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Strathmore team wins Bronze at Efficiency for Access Design Challenge


A Strathmore University team won Bronze at the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge Grand Final event. Delivered by Efficiency for Access, with the support of Engineers Without Borders UK, the Challenge is a global, multi-disciplinary competition that empowers teams of university students to help accelerate clean energy access. It is supported by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation.

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge invited teams of university students from around the world to design affordable and energy-efficient appliances and technologies for low to middle income countries. By bringing together and inspiring university students, the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge’s goal was to foster innovation in the off-grid appliances sector. The competition also sought to address barriers limiting market expansion in this area.

Kijiji project

The Strathmore team, Raymond Kiyegga, Fredrick Amariati, Alex Osunga, and Ignatius Maranga presented Kijiji, a solar powered container with essential services for empowering rural communities.

Value addition efforts for smallholder farmers and SMEs in rural areas in Kenya can help improve the livelihoods of local communities. However, these interventions require quality access to energy, which is lacking in existing energy solutions. For productive uses, petrol/diesel generators are mostly used, which are polluting and very expensive to maintain.

To address this situation, the designed Kijiji, a solar-powered container that supports value addition for rural smallholder farmers and SMEs by providing reliable solar powered energy. The system size ranges from 15kW to 50Kw, with a battery storage ranging from 4000 – 8000AH, able to power agricultural, SMEs and health applications. The system range also provides room for expansion based on changes in rural market needs.

Solar power

By leveraging solar power, Kijiji helps provide clean energy access, which can be used in a variety of settings. As a result, it can help power a range of economic activities and give users time needed to engage in additional entrepreneurial activities. Through different preservation options, farmers can enhance their income by reducing or eliminating post-harvest losses and increasing production yields.

The Challenge began in September 2019 with students submitting their projects in April 2020 and presenting their projects to a panel of expert judges on 17 and 19 June. Given COVID-19 restrictions, the pitching sessions were delivered online. Participating universities were Durham University, Independent University of Bangladesh, Loughborough University, Makerere University, Strathmore University, Swansea University, University College London, University of Bath and the University of Strathclyde.

In 2019, the same team won the Initiate! Impact Challenge during the African Utility week in Cape Town, South Africa. The Kijiji project, was selected as the best from a pool of four participating universities: Stellenbosch UniversityUniversity of Cape Town, the University of Witwatersrand and Strathmore University.