some of the county’s key challenges, Uhuru pointed out the independence Cabinet was dominated by young people.

 “Did you know that the first draft of Sessional Paper Number 10 of 1965, which became the blue print vision of our economy, was written by a 29-year-old technocrat known as Japheth Shamalla?”  he posed.

Shamalla, lawyer, is a former MP for Shinyalu and a stalwart of the struggle for multi-party democracy who was once detained by former President Daniel Moi.

Defected from party

He is remembered as one of the four opposition MPs including Javan Omani, Ben Magwagwa and Tom Obondo who in 1994  defected from their parties to Kanu.

The first three, all from Ford Asili, won back their seats on Kanu tickets but Obondo from Ford Kenya lost the seat to his former party.

 Mwaisakenyi and Ken Gicira, were celebrated for creating an automated weeding robot to help farmers eliminate the need for herbicides in their crops.

The robot uses artificial intelligence to discriminate between weeds and crops.

The innovation has a robotic arm for weeding in-between the crop row and a plough-like weeding tool that is dragged by the robot as it passes in between the rows of crops to remove inter-row weeds.

 “This innovation emerged winner of the 2020 Imagine Cup, beating teams from across nine European, Middle Eastern and African countries.

The innovation is scheduled for presentation at the Imagine World Championship in Seattle, Washington State,” said the President.

 For her part, Allela, holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Microprocessor Technology and Instrumentation, from the University of Nairobi, invented gloves that she could use to communicate with his deaf niece.  

According to the President, the 25-year-old engineer had provided sought to provide a solution when confronted with a challenge.

“He had a problem to solve and he did not shy away from it. After many experiments, he finally managed to create a pair of smart gloves that helped him communicate with his deaf niece,” he said during his Mashujaa Day address.

The gloves have flex sensors that help the deaf wearer, communicate and vocalise messages to a mobile phone through Bluetooth.

 “By solving the problem of his six-year old niece, Allela has created a solution that will help thousands of deaf people globally.

This innovation has won the Hardware Trailblazer Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Roy was also the second runner-up for the Royal Academy of Engineering Leaders in Innovation,” noted Uhuru.

The President also celebrated a team of over 800 youths, credited their involvement in delivery of National Wide Airborne Geophysical Survey, the Geospatial Project, the Cyber Project, Drones and the National Security Industrial Project.

“These young innovators not only delivered high quality of work, they also did so at a fraction of the set cost.

For example, in respect to the mapping of our national resources under the National Airborne Geophysical Survey Project, a private firm had quoted to do it at a cost of Sh30 billion, but our team of young professionals have programmed to do the job at a cost of Sh4 billion. The project is at 70 percent completion,” said Uhuru.

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