RUFORUM supports Gulu University to exhibit training and research innovations
The Uganda National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) held its 10th Annual higher education exhibition between 15th to 17th, March 2018. The event was held under the theme, Higher Education for the future: Strengthening Innovations for sustainable Development. The exhibition aimed at providing a one stop opportunity for higher education institutions, academicians, policy makers and the wider community to engage with each other. Higher education institutions had an open platform to showcase their various programs, opportunities and innovations to the general public as well as prospective students.
For Gulu University, the exhibition was an exceptional opportunity to showcase some of its research and training innovations. The focus of their exhibitions was on how the University connects its training and research with community development needs. Hinging on the Student Centered Outreach (SCO) and the Student Enterprise Scheme (SES), the exhibition presented aspects on community nutrition, low-cost borehole, ox-drawn planter and solar powered incubator. These student-led research innovations which are part of the RUFORUM TAGDev project activities aim at solving real community needs such as child malnutrition and unsafe/unavailable water among others. Below is a summary description of the innovations that were exhibited.
- Tackling under nutrition in rural communities
The soy-sesame-millet composite: An output from the research of a MSc. Food Security and Community Nutrition student (Ms. Dorcus Alowo), this research innovation was motivated by the high prevalence of child under nutrition in northern Uganda. Consequently, there is a need to provide community level affordable complementary feeds for children. Through malting, this research developed a soy-sesame-millet composite with high protein and balanced energy requirements for children aged 6-24 months. This product is highly accepted by local communities, not only because it is affordable compared to other formula feeds in the market, but also because it is formulated from locally available food stuff
- Improving farm productivity
The multipurpose planter: Designed by final year students of Biosystems engineering, this is an ox-drawn planter designed to ease planting of cereals through optimizing the seed rates for better productivity. The planter targets majorly small seeded cereals such as millet and sorghum. However, the design has a replaceable seed plate; allowing for different seed types to be planted.
- Locally fabricated Borehole rope pump
Using used parts of tyres to prepare the piston, reams and the common nylon rope; it has capacity to pump underground water from up to 30 m deep. This is majorly for domestic uses, but can also be used for pumping irrigation water as well as watering animals –for example dairy cows under intensive zero grazing. This is a cheap innovation, costing up to 10 times less than the conventional Indian mark 2 pump.
Besides the innovations that were exhibited, supported by RUFORUM and the Mastercard foundation, the exhibition also gave chance to Masters students from Gulu University to visit the different stalls of other higher education institutions. This enabled the MSc to network with other universities and create linkages that can be used in future career development.