22-year old Maasai man win Ksh3M in global invention competition

A 22-year old Kenyan inventor has emerged the winner of the Young Inventors Prize at the prestigious European Inventor Awards 2023.

Richard Turere was distinguished for developing an innovative light system to ward off lions and other predators from livestock using light sequences in order to protect his community’s livestock without harming the endangered wild animals.

“Today, my team and I might seem too young for people to take us seriously. But we are going to compel them to believe in us through our achievements. The Young Inventors Prize is part of that journey,” he said during the award’s hybrid ceremony in Valencia (Spain).

“Anyone can make it. Anyone can change this world. I would like my story to inspire fellow young people so that they can also do something,” he added.

The young inventor received Ksh3 million while the second and third-placed finalists received Ksh1.5 million and Ksh766,000 respectively.

The European Patent Office (EPO) established the award to inspire the next generation of inventors.

It recognizes innovators aged 30 or under who have developed technological solutions to tackle global problems and help reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Turere’s invention contributes to UN SDG 15: Life on Land, which includes protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.

The light system runs on solar energy but can also be coupled with wind power. It has changing sequences of flashing lights mounted on fences or homesteads. Wildlife such as hyenas, leopards and cheetahs become uncomfortable with the patterns and are consequently discouraged from hunting livestock.

The innovation has attracted international attention and has been implemented in several other countries including Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Argentina and India.

The innovation has also reduced human-wildlife conflicts in Maasai land.

According to The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), lion population in Africa is estimated to have declined by 43% in the past 20 years, with roughly 20,000 lions thought to be roaming the entire continent.

By Our Reporter

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