Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dozens of school-going youths are calling for regular science and technology innovation mentoring programs in various parts of the country.
The youths appealed during the ongoing science and technology innovation high-tech camp at Gulu High School. The two weeks’ camp organized by Oysters and Pearls Uganda, a Gulu based science and technology NGO has brought together more than 30 youngsters from secondary schools across the country.
The innovators assert that mentoring camps can be of a great source of creativity and inspiration, validation of ideas and provide experience sharing as well as the desired guidance through innovation processes.
One of the innovators at the tech-camp, Shamim Akampurira from Nyaka Vocational Secondary School in Kanungu district says that her team members are designing a water purification plant at the school. She believes that with adequate mentorship, their aspiration will be attained.
Dickens Opiyo Agona, another innovator from Hope Senior School, Watoto in Omoro District and his team have developed a new technology dubbed Smart Drop that crashes used plastic materials to conserve the environment.
According to Denis Obote, the Program Director for Technology at Oysters and Pearls, the technology innovation mentoring camp which was rolled out in 2013 has benefited more than 1,000 young innovators both at secondary and University level.
Obote, however, adds that the organization is now testing the different prototypes developed by the innovators to polish them and give them the flourish to solve the unmet needs of society.
Meanwhile, Benedict Otto, the Dean of the Faculty of Science at Gulu University and a member of the Innovation Fund selection committee under the Minister of Information and Communications Technology encouraged the innovators to pursue their creative ideas beyond the exhibition level.
Oyo explains that the three pillars of success today relate to creativity-dealing with brilliant ideas to identify problems of the society; innovation – devising solutions to the problem and entrepreneurship- to earn from the innovated ideas.
The ICT Ministry appointed an eight-member committee of high-level professionals selected specifically to provide expertise in the process of selecting viable ICT innovations. The committee is composed of members from different constituencies that have been working with innovators.
The government through the Ministry annually releases 13 billion Shillings to facilitate grant allocations for ICT innovations; aid construction of innovation hubs, procurement of furniture, consultancies and procurement of ICT equipment among other projects.