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24 July 2023
In a fortuitous encounter, Joy Muntet, from Narok County, and Vallary Shinaywa from Makueni County, paths crossed. Both in their 3rd Year of pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, they hailed from regions that were profoundly affected by the repercussions of climate change such as the impact of failed rains, leading to low crop yields and the overwhelming despair that follows.
Driven by shared circumstances, they discovered a collective drive; an unyielding determination to reshape their communities’ future. With a multitude of ideas and cutting-edge technologies, they embarked on a journey to transform their concept of a “Low-Cost solar powered irrigation system” into a tangible solution.
The “Low-Cost solar-powered irrigation system is a system that uses sunlight to pump water to plants, based on the moisture levels of the soil and weather conditions. It helps farmers save water and energy by delivering water only when needed. This affordable solution is suitable for small-scale farmers with limited land areas, making it accessible to a wider range of agricultural communities.
As our journey progressed, Eng. Joseph Obbo introduced us to the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, which opened doors for collaboration with a team of Master’s students from City University. Kyle, Rahil, and Cyrus became our partners, working alongside us with their expertise and dedication. With their help and the invaluable guidance of their mentor, Mr. David Tusubira, we made significant strides forward in our project.
The road they traveled was far from easy, yet buoyed by the encouragement and unwavering support of their mentors and friends, they summoned the strength to persevere. Along this challenging journey, they developed a profound love for the process, cherishing every lesson learned and holding them dear to their hearts.
Site visits to Narok County and Machakos County provided them with invaluable insights as they directly engaged the community farmers to understand the challenges they faced such as water scarcity. Recognizing that water is indeed life and its scarcity poses a significant threat, they designed a system that specifically addressed the communities’ needs, prioritizing research, and open learning to create an impactful and innovative solution.
Joy and Vallary submitted their work with the hope that their innovative and affordable project indeed will have an impact on the community. And on June 16, 2023, they received exhilarating news—not just one, but two awards! They were honored with the People’s Award and the Silver Award.
“Throughout this process, the unwavering support of our mentors, Eng. Joseph Obbo and Mr. David Tusubira, provided us with guidance and direction. Their wisdom and encouragement were instrumental in helping us persist and overcome the hurdles we encountered.
As we reflect on our journey, we are immensely grateful for the lessons learned, the relationships formed, and the indomitable spirit that carried us forward. Together, we have created a low-cost IoT irrigation system that has the potential to bring positive change to the farming communities in Narok and Machakos.
Our story is a testament to the power of innovation, collaboration, and determination. It demonstrates that despite the challenges and setbacks we faced, the vision and passion we held allowed us to create something truly impactful. We hope that our journey inspires others to take action, to embrace the opportunities that lie within adversity, and to make a difference in their own communities.”
This article was written by Joy Muntet and Jemmy Kamau.
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