MALAWI: Catherine Chaima, finalist for the African Engineering Innovation Award

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MALAWI: Catherine Chaima, finalist for the African Engineering Innovation Award© Riccardo Mayer/Shutterstock

Cathérine Chaima is one of the 16 finalists for the African Engineering Innovation Award, a competition organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering based in the United Kingdom. This competition aims to honour the best African innovators who develop engineering solutions that meet the needs of local communities. The list of 16 finalists was announced on November 20, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. And several environmental innovations have been selected...

Cathérine Chaima will participate in the final of the African Engineering Innovation Award. The young researcher thus made history by being the first Malawian woman among the finalists of this competition. She started Cathel, a soap she makes with local agricultural waste and ingredients. She makes it in a traditional way and gives a second life to organic waste. Some familiar materials for this farmer’s daughter, who grew up in a rural area of Malawi, where groundnuts, cassava, bananas, etc. are grown. This chemical engineering student, specialised in waste recovery, therefore decided to use cassava peels and peanut pods, which often litter in the environment, as a raw material for her soap making.

Other ecological projects honoured

The list of finalists also includes Timothy Kayondo, a Ugandan national. He set up Ecowater Purifier, a digital system that transforms bones, cassava skins, coconut shells into charcoal filters. Another Ugandan, David Tusubira is also on the shortlist with his Remot project. It is a digital platform that connects to off-grid solar systems to allow users to make remote payments. There is also Kenyan Justine Abuga, with her Solar Kijo project. With this solution, it offers a heat storage system that allows rural schools to cook food quickly and easily, without using firewood. A total of 16 projects from six African countries were selected for this final.

The African Engineering Innovation Award was launched in 2014 by the Royal British Academy of Engineering. This award provides financial support to African innovators who develop solutions to improve living conditions in rural areas. Since its launch, the prize has supported projects that, in five years’ time, should impact close to three million people and generate 500 jobs.

Luchelle Feukeng


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