Diana Wambugha and Brian Mwaghogho of Chala Secondary School, Taita Taveta County, have been crowned Young Scientists of the Year.
The duo won the best innovation at the 2022 Young Scientists Kenya National Science and Technology Exhibition held at Sarit Expo Centre Westland in Nairobi.
Their innovation, Smart Fingerprint Ballot Box, seeks to help solve the issue of stray ballots during the voting and election process.
The colour-fitted innovation machine is designed to detect the colour of the ballot paper and direct it to the correct ballot box. It is also designed in the sense that it can only be opened by the preceding officer biometrically using fingerprints.
“My colleague and I are really happy for this win. It took us a lot of energy, commitment and research to come up with this project that seeks to solve the issue of stray ballot papers. Our machine offers a secure alternative to existing ballot boxes by using biometrics and colour sensors," said Brian Mwaghogho.
Both Wambugha and Mwaghogho received a cash prize of Ksh. 50,000 each and they will also visit Ireland for Tech and Innovation expo.
Claiming the overall runners up position were Bravin Wetsenga Emala and Isaac Abuti of Kamusinga High School, Kakamega county, with their innovation, Smart and Modernized Solar Greenhouse. The duo received a cash prize of Ksh40,000 each.
On top of the cash prizes, winners from various categories also received smartphones and headphones awards worth Ksh 250,000 from BLAZE by Safaricom.
The fifth edition of the Young Scientists Kenya (YSK) National Science and Technology Exhibition themed – Using STEM to Redefine our Future, attracted 80, project finalists, from 71 Secondary Schools across 37 counties.
They included four Special Needs Education Schools, who exhibited their innovative projects in four categories: Social and Behavioural Sciences; Chemical, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences; Biological and Ecological Sciences; and Technology.
Faith Mutheu and Clare Tei of Maasai Girls’ High School, Machakos won the Biological and Ecological Sciences category with their project, Bromelain Enzyme as an anti-Browning Agent.
In the Technology Category, Alex Main and Romanus Ogacho of Machakos school were named the winner with their project, The Merry-Go Electricity.
Happy Harriet and Brivian Kagonya of Kaimosi Girls’ High School emerged the winners in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematics Sciences Category with their innovation, Water Filter Using Banana peels with Mercy Chelangat and Abigael Chepkoech of St. Monica Girls’ Chebangang in Bomet claiming the Social and Behavioural Sciences category with MEABI project.
The winners in all the categories will also attend a boot camp where they will receive mentorship and training on commercialisation, enterprise development, pitching, Intellectual Property protection and incubation links to the public and private sectors.
Young Scientists Kenya is a platform for young people to demonstrate their innovation and showcase their scientific talents. Since 2018, YSK has reached over 200,000 students from over 700 schools across all 47 counties through its outreach programme.