The Energy Management Awards (EMA), a project by Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM), to celebrate the great milestones that Kenya has taken to develop Clean Sustainable Energy has introduced a Student category. The 2017 version of the annual awards and expo were hosted by KAM and the Ministry of Energy at Safari park hotel in the last week of March.
The student’s category is mainly attributed to the efforts by Linking Industry with Academia (LIWA), an organization that seeks to promote research and skill development among students while linking them to the demands in the industry.
This category introduced by LIWA targets Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, Universities and Government agencies in the education. The students’ competition was initiated through a call for applications that was opened from 6th -20th March 2017. A total of 15 complete applications were received from the TVETs and universities.
The applications were then sent to the judges for perusal before meeting the innovators. The judges comprised of experts who were identified by their immense experience in the industry and their involvement in the energy sector. They included; Dr. Kevit Desai the Chairman LIWA, Dr. Jeremiah Kiplagat the Director of Kenya Power International Ltd, R. Sathyamoorthy the Former CEO Tononoka Steels and Eng. Kelvin Kavita a Technical Manager at Centurion Systems Ltd.
After fully assessing the applicants based on their presentation skills, innovations, unique characteristics and gaps identified, the judges selected the 10 most innovative projects. The top 3 of these innovative projects were invited to the EMA Awards 2017 at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on 31st March 2017. The first was Timothy Ndaa and Michael Ondoro with a Poseidon Pump System scoring 63.75 percent. The second was Theodore Kamau Mwangi and Cleopas Barwareng with Stacked Indoor LED Farming project scoring 49 percent. The third and final group that got an award had Vincent Wesonga and Caroline Wambui with a PLC Controlled Energy Saver for Commercial Buildings attaining a total score of 46.25 percent.
From this inaugural experience by LIWA, they noted that for better participation in future competitions calls for entries in the EMA Students Category should be extended for a longer period in order to obtain more applications. Also, the time between applications and final judgment should be extended to allow for a tiered assessment process that involves mentoring. What is the next step after competitions? How are the winners benefiting from the competition? There are some issues that need to be addressed in future competitions involving students.