From Kaduna Polytechnic
I am sincerely grateful for the privilege of being nominated for the Research for Impact (R4i) initiative. I saw this opportunity as potentially life-changing. Being a science and engineering student, then lecturer, I have dedicated myself to the study and supervision of numerous projects focused on plastic waste and recycling. I viewed this avenue as a means to generate employment, while simultaneously transforming waste into valuable resources.
When the news of my nomination for the programme was conveyed to me, it elicited great excitement. To my dismay, the very next day, I experienced a fall at work, resulting in the dislocation of my left knee. This incident initially discouraged my plans to attend the R4i, however, I was undeterred by this setback and remained determined not to miss the opportunity.
On the first day, I felt a bit apprehensive as I was unfamiliar with anyone present. However, as R4i commenced, my excitement returned. We visited various impact labs and workstations at Innov8 Hub, and that day, I saw hope for the youths and the next generation of Nigerians.
The Chief Facilitator of R4i, Dr. Obichi Obiajujunwa, particularly inspired me with his favourite saying, “fall in love with the problem first.” We absorbed invaluable lessons on invention and innovation from him, principles that should drive all Nigerian institutions. Subsequently, we were grouped according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we chose to address, and my team opted for SDG 1, targeting Poverty Alleviation.
At R4i, my Team and I engaged in brainstorming sessions to devise ways to combat poverty. We identified various problems associated with poverty in Nigeria and proposed solutions. Our resolution emphasised the key role of technology in tackling poverty, leading us to develop a solution that involves commercialising indigenous innovation through the waste-to-wealth approach, using technology. My Team’s innovation, “POLYMELT”, stands as a frontrunner waste-to-wealth initiative for a cleaner environment. Commercialisation and industrialisation of innovative, indigenous ideas have made nations like China, Russia, America and India become some of the world’s greatest economies, and Nigeria must take a cue from this.
Being selected to deliver the Pitch Presentation for “TEAM Zero Hunger”, I dedicated the entire weekend to practicing. Despite my inherent shyness and stage fright, with the training on public speaking and guidance of Innov8 Hub communications experts, I pulled through seamlessly.
Throughout R4i, I had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful and interesting people from various institutions across Nigeria; my heartfelt appreciation goes out to them for contributing to my remarkable stay at Innov8 Hub and rich learning experience.
I am most grateful to TETFund and Innov8 Hub for providing this incredible opportunity, which would be a transformative force upon return to my institution. After my R4i experience, I eagerly anticipate witnessing what the future holds for younger Nigerians, confident that with government support and technology, Nigerian youths can showcase to the world that they have the potential to achieve greatness.