Dar es Salaam. The Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) has awarded Sh100 million to five innovators to scale their solutions that address the effects of Covid-19 in the provision of health, education, wash or early childhood development (ECD) services in Tanzania.
As the world continues to battle the pandemic which has shown a visible impact on people's lives globally, HDIF, Ifakara Innovation Hub and Seedspace Dar-es-salaam with support from UKAID, launched the Covid-19 Response Challenge on May 18, this year.
The challenge aims to find, support and amplify innovative market-ready solutions that are addressing the effects of the pandemic.
HDIF director, Joseph Manirukiza said 10 innovators were shortlisted and given an opportunity to pitch their solutions on June 15, to a panel of judges including development partners, corporate and other stakeholders who were interested in supporting further innovations.
“Five solutions exhibited the most potential and received the amount in funding from HDIF to scale their solutions,” he said.
Explaining about the winners, he said, Tai Tanzania created awareness on through 3D animated videos blended with Tanzanian music including visual aided stories that create awareness through painting mural or graffiti art in various community spaces in Dar es Salaam.
“They have produced and disseminated 3D animation to raise awareness on Covid-19 to create positive mental attitude, protection, safety and promoting the community members to be of service to others in fighting this pandemic,” he said.
He named the other innovation as visual aided stories that created Pan African murals that are a brilliant intersection of art and advertising- combining visually compelling designs with advertising messages as a unique model of talking to the society that is human-centered.
He further Bits and Bytes which together with Tanzania Makers’ Community, coordinated the 3D printing community in Tanzania to produce and deliver PPE’s to hospitals and medical workers.
“They organized the delivery of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers across Tanzania.
Through this collaboration, they 3D print PPEs locally and are ongoing with trials for ventilators at the moment,” he said.
Meanwhile Mtabe is an offline Question and Answer-based learning platform using SMS and Natural Language Processing to provide daily quizzes and answers to questions to students without internet access, textbook or smart phones.
“Out of 10 people in Africa, only 3 have internet access they therefore focus on the 7. Mtabe is a startup that uses artificial intelligence and SMS technology to deliver learning content to students who cannot afford textbooks and do not have internet access,”he said.
The other innovation, Zaidi Recyclers and Tanzania Recyclers Association have embarked on an initiative to make durable but cost-effective Face Shields locally.
These efforts occurred as Covid-19 was declared as a global emergency concern and hit millions of people across the continent; most countries started to scramble for high priced and less available PPEs to protect their front-line workers.