A Rwandan has been short-listed for an international innovation award for inventing an environmentally-friendly power device.
Henry Nyakarundi’s solar-powered device that charges cell phones has been short-listed among 23 projects for the global ‘Empowering People Awards.’
The winning project will be announced later this month.
Nyakarundi’s project was selected from the more than 800 entries that were made by individuals and firms from across the world.
According to Rolf Huber, the managing director of Siemens Stiftung, the initiator of the awards, the selection process was conducted by an international jury of experts, based on aspects such as technical quality, environmental impact, social and economic relevancy of the project submitted.
“Our aim is to recognise the most promising technological solutions and products suitable for solving basic problems of ordinary people in developing countries,” Huber is quoted in a statement.
The statement adds that voting for finalists will be online and open to public from 90 countries worldwide.
The winner will walk home with Euro 50,000 (about Rwf45 million), while the first and second runners-up will bag Euro 30,000 (about Rwf27 million and Euro 20,000 (about Rwf18 million), respectively.
Twenty other ‘best losers’ in the competition will receive Euro 5,000 (about Rwf4.5 million) each.
“I am glad that at last, four years of vigorous research and testing to develop this product have been recognised0,” Nyakarundi said.
“However, I cant celebrate now because a lot of work still has to be done to go through the final phase, but I am confident.”
Rollout of device
He said the 40-watt device that charges 16 phones at ago is especially designed for Rwandans living in areas that are not connected to the national power grid or without regular access to electricity, and those in busy areas such as marketplaces and car parks.
Nyakarundi said four of the power device are already in use across the country, with plans to rollout more. He launched the device in February.
Nyakarundi’s fete comes on the heal of that of Lawrence Muganga, a Rwandan living in Canada, who won an innovation award from Alberta, a provincial government in Canada, for initiating and successfully managing a crime prevention project
Muganga was recognised in May.