Emerging Indian innovator Kaif Ali, 20, is among 15 winners of this year’s prestigious Commonwealth Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards.
They have invented low-cost portable housing for COVID-19 quarantine and shelter from extreme weather like earthquakes and floods.
Kaif’s design has been recognized by the United Nations as one of the top 11 emerging innovation start-ups solving climate challenges.
Each winner of the prize received a trophy, £3,000 in prize money and the opportunity to enhance their innovations in collaboration with partners and consultants across the Commonwealth.
During the pandemic, Kaffe, a student of architecture, researched how architecture could prevent the spread of disease.
They designed a prefabricated permanent shelter, SpaceEra, that would not only help reduce transmission of the virus but could also house refugees around the world in the future.
He is now known for inspiring his fellow youth to try to imitate his approach to launching their own sustainability projects and initiatives.
“Winning the Commonwealth Innovation Award takes my confidence to a greater level and inspires me to work even harder than yesterday and come up with unprecedented solutions to achieve a sustainable future.” A statement quoted Kaif as saying. I pledge to be the voice of the youth who transform the Commonwealth and bring about change.
They have plans to organize mentorship programs for grassroots innovators to enrich their knowledge and motivate them to work towards social and environmental issues.
“In the coming year, I wish to pursue a Masters in Architecture and use my future career towards STEM innovations and youth leadership in the multilateral domain. My goal is to dedicate my career to the public good.”
The other winner was Marie-Claire N. Kuja, who founded Kuja Ecopads to help fight period poverty and improve the lives of women and girls in Cameroon.
She said: “This award will boost the morale of my employees and improve motivation. This will increase our visibility and help in boosting the company profile. This will open up partnerships on a global scale and bring new connections and networking opportunities.”
Askwar Hilonga invented a low-cost and sustainable water purification system specially adapted to the needs of the local people in Tanzania.
Growing up in rural Tanzania, Hilonga suffered from waterborne diseases as a child. He used his scientific expertise in nanotechnology and his local knowledge to develop a filter based on nanomaterials.
Richard Ochiang Arwa’s background in biochemistry inspired his interest in bio-ethanol fuel manufacturing in Kenya.
It began as a classroom experiment and grew into a business focused on providing affordable clean cooking energy to low-income households by converting aggressive water hyacinth to ethanol fuel.
Joshua Forte of Barbados is a sustainable environmental management practitioner and the founder and CEO of Red Diamond Compost Inc., a biotech social enterprise focused on the research, development and commercialization of clean and green agrochemical solutions.
Composed primarily of organic waste materials and invasive plant species, the solutions support delicate organisms responsible for building soil structure, storing organic soil carbon, cycling nutrients to plants, and protecting pollinating insects. .
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland commended the diverse line-up of changemakers during a virtual meeting for the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26.
She said: “Over many decades, the people of Commonwealth Member States, through the Commonwealth Network, which connects us and encourages us to work together, have helped us overcome difficult challenges and solve seemingly difficult problems. Leading ways have been found to solve it.”