Kenyan innovator, scholar get top UK honours
The aura of confidence is discernible as one meets Norah Magero. Having being crowned the Royal Academy Engineering’s 2022 winner due to her ingenuity, Magero is sitting on the innovator’s pedestal.
The bubbly innovator of a solar-powered fridge – VacciBox – used for storage of vaccines, received the news on Wednesday and is still savouring the success of hard work and resilience fuelled by the desire to change the life of the rural folk.
VacciBox, she explained, is a portable cooler designed with a telescopic handle to ease mobility of vaccines, as it can be ferried even on boda bodas.
“It is uniquely made and digitally enabled. It has customised features that record temperatures, location and it can enter stocks,” she explained.
She is confident that her work is on the road to World Health Organisation (WHO) and ISO certification, in a deliberate effort to demonstrate that the country was ripe for innovation.
Being crowned the winner by the United Kingdom (UK) based Academy; the renewable energy specialist will earn slightly more than Sh3.6 million for coming up with the technology.
“We have been rewarded for developing off grid power technology that is not only affordable, portable but will address the challenges facing the rural folk, especially in vaccine storage,” opened up Ms Magero.
She is targeting to sell the coolers to the county governments, with Makueni showing willingness to purchase them, a move that has excited the engineer.
Still in the UK, a Kenyan scholar famed for having solved the London transport crisis, has once again shattered another glass ceiling.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson appointed Prof Washington Yotto Ochieng as a trustee of the Science Museum Group (SMG) for a period of four years, effective June 1.
Prof Ochieng, who heads the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College in London, will serve the SGM as an engineering and technology trustee.
SGM brings together five British museums and has pioneered interactive science interpretation for more than eight decades. The five museums include the National Railways Museum in York, the Science Museum in South Kensington, the National Science and Media Museum (formerly the National Media Museum and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television) in Bradford.
According to its website, the SGM shares its unparalleled collections spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine with over five million visitors each year.
Born in Homa Bay County 58 years ago, Prof Ochieng attended Kisumu Technical High School for both his O and A levels before he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Nairobi in 1988.
Prof Ochieng was part of the team that developed the first European navigation system.