The East African Youth Innovation Forum named Steven Kakooza the winner of the Presidential Award for Uganda at the event.
KAMPALA, UGANDA | NOW THEN DIGITAL — A young Ugandan, Steven Kakooza, has been named the winner of the Presidential Award for Uganda at the East African Youth Innovation Forum for his work on the ‘Kawu card’.
- The East African Youth Innovation Forum officially announced six winners – one from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.
- A presidential award is intended to recognize youth innovators and outstanding applications developed by East Africans.
- By creating the Kawu card, Steven Kakooza has provided students with a novel method of receiving, withdrawing, and spending money without the need for a mobile phone, tablet, or other gadget.
His innovation, the Kawu card, enables student cardholders to receive, withdraw, or spend money without the need to have a mobile phone, tablet or other gadgets.
A parent only needs to download the Kawu app for parents onto their own mobile gadget, and then use it to load funds onto their child’s Kawu card.
The parent can track the child’s spending on the app, while the child can go to a Kawu agent and check the balance loaded into their cards as well as withdraw the cash he or she needs.
Steven Kakooza is among six winners — one each from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan — who were formally unveiled during East African Youth Innovation Forum.
The presidential awards seek to recognize outstanding applications developed by East African youth as well as outstanding youth innovators who are enabling the local innovation eco-system.
The youth innovation programme was advertised in the media in each partner state and on the EAC and EASTECO websites.
Applications were accepted online from eligible young innovators below 35 years of age in eight priority categories — namely, agriculture, health, education, climate change and environment, ICT mobile applications, energy and infrastructure, industrialization and trade, and aeronautics and space technology.
“The East African youth innovators were selected competitively from the six EAC countries,” the judges said.
“The selection was based on the following criteria: Originality, marketability, scalability, social impact, and technical aspects.”
The entries were evaluated by a national panel of experts comprising the ministries responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation, the National Council of Science and Technology, and ministries responsible for EAC Affairs in each partner state, together with other stakeholders.
The Forum itself was held in Kampala, Uganda, from 8-9 November. It brought together young researchers, developers and innovators, entrepreneurs, finance actors, academia and public policy makers to discuss the regional situation and latest trends in research and development as well as innovation and product development.
Among other things, the Forum addressed itself to the challenges that the youth in the region face in advancing their talent in technological development, in addition to the opportunities available for innovation in the regional marketplace and globally.
This way, it is hoped that the Forum will have offered a platform to catalyse the effective engagement of young people in steering the course of future developments within the East African Community (EAC) through innovations.
The conference was organized by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), under the auspices of the EAC.
The Forum aims to create a regional platform that will stimulate and support young innovators in generating scientific and technologically innovative solutions to social needs and meet market demand.
The Youth Innovation Forum further hopes to enable the youth to create social enterprises that aim to cure social problems through innovative practices. It is aimed at empowering youngsters to steer their own initiatives and contribute to the building of a prosperous and independent society.
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