ResilientAfrica Network

To effectively tap into the immense innovation potential of students in solution development, Makerere University School of Public Health – ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) is pleased to announce Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG) which will recognize and support promising and creative ideas from students at RAN partner universities across Africa. The best ideas will receive grants ranging from $1,000 – $3,000 to further develop and refine their ideas. By leveraging creativity of students and the power of competition to drive innovation, Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG) provides a great platform for students across all disciplines to use their creativity, passion and knowledge to create solutions that will contribute to RAN’s Resilience Innovation agenda. We wish to support students’ ingenious attempts at proposing promising ideas, approaches, or simple prototypes that will contribute to causing positive community change and strengthen resilience. Concepts may range from the feasible to the fanciful, as long as they address a resilience challenge within a community and apply innovation to strengthen community resilience.

New Deadline: 8th February 2016

ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) announces an extension of the YSiG application deadline from 25th January 2016 to a new deadline of 8th February 2016 at 11.59pm GMT. For more information, please contact us or via Facebook: Resilient Africa Network, Twitter: @AfricaResilient and on Tel: +256 414 343 597

Brief Overview of ResilientAfrica Network (RAN)

The ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) funded by USAID is a partnership targeting 20 partner universities in 16 African countries. The main agenda of RAN is to strengthen resilience of communities vulnerable to shocks and stresses in Sub-Saharan Africa through university led-local African innovative solutions. ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) is led by Makerere University, with the secretariat at School of Public Health. It is one of eight university development labs under the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) of USAID’s Global Development Lab. RAN’s core partners are Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA), Stanford University, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). RAN comprises four Resilience Innovation Labs (RILabs) each working with Partner Universities and focusing on different thematic areas as summarized in in the figure below

Download the complete YSiG Document
For more information and to apply, please visit Applicants may email any questions on the call or on any aspect of the application process to or call +256 414 343 597

Judges from the Eastern Africa RILab

Mrs Rosette Bamwiine


I am a self-motivated person with a desire for an approach to work that demonstrates integrity, timeliness and continuous focus on results.  I am a committed team player in both supervisory and support staff roles, with strong interpersonal skills and proven ability to lead successful teams. I am computer literate and I have good written and verbal communication skills .I am also highly adaptable to changing circumstances dedicated to maintaining high quality performance and standards

I possess a wealth of skill and experience in Agricultural Finance, Banking and finance, Credit Management; Risk management and General Management .I have the skill and ability to manage people, plan, organize, advise, train and co-ordinate people and programs.

Mr James Wire


James is a man of various shades who has defied the logic of specialising in a single profession. As one of the pioneer techies of the Internet Age in Uganda, he had the chance to curve out a profession as an IT professional over Sixteen years ago.

He is a vastly experienced entrepreneur who has notched up both local and international experience with organisations like The International Institute of Communications and Development, Inveneo, UNDP, USAID, HIVOS, COMESA, Government of Uganda, CARITAS, Thoughtworks, The World Bank among others.

A man of many firsts, he is always looking for the next frontier to challenge. Having demystified ICT, he fell back to his Agriculture profession and is now focusing on how to appropriately utilise technology to improve Farming. His experience in entrepreneurship has lured him into offering Business Consulting Services focusing on Small and Medium Enterprises.

He is an active writer with the Seeds of Gold Farming Magazine in the Daily Monitor newspaper and a Technology Blogger for the New Vision Online. Find out More about him and what he is doing from his active Blog

Mr James Makumbi

PortraitJames S. K. Makumbi is a Software Developer and Chief Executive Officer at Billable Limited. With over fifteen years of experience in Uganda’s growing information technology industry, James has a passion for converting innovative technology ideas into viable, sustainable and resilient businesses that foster development and growth in Uganda’s economy.

James is also the current Chair of the ICT association of Uganda an organisation the unites all ICT private practitioners and private companies.

Mr Richard Habomugisha

HabomugishaRichard Habomugisha is a male Ugandan, aged 37years. He holds Master of Science in Communication for Innovation and Development (2009) of University of Reading, England – UK and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (2003) of Makerere University, Kampala – Uganda. Currently Richard works as Project Consultant with Kigezi Highland Tea Ltd and in the past years he worked as, Principal Agricultural Officer – Kanungu District Local Government, Senior Field Officer – Cafe Africa International (Uganda), Fertilizer Promotions Officer – AT Uganda Ltd and Head of Agribusiness Department and Lecturer – Great lakes Regional College, Kanungu – Uganda

Richard is an Agricultural Innovations Expert with over 12 years of professional experience gathered from government service and private sector. The varsity experience in agricultural innovation development, use and their management; agricultural value chain development and management; promotion of innovations; agriculture production; promotion of agricultural innovations; developing behavioural change communication strategies; partnerships, innovation platforms and multi-stakeholder building; value chain enterprise development; agricultural policy advocacy and participatory interventions.

Ms Irene Kituyi

Irene Kituyu

Irene Kituyi is a social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) specialist, currently working as a Team Leader for the Radio department at Straight Talk Foundation (STF), an African NGO considered to be one of the world’s best in communication for social change. She is responsible for the provision of strategic leadership and management of staff and programs in the radio department. She has garnered experience in coordination, packaging and dissemination of Sexual Reproductive Health, development and HIVAIDS messages and information. She has been in communication for the last 14 years, counselling for nine years and training of trainers for five years.

Ms. Kituyi holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management, a Bachelors Degree in Environment Management, a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Business Administration in International Business.

She is passionate about improving the wellbeing of grass root communities especially in the field of health, which was also her main inspiration to study journalism and mass communication. Ms. Kituyi believes that through communication, she can be the ears, eyes and mouth of the youth and the communities she interacts with; to inspire, motivate, learn and change behavior.

Her favorite quote is “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” –Tennyson.

Mr Richard Makumbi

Passport photo.2015I am 37 years old born 05.06.1978 at New Mulago Hospital to the late Rose Nagguja and late Martin Ssentamu of Church Area zone in Kamwokya II Parish in Kampala Central.

I am married with 4 school going children (2 Girls and 2 Boys) residing in Lwesubo village in Buwambo parish Gombe division in Nassana Municipality in Wakiso district.

I am currently working with the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) as a Program Officer -GBV prevention program, coordinating the GoU-Irish Aid Joint Program to address GBV in Busoga sub-region. Responsible for skills building and training, providing on-site and distant technical support to the Community Development Officers and Community Activists to carry out activities geared towards enabling community members to prevent and respond to Violence against Women and HIV in their communities.


Previously worked at Kamwokya Christian caring Community in various capacities; head of youth peer educators/youth center, head of community based health care workers on the HIV/ART program and advocacy program officer.


I am passionate and interested in reading and watching biographies of achievers, spending more time with my family, building a strong economic/social foundation for my family, be remembered for fighting for the rights and protection of women and children, be remembered for being social.


I have gained professional experience/expertise over time around mobilizing communities/Penetrating and working with communities, working with the youth, children and mentally ill persons, counseling and guidance, lobbying and advocacy, working with media, working with local governments and government ministries


I am a Holder of an ordinary diploma in political science currently studying International relations and diplomacy.

Dr. Liliane Pasape

Lilian PasapeDr. Liliane Pasape is a Lecturer in the School of Business Studies and Humanities (BuSH) at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM- AIST). Her wide research interests covers areas of sustainable business strategies, entrepreneurship, innovation management, value chain analysis and management as well as stakeholders and community empowerment. She is the current acting-Dean of the school of BuSH at the NM-AIST. Dr. Pasape obtained a B.Sc. in Animal Science from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA)-Tanzania in 2004, and then a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) specializing in International Business from The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) in India in 2006. She also holds a PhD in Business Administration specializing in International Marketing which she obtained from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania in 2013. Her career spans private and public sectors both administratively and academically. She started as a Consumer Affairs Officer in the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) of Tanzania in 2007 then joined a telecommunication company Excellentcom (T) Ltd as a Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer in the period of 2008 and 2009. From March 2010 to May 2011 she worked at the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) as a Regional Executive Officer of Arusha. On the other hand her academic career started in June 2011 as an Assistant Lecturer in the School of Business Studies and Humanities (BuSH) of NM-AIST and was promoted to the rank of a Lecturer in November 2013 after completing her PhD studies. She also works as an Adjunct Lecturer of the University of Arusha (UoA) from March 2010 to date. On the research front, Dr. Pasape is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) in the project on “Testing and Scaling-up Application of Innovative Animal Feeding and Health Management Technologies for Improved Dairy Productivity among Smallholder Farmers in Tanzania”. This project is funded by the RUFORUM and involves training one PhD student and three Master students. Moreover, she is also a co-investigator in the project on “Innovations and Markets for Lake Victoria Fisheries – IMLAF” funded by the DANIDA where she is supervising a PhD student working on establishing a business model for profitable investments and enterprises in the fisheries sector in the Victoria basin and increasing access to local, regional and international markets . Furthermore, she oversees all entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives at NM-AIST including Business Plan Competition (BPC), NM-AIST’s African Grand Challenge, Incubation, Living-Lab and training programs on Science, Technology and Innovation. Dr. Pasape also serves on a number of committee both within the NM-AIST and at a national level.

Mr Hussein Mohamed


Employment: Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences; School of Public Health and Social Sciences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Education:      (a). BSc (Hons) in Environmental Health Sciences

(b). MSc in Environmental Science Technology and Management

(c). PhD- Student: Microbial Effectiveness of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage Technologies in Rural Areas

Activities: Mr. Mohamed teaches Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University. He has also conducted several researches on WASH and other issues related to Environmental Health. Mr. Mohamed has worked with various institutions notable Ministry of Health in addressing WASH issues in the country. Specifically, Mr. Mohamed has been extensively involved in the development of WASH Policy Guidelines, Training manuals, and development of tools for assessment of WASH activities. Furthermore, he has worked with Ministry of Water, Ministry of Health and WHO in the development of Water Safety Plans for both rural and urban areas.

Mr. Mohamed is now in his final stages of his PhD studies focusing on drinking water management at the household level, one of the important components of WASH.

Publications: Mr. Mohamed has published 6 papers in the peer reviewed journals, 2 of them as the first author.

Judges from the Southern Africa RILab

Lekan Ayo-Yusuf

Lekan is cuLekanrrently a Professor and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (formerly known as University of Limpopo’s MEDUNSA campus). He is also an Extraordinary Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Pretoria and a visiting scientist at the Harvard University’s School of Public Health.


Lekan is a recognized leader in public health in Africa and has extensive experience conducting evaluations of policy and public health programs in Africa. He has served as a consultant to governments and to a number of international health and development agencies including the UNFPA and WHO, with special interest in health systems performance and Non-communicable disease prevention, particularly cancer prevention.


Having previously conducted one of the first longitudinal studies on sense of coherence or resilience in relation to chronic disease risk behaviours in a South African adolescent’ population, he currently serves as the Director of the Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (SA RiLab). In addition to over seventy peer-reviewed scientific publications, he has served and continues to serve as a scientific reviewer for several journals and research organizations such as the South African National Research Foundation. Having recently served as a reviewer for the US Surgeon General’s report, he currently serves as a member of the editorial board of a number of scientific journals, including serving as the African Editor for the American Journal of Health Behaviour. He is also a member of a number of local and international professional organizations including serving as a member of the WHO tobacco regulation scientific study group (TobReg). He has received several local and international research awards, including recent award as 2013 finalist in the National Science and Technology innovations award.

Patricia Rwasoka-Masanganise

patriciaSAPatricia Rwasoka-Masanganise is an Agricultural Economist, Development Specialist and Facilitator with 24 years of practical experience in agriculture, food and nutrition security, livelihoods development, agricultural research for development, policy analysis, including, training and writing on issues for improving food and nutrition security, expanding land access, improving land tenure security, and developing land markets for poverty alleviation and economic growth in developing countries. Patricia’s core areas of expertise include strategic planning, programme/project design, coordination and management, grants management, policy analysis and development, livelihood and vulnerability analysis and results oriented monitoring and evaluation of development interventions. Patricia also has expertise in mainstreaming cross-cutting issues like gender, human rights, climate change, HIV and AIDS, ensuring a holistic and integrated approach to human development and economic growth efforts. She also possess excellent leadership, facilitation and communication skills with abilities to lead theme teams ensuring effective inter-thematic coordination and collaborative team work.


Patricia has worked for the Government of Zimbabwe, International NGOs and managed USAID, UN Agencies and US Philanthropy funded projects, consulted for SADC, UN Agencies, and is accredited for Results Oriented Monitoring of EU funded projects. She has worked in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and currently employed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa as a Senior Agricultural Development Specialist. She is responsible for regional programming of the United States Government development assistance in agricultural and food and nutrition security under the Feed the Future Presidential initiative.

Patricia is currently working towards a PhD in Rural Development Planning with the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She holds an MSc in Agricultural Economics with Distinction from University of London and a BSc Honors in Agricultural Economics from the University of Zimbabwe.

Dr. Donald Makoka

MokokaDr. Donald Makoka is a seasoned researcher and a Development Economist from Malawi. He works as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Agricultural Research and Development (CARD) of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), which was until 2012 a constituent college of the University of Malawi. He holds a PhD in Development Economics from the University of Hannover (Germany), a Master of Arts in Economics, and a Bachelor of Social Science, both from the University of Malawi. He has spent the last 8 years conducting research on poverty, risk and vulnerability, resilience and sustainable livelihoods in Malawi and the southern African region. At CARD, he is involved in undertaking research on agricultural policy as it relates to agricultural marketing. Dr. Makoka also teaches postgraduate courses in Development Economics and Agricultural Marketing at LUANAR.


EricaSAErica is a highly experienced statistician and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) specialist with major strengths honed over 25 years of practical assignments in the sectors of poverty & vulnerability, food security, livelihoods, gender, social exclusion, HIV&AIDS, agriculture, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, social protection, micro-finance, education, culture, and more.

She has been a leader or a member of a number of teams with mandates to design innovative tools and approaches with which to assess hard-to-measure items, such as behaviour change, attitudes, graduation and adaptation, including, where relevant, community based participatory approaches. She also often provides advice from a distance for colleagues working on projects in the UK and Australia.

Erica has also led teams of experts in the coordination and management of partners implementing donor funded programmes, working towards standardization of programme monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment, compliance monitoring of costs against progress, benefit cost analysis, and grant management, in the livelihoods, WASH and arts and culture sectors.

Felistus Patience Chipungu

FelistusSAFelistus Patience Chipungu, a Malawian National is a Root and Tuber Crops research scientist who worked with the Department of Agricultural Research Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water development for 22 years (1992 to 2014). Among her successes, Felistus released sweetpotato, cassava and potato varieties in Malawi which are currently in use by the farming community and contributing considerably to the food and nutrition basket as well as household incomes. Among many projects, Felistus also worked with the following resilience related projects; Capacity building for climate change (CC) adaptation in Malawi and Tanzania (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. (2011-2014) in partnership with Chancellor College; Exploring urban-rural social and environmental interdependence and impacts of climate change and climate variability and responding through enhanced agricultural, food and energy innovation systems. In partnership with Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) of University of Dar Salaam and Natural Resource Institute of the University of Greenwich, Funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and Chancellor College (2009-2012). Final narrative report. 2012. Liwenga Emma, Swai Elirehema, Nsemwa Lebai, Katunzi Alphonce, Gwambene Brown, Joshua Miriam, Chipungu Felistus, Stathers Tanya and Lamboll Richard. International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada. Official URL: and Strengthening local agricultural innovation systems in less favoured and high potential areas of Tanzania and Malawi to adapt to the challenges and opportunities arising from climate change and variability, network project with Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) of University of Dar Salaam and Natural Resource Institute of the University of Greenwich, Funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and Chancellor College (2007-2011). Among other donor funded projects, Felistus is a 2009 AWARD fellow, and a two time AGRA grantee on sweetpotato breeding in Malawi. Currently Felistus is the Project Manager and Sweetpotato Crop Management Specialist for a CIP-SSA, Integrating Orange Fleshed Sweetpotato Project in Zambia funded by USAID through International Potato Center, Zambia.


Felistus holds a doctorate degree in Biotechnology and plant breeding from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, Zomba, Malawi (2004-2008); a Master of Philosophy degree (Plant breeding and crop improvement). Universities of Birmingham and Reading, England, UK (1995-1997) and Bachelor of Science Degree (agriculture with distinction). University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture, Lilongwe, Malawi (1987-1992).


PROF J W NG’AMBIProf J W Ng’ambi holds a PhD in Animal Nutrition from the University of London, United Kingdom, an M Sc from the University of Aberdeen in UK and a B Sc in Agriculture from the University Zambia. He holds a certificate in Teaching Methodology from Wolverhampton University in UK. Prof Ng’ambi has more than 35 years of experience, working as an academic, researcher and consultant in livestock production and rural development in a number of countries. Prof J W Ng’ambi is currently at the University of Limpopo. His present research interests are in livestock development and production, rural developmental and organizational processes, rural livelihood improvement and food security. At the moment he is participating in a number of international and national developmental and academic research projects.


Prof Ng’ambi has published 87 articles in SAPSE journals, co-authored one book and has published many conference proceedings. He has written a number of reports on commissioned studies and consultancies. Prof Ng’ambi has supervised 5 PhD and more than 40 M Sc students. He is a C3-rated researcher by the National Research Foundation, which uses the peer review system of experts in the field. Prof Ng’ambi is a focal person for Limpopo on the Resilient Africa Network (RAN) SARILAB project.


Prof ThieoProfessor TP Mafeo is currently Associate Professor and HOD of Plant Production, Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering Department at University of Limpopo, Limpopo Province, South Africa. He is mentoring master and PhD students in plant production focusing on pomology and postharvest technology. He is an active member of Southern African Society for Horticultural Science (SASHS) and International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS). I am creative, hardworking, versatile, energetic and highly motivated researcher with more than a decade experience in the higher education sector. I have excellent interpersonal skills to deal with students and colleagues. My objective is to develop as a world renowned researcher who will contribute to human resource development in the world, particularly Africa.

Address                    : University of Limpopo, Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Department of Plant Production, Soil Science & Agricultural

Prof. Victoria I. Ayodele

Prof Victoria copyName:                   AYODELE, Victoria IyinOluwa

Profession:             Horticulturist

Marital Status:       Married

Work Address:     Faculty of Science and Agriculture, School of Agricultural and

Environmental Sciences, Department of Plant Production, Soil

Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Limpopo,

P/Bag X1106, Sovenga, 0727, South Africa.

Telephone:             +27 15 268 2185 (w), Fax: +27 15 268 2982,




PhD Agronomy (Horticulture) – University of Ibadan, 1989.

MSc Agronomy (Crop Science) – University of Ibadan, 1985

BSc. Agric. (Hons) Crop Science – University of Ibadan, 2nd Class Upper Division, 1981.


Additional courses:

International course on Vegetable Production, August to November 1991, International Agricultural Center, Wageningen, The Netherlands (Certificate of Successful Completion).

Innovative Facilitation of Learning and Assessment. Organised by Production Management Institute (PMI) of Southern Africa, presented by Dr Pieter H du Toit, February to July 2010 (Certificate of Successful Completion).

Short course on Essential Science Project Management and Grant Writing, 31 November – 4 December 2011, (Certificate of Successful Completion).

Course on Inter Active Learning Competency for Rural Innovation in Higher Education Training, 3 – 23 April 2013 at the International Centre for development oriented research in Agriculture (ICRA), Wageningen, The Netherlands (Certificate of completion and First prize in making presentation that sticks).


Student Supervision

B Sc. Agric. Final Year Students Research (68) Completed (62)

Honours Students Research (40) Completed (34)

Masters Student Research (25) Completed (17)

PhD Students research supervision (2) completed (1)


Selected Publications


1.Ravhuhali, K.E., Ng’ambi, J.W., Norris D and Ayodele V.I. 2013. Intake and

relative palatability indices of buffalo grass hay and four cowpea cultivars grown

in Limpopo province, offered ad libitum to Pedi goats and Dorper sheep.

Intercontinental Journal of Agriculturalscience Vol. 1(02), pp.01-05


  1. Baloyi, B. M., Ayodele, V. I. and Addo-Bediako, A. 2013. Effects of leaf harvest On crude protein and mineral contents of selected early maturing lines of lablab (Lablab purpureus) [Abstract] [Full Text] [Full Article – PDF]   pp. 449-453 DOI: 10.5897/AJAR12.1209


  1. Lephale, S., Addo-Bediako, A. and Ayodele, V. 2012. Susceptibility of seven

cowpea cultivars (Vigna unguiculatus) to cowpea beetle (Callosobruchus

maculates). Agricultural Science Research Journals Vol. 2(2): 65-69.


  1. Ayodele, V.I. Nkabinde, R.M. and Ngobeni, T.V. (2011). Production and quality of Amaranthus species under different fertilizer treatments. Acta Horticulturae 852: 253-260


  1. Ravhuhali, K. E., J. W. Ngambi, D. Norris and V. I. Ayodele. 2011. The feeding value of four cowpea hay cultivars and effect on their supplementation on intake and digestibility of Buffalo grass hay fed to Pedi goats. Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 6 (9):909-922.



Area of expertise: Sustainable Horticultural Crops Production systems


Extensive research on crop production and cropping systems involving field and horticultural crops. Studies include indigenous knowledge systems regarding vegetables, soil fertility maintenance for indigenous vegetable production, need – based research for commercialisation of indigenous African vegetables, sustainable cropping systems for small-scale farmers, ecological fertiliser application for vegetable crops production etc.

Judges from the Horn of Africa RILab

Thumbi Mwangi

ThumbiThumbi Mwangi is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University US, a Wellcome Trust Fellow at the Kenya Medical Research Institute and a 2016 Aspen New Voices Fellow of the Aspen Institute in the US. He attained his PhD in Infectious Disease Epidemiology (2012) from the University of Edinburgh, UK investigating burden due to infectious diseases and the consequences of concurrent infections with co-infections with multiple pathogens. Previously, with a scholarship from the Association for Strengthen Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa, he worked on the molecular diagnosis and spatial epidemiology of African Animal trypanosomiasis at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, graduating with a Masters of Science in Genetics and Animal breeding (2008) from the University of Nairobi. He also holds a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (2005) from the University of Nairobi. Thumbi currently leads One-Health research in Kenya investigating the zoonotic, socio-economic and nutritional linkages between human health and livestock health. He has won several awards including the Grand Challenges Award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to lead research on rabies elimination in Kenya.


Dr OliverHOADr. Wasonga is a Dryland Ecologist with specialization in Rangeland Ecology and Pastoral Livelihoods and over 15 years’ experience in work related to Dryland Resource Management, Pastoral Production systems and Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. His career objective is to contribute to resilient dryland ecosystems and pastoral livelihoods by generating and sharing information to support dynamic training and research for demand- and science-led policies and development. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technology (LARMAT) at the University of Nairobi ( Currently, he is involved in: i) Formulation of Framework for Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Kenya for the National Drought Management Authority, funded by UNDP; and ii) Technical Evalution of Drought Mitigation Related Technologies Under Cash/Food for Assets Programme implemented in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya by United Nations WFP in partnership with FAO. In addition, he is leading the following research projects: i) “Fodder Production for Enhanced Pastoral and Agro-Pastoral Resilience in the Drylands of Kenya (PREPARED)“ funded by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM); ii) “Assessing the Role of Stratified Livestock Production in Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses in Pastoral meat Value Chain in Kenya, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); iii) “Role of Livestock Marketing Associations in Pastoral Meat value chain“, funded by BMBF; iv) “The Total Economic Valuation of Pastoralism Project in Isiolo County“, which is co-funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID) ( Dr. Wasonga’s other experiences include consultancies with several international organizations such as the World Bank, WFP, FAO, ILRI, IUCN, IIED, AMREF, ACF, MS-TCDC-Action Aid, CORDAID-Netherlands, IFAW, CARE-Tanzania, Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA/sida), VSF-Belgium, among others. He has published in diverse areas including pastoral livelihoods, climate variability and change adaptation, rangeland management, natural resource management, and indigenous knowledge.

Peninah Munyua

PeninahPeninah Munyua is an epidemiologist working in public health research for the last eight years. She has conducted research defining the epidemiology and burden of infectious disease particularly zoonosis at the human animal interface in various settings that seeks to guide development of control strategies that address our unique settings. She has also been extensively involved in building capacity for public health systems including establishment of structures for surveillance for infectious diseases, contingency plans for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, setting up structures to implement one health in Kenya, disease preparedness and control strategies for influenza, RVF, brucellosis, rabies among other emerging infections. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine, Master’s degree in Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics and a PHD in epidemiology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Andrew G. Thaiyah

Andrew Gitau HOADr. Andrew G. Thaiyah is a senior lecturer Department of Clinical Studies and Kenya country lead on One Health under the auspices of the USAID One Health Project anf focal person for the Horn of Africa resilience Lab in Kenya. He is a clinical epidemiologist and a specialist on zoonotic and food animal diseases which he has taught for the last 25 years to both undergraduate and postgraduate Veterinary, Agriculture and Wildlife students. Dr. Thaiyah also has solid experience working in the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya. Dr. Andrew has also been involved in policy formulations and has been instrumental in the formation of a one Health strategic plan for Kenya. He has also spearheaded the review of the bachelor of veterinary medicine, Masters in Public health and wildlife health and management. He has over 30 publications in refereed journals both national and international and is a co-author in a new book titled “Diseases of sheep and goats in Africa” Egerton University Press, 2013.

Judges from the Western Africa RILab

Prof David Millar

Prof DavidWAFormerly Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University for Development Studies in Ghana, David Millar is a professor in Agriculture and Environmental Science with special interest in indigenous knowledge and endogenous development.

Organisation: Rector, Millar Open University

Email Adress:

YSiG seeks to support students with ideas from all disciplines and training institutions in RAN Partner Universities to develop and refine their ideas or approaches as well as supporting those that already have simple prototypes to further refine them.

Thematic areas for Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG)

Students will be expected to align their innovation with the thematic area of their respective RILabs as shown below. For example, students from the WA RILab would be expected to focus their innovations on addressing challenges associated with population growth and rapid urbanization.

Eligible topics for Youth Spark Innovation Grants (YSiG)

The innovation challenge topics for this call include agriculture, water, entrepreneurship, livelihood diversification, health, and gender based violence. For example, students from the HoA RILab can address challenges in agriculture (innovation challenge topic) arising from chronic displacement (HoA RILab thematic area); while students from the SA RILab can address agricultural challenges due to the impact of chronic disease on access to livelihood assets (SA RILab thematic area).

1. Agriculture

Agriculture forms the backbone of most African economies in Sub-Saharan Africa where over 80 percent of the population depends on subsistence farming1. However, the agricultural sector has been grappling with the challenge of climate change leading to unpredictable weather patterns and uncertainity in planting seasons. Furthermore, there is a high dependence on subsistence agriculture which is characterized by low yields, little to no diversification or value addition, and price fluctuations. The result is low incomes as well as persistent poverty with minimal room for socio-economic growth and development. We need to disrupt the status quo and build the agency of rural farmers. RAN is looking for low cost environmentally friendly approaches and technologies to improve agricultural practices as well as to increase agricultural yields both crop and animal husbandry. We are seeking novel ideas or approaches that will address the following:

  • Improving land acquisition and utilization including land consolidation for small holder farmers.
  • Access to markets, branding, bulking for better price negotiation
  • Food sovereignty and security to ensure that food in communities is accessible and healthy for everyone, increased yields to ensure enough produce for homes and markets
  • Use of low cost technologies and ICTs for agriculture, mechanization, easing access to farm inputs, seeds harvesting mechanisms, improved smallholder farm practices.
  • Value addition, preservation and post-harvest handling methods
  • Improved and affordable models on utilization of agricultural waste as well as use of waste for agriculture
  • Approaches to foster prolonged production in dry seasons
  • Adverse climate early warning and last mile communication

2. Water

The rising demand of growing populations for water puts increasing pressure on land use, water resources and the ecosystem. Such pressures are aggravated by the impact of climate change which is likely to further modify the availability and suitability of these resources as well as affect agricultural productivity and livelihoods. We are seeking solutions that will disrupt the inability to manage water resources, wastewater, including water reuse and rainwater harvesting for homes, institutions and pastoralist communities. We are looking for solutions that will address any of the following:

  • Improved access to water
  • Water filtering and purification, e.g., house hold water treatment
  • Proper water resource development, improvement, maintenance and management
  • Water bulking and storage for use in dry seasons
  • Water handling to improve portability
  • Harnessing technologies, e.g., sensors and use of ICTs for water management
  • Energy to drive water generation and rationalization
  • Agriculture all year round

3. Entrepreneurship

There are challenges of human capital coupled with lack of education and skills and the inability of people to get employment in skilled or better paying jobs resulting in high un-employment, over-reliance on social grants and other social safety-nets. Communities are constrained by the lack of entrepreneurial skills and limited access to finance/start-up capital. We are seeking innovative products or services exploiting opportunities and business that communities can actively engage in. Models and approaches or technologies for promoting life and entrepreneurial skills in communities that could address any of the following:

  • Changing attitudes of communities to embrace entrepreneurial activities and businesses
  • New ways of engaging the youth and women in entrepreneurship including skills training or re-skilling
  • Promoting optimism and positive outlook on life to pursue business ventures
  • Re-use of existing materials and recycling materials or waste materials into new products to prevent waste and create business opportunities
  • Creative business models to help communities thrive financially
  • Ways of involving the youth in profitable business including online businesses
  • How to get started!! Savings and start-up strategies

4. Livelihood Diversification

Communities are highly dependent on restricted types of subsistence farming, livestock production rendering them vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change and climate variability. Adaptation is constrained by limited livelihood options and limited financial inclusion and engagement. We are seeking for ideas that will substantially empower communities by diversifying their livelihoods using simple but highly profitable farm and non-farm businesses such as solutions that address any of the following:

  • Improving standards of living and peoples welfare through engaging in diverse income generation activities
  • Create opportunities for better financial inclusion through savings and access to credit
  • Models for launching profitable businesses that would reduce vulnerability to food insecurity and promote opportunities for increased household incomes
  • Attractive businesses with low investment, low risks and high returns
  • Propose new ways of breaking dependence on one source of livelihood

5. Health

Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa confront the most dramatic health predicaments and disasters due to rapid urbanization, climate change manifesting as floods, drought and chronic displacements, chronic diseases especially HIV/AIDS. We are seeking innovations that will alleviate health concerns among low-resource communities. Innovations may address any of the following:

  • New solutions and innovative approaches to control and prevent disease break-out and epidemics
  • Easy to use accurate primary care level diagnostics and sensors for common infectious diseases.
  • Improved emergency healthcare, e.g., obstetrics care, neonatal care and other emergencies
  • Innovative approaches on sanitation and hygiene
  • Low cost optimized toilet solutions for flood prone/high water table areas

6. Gender Based Violence

Gender based violence causes physical trauma and long lasting mental health problems, and can be financially devastating. It can lead to social stigmatization; it may be the cause of retaliations and sometimes death. These are only a few consequences of violence that victims have to deal with every day. Gender based violence remains comparatively invisible, and underestimated. Because of cultural constraints and the strong feelings of shame and fear engendered by violence, most victims do not dare come forward to seek help. This only adds to the devastating effects on them, their families and communities. Constraints and obstacles notwithstanding, immediate and appropriate action must be taken on the basis of systematic and thorough assessments to respond to the multifaceted needs of victims of gender based violence. We are seeking for innovative approaches and ideas to address any of the following:

  • On spot reporting mechanisms
  • Innovative approaches to mitigation of drug abuse and alcoholism
  • Mindsets and cultural beliefs e.g. women who believe myths that marital affection should be expressed in forms of violence
  • Innovative follow-up and support mechanisms for victims of gender based violence
  • Innovative sensitization channels, empowerment and implementation of policies
  • Innovative approaches to land conflicts and settlement of land wrangles. Addressing land conflicts being one of the drivers of gender based violence

Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate academic program at a RAN Partner University. The project must be student initiated, student led, and in line with the respective RILab thematic area. Faculty, staff, and external partners may only play an advisory role for student teams. The call is open to students from any discipline.

Only student applications related to the thematic area of focus of their associated RILab will be considered. More information about RILabs’ areas of focus is available in the ‘The State of African Resilience: Understanding dimensions of vulnerability and adaptability’

Students who are not registered with RAN Partner Universities are ineligible to apply. Other students ineligible to apply include any individuals participating in, linked to, or sponsoring subversive activities including criminal acts, terrorism or related activities. A background check will be conducted on all students considered for the grants for their status regarding United States Government (USG) Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) sanctions lists.

1. Needs / Problem statement (30%)

Indicate thematic area and topic of innovation challenge that project seeks to address. Include background information of the problem your idea will address that communicates a deep understanding of the problem, what are the known causes of this problem? Make sure you build a strong case of the magnitude of the problem that supports why your project is needed. This could include: research and statistics on the problem and your community of interest.

2. How Innovative and Creative your Project idea is (35%)

How different will your project be and how will it ignite change, what would the change look like in five years’ time, what are the primary goals addressed or research completed in the past to address this problem and how/where those solutions fell short. Include a summary of your innovative project (e.g. program, service, good, etc.) how it works, its intended impact and competitive advantage over existing products or services.

3. Methods of Implementation (20%)

How do you envision your project achieving success? What type of support or resources does your idea need to become a reality? If you expect to encounter implementation challenges, please briefly explain how you will address those challenges. Include brief information about how you will monitor or measure the impact or success of your project in the first months of implementation.

4. Activity Plan - Outlining your tasks and milestones (10%)

Describe the key steps for implementing your idea for at most six months only. Please note that the timeline may be impacted by the approval process and award disbursal.

5. Budget (5%)

The budget must detail how the challenge funding will be applied. Use the “details” column in the template to provide as much information as possible on how you arrived at the costs. Please note that the average grants range between $1,000 – $3,000 and applications should not request more than $3,000 from RAN. If you already have or plan to have additional funding sources and/or expect to receive non-monetary contributions, include them in the last section of the budget template

6. Team Composition

Please note that you can apply as an individual or as a team. Applicants should submit letter of reference from their respective university departments. Team members from the same department need only provide one letter that lists all their names. Teams should also outline the roles and responsibilities of each member on the team.

YSiG Time Lines

Activity Date
Call is announced November 25th 2015
First About YSiG Webinar December 11th 2015, 11:00AM GMT
Second About YSiG Webinar January 19th 2016, 11:00PM GMT
Call is Closed / Deadline January 25th 2016 at 11:59PM GMT
Call is Closed / New Deadline February 8th 2016 at 11:59PM GMT
Winners are Announced March 7th 2016
Project Completion August 26th 2016

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