Students showcase innovations at HEPSSA workshop

Despite the challenges brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic, students and staff of CEDAT have continued to exhibit excellence in innovations to address different challenges. This was witnesses during a 2-day online workshop organized by the Higher Education Partnership for Sub Sahara Africa (HEPSSA) Project on July 15th -July 16th 2021.  The project, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering supports different activities including curriculum review and problem-based learning in institutions of higher learning. Also supported is registration of Intellectual Property, university-Industry staff exchanges, workshops, conferences and training in Engineering Education.

The project is being undertaken by different universities including Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Busitema University, Ndejje University, Moi University, Dar es Salaam University and University of Leeds in the UK.  

The HEPSSA project Aims at creating partnerships that will help
in Enriching Engineering Education and contribute to engineering capacity
development in the region.
It also seeks to improve the quality and relevance of engineering education and
research in SSA. These Improvements should be made by catalyzing industry-academia partnerships in ‘hub’ universities and their partner institutions.

It is envisioned that the project will ensure that the graduates are more practical and relevant in addressing challenges in society, Partnerships with industry for mutual
benefit, Increased collaboration among universities, Increased research and grants won, Ability to acquire intellectual property rights and commercialization of innovations.

Innovations that have come out of Problem Based Learning Model

Sanitary Pads made from Bamboo and paper   

Many students in the rural areas are forced to leave school when they start their menstruation cycle. This is because they can not effort the sanitary towels/ pads on the market. To this end, students of CEDAT under the Problem Based Learning model have innovated sanitary pads made from bamboo. The aim of the research project is to supply healthy, hygienic re-usable pads to girls at a low price than the plastic sanitary towels sold in supermarkets.

The bamboo is mixed with recycled paper to act as an absorbent. Bamboo fabric is used on the exterior of the pads because of its naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal characteristics.

Research has also shown that Bamboo fiber is 30% more absorbent than the finest cotton.

The project code named G-Pads also aims at reducing on the plastic in the environment due to dumping of disposable sanitary towels made of plastic materials.

The project is addressing some SDGs in relation to the environment. The research will help in reduction in plastics dumped in the environment and reduction in emission of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. It is expected that if commercialized, the innovation will create employment for many people.

R-Husk Bioplastics

Another team of student is making food containers from rice husks and cassava.

The process

  1. Rice straw will be milled and sieved to ensure uniform size of <2mm.
  2. Mixture of waste recycled paper and cassava starch will be blended together in presence of water.
  3. The milled rice straw will then be added.
  4. This mixture will then be thermoformed for about 4 min at about 180 C.
  5. The starch will transform into thermoplastic starch creating a foamed material and silica present in the rice straw will impart its hydrophobic (water repelling) properties onto the composite formed.

The container is biodegradable and therefore environmentally friendly.


A team of medical students and Engineering students have teamed up to innovate a machine that dispenses medicine to patients. This has been done in the wake of increase of Covid 19 infections among health workers.  This has called for a need to minimize physical contact between the patient and the health worke and yet continue to monitor the health of the patient. This innovation addresses both issues.

The machine has been designed to dispense medicine and also monitor the patient’s vitals.

The main objective of the research project was To develop a system that ensures timely medicine delivery and relays patient symptoms data to medical personnel. The students have designed a Prototype that achieves timely and accurate medicine delivery and relays patients’ state to the health workers.

Innovations in response to Covid-19 Pandemic

Solar powered sanitizer booth
  1. Development and Evaluation of Nanobody-based Point of Care Diagnostic Kit for Detection Of Covid -19 in Saliva
  2. Evaluation of nanoscale materials as candidate adjuvants and delivery systems for SARS CoV-2 sub unit vaccine in Humanized mice (Phase II)
  3. Green Synthesis and Functionalization of Paramagnetic Nanoparticles for  Viral RNA extraction
  4. MAPRONANO ACE in partnership MakCHS developed an affordable hand sanitizer as a prevention measure for COVID 19
  5. Portable Mask Sterilizing Pod, RIF
  6. Solar Powered Sanitizer Booth
  7. Bioactive nanocoated masks with antimicrobial activity