Africa innovates Magazine -AI4DEV - Flipbook - Page 42
F R A N C K A M U GY I S H A ( U g a n d a )
R E U S A B L E FA C E M A S K S
Franc Kamugyisha 27, describes himself as a serial social entrepreneur. Despite the ravages of COVID-19, this year he as already won two awards for
his work: The Earth Tech Challenge Award 2020, and the Young Sustainable
Impact (YSI) Solutions for COVID-19 award – through Africa vs Virus Challenge 2020, a jobs for youth in Africa initiative by the African Development
Bank (AfDB). He says Ecoplastile is already exporting the Eco masks to other
African countries including, DR Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Burundi, Zimbabwe,
Burkina Faso. Two companies in Switzerland and Australia,
have also placed orders.
H O W D I D YO U S TA RT ?
I embarked on a journey to use my skills to develop solutions in tackling environmental issues facing Uganda. I
settled on plastic collection, which I recycled into fencing
poles and building hardware – substituting timber. I
launched EcoPlastile in 2018.
W H AT WA S T H E M O T I VAT I O N
TO R E S P O N D TO C OV I D - 1 9 ?
A few days after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, I was attacked by robbers, who beat me up and broke
my nose. As this happened at a time when we needed to
wear masks, I found it not only hard to breathe through
the single-use masks, but I was also disturbed with the
thought of how they contribute to destroying the environment. I therefore set out to use my skill (and inspired
by my personal tragedy) to come up with a solution and
which would not only be sustainable, but also cost-effective. Single use masks in Uganda are expensive and also
destroy our biodiversity. By retooling and recycling plastic
waste from EcoPlastile Ltd, I began producing low-cost,
reusable and biodegradable facemasks. We call them
42 SHOWCASING AFRICAN INNOVATION
A N D W H AT A B O U T T H E
C OV I D - 1 9 T E S T K I T YO U
A R E A L S O D E V E LO P I N G ?
In partnership with Fabio Huther, a Swiss young entrepreneur, we have developed a 2019-nCov rapid combo
testing kit that tests the virus in minutes. The kits have
independently been tested on over 300 patients and they
proved to be 98.3% efficiency rates. We will soon bring
these testing kits in Uganda and they will be the cheapest
on the market going for $15 yet very effective.
Franc produces low-cost, reusable and biodegradable facemasks