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AU i5Hub brings innovation to life through community outreach program

 

06 July 2018

The i5Hub led by its manager Ms. Washaya along with two senior lecturers in the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Mukumbi and Ms. Kurewetiwa recently travelled to Watsomba District as part of a community outreach programme. The trip that took place on Friday the 6TH of July was a chance for them to scout for innovators and innovative projects within the community. The i5Hub team met up with a budding innovator named Onias Maruza who is bravely confronting the challenges facing his community through creation of cost-effective and low maintenance invention.


Mr. Maruza, a small-scale farmer in the Watsomba District who noticed a persistent problem that affects crop yields in this most vulnerable group that suffers from lack of access to capital, energy and resources. To combat this, he sought to develop an innovation to address these challenges by reverse engineering. This innovation offers a viable and economical alternative to existing water pumps that may cost into the thousands of dollars to operate and are not easily accessible to this income bracket.


Water pumps are used mainly for dewatering purpose to reduce downtime from large rain events. There are two general types of water pumps: centrifugal pumps and positive displacement design type. Both types follow the same purpose, which is to move water from one point to another continuously. (www.thebalancesmb.com)


Finding sufficient water for irrigation is one of the challenges facing farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. (www.fao.org). Mr. Maruza’s water pump design that has been in development for the past 4 years has finally showed results and brings innovation to water resource management and renewable energy and also utilizes reverse engineering in an industry that desperately needs new and inventive ways to sustain itself. Especially with increasing petrol and diesel prices and problems with electricity, the water pump design would be a step in the right direction.


Despite having only having reached Ordinary Level, the first qualification one attains in Zimbabwe, Mr. Maruza has not let his basic education deter him from following his passion in engineering. One of the many challenges he faced working on his project involved financing. It took a lot of great sacrifice and patience on his part to be able to balance his research and finding a stable income.

Although they are still in their scouting stage, the i5Hub plans to facilitate the growth of the project and future projects in order to commercialise the invention and also provide mentorship and training for the innovator and collaboration with Africa University students.