Nigerian Wins Engineering Innovation Prize For Connecting African Students And Teachers Via Mobile

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Nigeria’s Godwin Benson was selected as the winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation at an event held in Nairobi on Tuesday night.

The education innovator was chosen from a final shortlist of four top candidates from the African continent, beating South African Andre Nel, Ugandan Hindu Nabulumba and Kenya’s Kelvin Gacheru to the first prize.

The 27-year-old Nigerian designed the Tuteria online platform, which links students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budgets, enabling cost-effective education through innovation, according to HeraldLive.

With Tuteria, users are able to find tutors within their budget and location to teach them a variety of skills, from playing the piano or sewing clothes to more academic pursuits such as learning a new language or supplementing their mathematics studies.

Both students and teachers are thoroughly vetted before being allowed to use the service through the dedicated platform, which has a ratings system. Students book using an upfront online payment system, with the tutors paid once the lessons have been confirmed, according to Tuteria.

Benson wins cash prize for Engineering Innovation

The UK-based Royal Academy of Engineering aims to promote and advance excellence in engineering on a global scale, hence the Africa prize that is awarded annually.

The four finalists were selected from a pool of 16 shortlisted candidates hailing from numerous countries in sub- Saharan Africa, and each of those selected received six months of training and mentorship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

As the winner, Benson was awarded a $32,432 cash prize, while the three runners up received around $13,000 each.

The prize win is a great boost for peer-to-peer platform Tuteria in terms of its public relations value, but runner up spots for the other three candidates are also important endorsements for their inventions.

Ugandan Hindu Nabulumba developed the Yaaka Digital Learning Network, aimed at bringing education to communities through an interactive social network where academic knowledge and materials are shared in the form of text, audio, audio-visual or video content, according to BellaNaija.

Kenyan finalist Kelvin Gacheru’s innovation is Mobi-Water, a smart solar-powered water monitoring system to enable water tank owners to monitor and control the water levels in their tanks from any location by using their mobile phones.

South African rocket scientist Andre Nel’s invention, the GreenTower Microgrid is a hybrid, solar microgrid solution that uses 90 percent less energy to heat water, reducing electricity costs in homes and offices, according to EngineeringNews.