Updated: Mar 21, 2021
My name is Obed IMBAHAFI, a first-year creative design student from University of Rwanda. Like any other youth, I am a lover of sports and movies. Games are all that I need on a boring day. Lockdown could only be a catalyst but for how long? When I heard Covid-19 had made its way into Africa and Rwanda, and experts predicted the possible impact of the pandemic in Africa, I felt burdened to contribute towards fighting the pandemic.
"I sought information from the internet in a bid to identify innovative solutions to combating the pandemic and came up with a solution of cashless transaction called “tap and pay”."
The process is to reduce the tendency of people physically touching money when they visit public toilets in the times of covid-19. Though purposely designed for covid-19, it is also scalable post pandemic. I am glad to say this project is still being developed and will be available for public consumption in no time.
In June, I also enrolled for a boot camp hosted by University of Pisa in partnership with UNESCO and UNESCO. The bootcamp was graced with great ideas and innovations from participants of different backgrounds. My team was made up of creative minds from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
We did not emerge as winners in the competition. One of my creative drawings and designs posted on Facebook was, however, judged as the best for the entire competition, granting me an unprecedented opportunity of joining the special WIPO summer school on intellectual property and knowledge transfer in South Africa.
The following month, at the height of the pandemic, I signed up with Inspire Africa’s Ignite Innovation Lab Digital Transformation Challenge. The two week virtual challenge and digital primer gathered volumes of my peers from all over Africa to create product innovations and develop solutions addressing common challenges.
This virtual challenge gave me ample knowledge on digital online tools, and introduced me to digital marketing, human-centered design thinking and Google digital skills, all of which are essential skills for running any business especially during a pandemic.
The IGL experience with IP Courses opened my entrepreneurial and innovative eyes, and allowed me to look far and think bigger. My aspiration now is to provide a platform that will give updates on opportunities across the world and also organize online classes and labs on IP for Rwandan youth especially the generation Z community. The internet is full of information that can keep us active in this era of COVID-19.