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Marvin Ngesa- winner of LoS Awards 2015


The continent we are in and the whole world is in deep trouble, the numbers are expanding so is ailment, unemployment, education and other societal issue. These are big problems and the time is short.

All of us are in this together, everything that happens in one part of the world affects us all, and this oblige us to cooperate. When we cooperate to tackle worldwide issues from various foundations and social orders, we not only respect each other but come up with solutions that have global consequences.

This has driven me profound into designing and innovation as it has a one of a kind capacity to change individuals' lives. I have been into science and engineering the vast majority of my life. At class five, I was busy building aerials for my small transistor radio and by class six I was designing quadcopter on paper which I wasn’t able to make.  Currently I spend the majority of my time leading both the local Intel and Google maker’s community, with a strong focus on promoting the developer ecosystem. In this community, I share my knowledge and passion for technology with fellow students, guiding them to address unique African problems.
I came across the Lions of Science competition when preparing for an Intel event and here was an organization which genuinely shared the same goals.

 They were looking for students with an innate passion for technology. They were going to provide the funds, training, and networking opportunities so that anyone can develop and refine their ideas and have a positive impact on people. This made me so happy as I was going to be not only be a leader with deep technical skills but also with the ability to have an impact into the society.  

Project and Team
I was so excited and so I went to my Tech X family and talked to those who had interest on my project, n UniComm kit.  The idea came during one of the cold chilling mornings in Nyeri. We had finished working on a digital clock project and were experimenting with intel Galileo and discussing a geek party. Due to the cold weather, most of us were wearing a hand glove. We were playing with different sensors collecting data and sending them to the micro controller Intel had given us. I had learnt sign language in an interdenominational Christian Youth Organization called, Boys Brigade Kenya, and so I asked a friend, “Why not a wearable sensor glove that detects hand gestures and translates sign language into words and audio using Intel Galileo,” and that was it.
There is nothing more exciting than working with people that are as personate as you are. My team composed of Chris Barsolai, Irene Ngetich and Stephen Gachara. These are young engineers who have personal values that inspire them to use their technical skills to help vulnerable communities resolve daily challenges.
Months until the competition
We submit our projects to Los the on their website waited patiently. At that time, I was not fully aware of the various opportunities LoS offers. Then the good news came. We had been shortlisted to the competition.  After this, we made several trips to the Heinrich Boll foundation where we attended several seminars such as the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) where students learn all that concerns patenting their innovations and copyright issues. We were also taught basic pitching and presentation skills and guided on the PowerPoint formats.

This prepared us for the final challenge where we were to present our projects before a jury and an audience.  They also introduced us to understanding client needs and with a goal of implemented, adaptable, adoptable, and sustainable solutions. At this point, we started to gain a keen understanding of what is needed to bring a concept to the market.
 
The Competition
Then the demo day. We first went to the Heinrich Boll foundation where we were greatly taken care of. We were also reminded on our presentation skills. Around 6 pm, we were driven to the German Cultural Centre where we made our way to the finale to demo in front of the final panel of judges at the Goethe institute.  All the faces behind the five shockingly good projects were there. They made their presentation on stage one by one followed by questions and grilling from both the judges and the audience.  The competition was very fierce, the presentations so much hyper intense. When you looked at people’s eyes, there was commitment, there was determination to succeed and above all everyone was passionate about his projects.

We were the last group to pitch. We psyched ourselves up and moved to the stage. We did exactly what we were taught.
Aftermath
After the presentations, the judges went for a close door consultation. After many deliberations, they narrowed the list down to the best three. We emerged the overall winner and was awarded the LoS Award which include prize money for further development of the projects and professional mentorship. I also got a 3 months Scholarship for the German language course at Goethe institute.
 
Post Lions of Science
 
Lions of Science has been a shaping part of my life, it has provided me with the most valuable learning experience in life giving us more than what we had imagined. Unlike other competitions, the most beautiful thing about lions of science is that they do not concentrate on the project alone. They invest in the individual’s potential, directing their focus onto supporting the smart mind and personality behind the award winning innovation/ project. They ensure that participants are equipped with holistic entrepreneurship capacity building.

They commit themselves and ensure their network is our network. Participants get the opportunity to engage with a world-wide audience and international partnerships. You build a strong relationship once you become an LoS fellow and you feel can make an impact into the world because you have such an amazing network of people who want to make you achieve your goals. They provided us with educational sessions with industry leaders, and a rich entrepreneurial work environment.
Beyond this, they support the winners in implementing their projects by providing guidance with the first steps to becoming a successful (social) entrepreneur. They mentor you to value what you are doing and help you connect doing good things for society with doing business.

I was also able to secure an internship after a recommendation from the Hub. During the internship, I attended German classes. The classes were extremely exciting; it was long since I was in a language class. It was like you are in a nursery class and starting to learn how to speak all over again.

Currently we are doing more test to our project and once all the latest features work appropriately, we will submit it to a design & engineering review by industry experts. We will then send our final designs to china for manufacturing.
 
Don’t wait any longer, Apply
 
Technology coupled with leadership and engagement of citizens solve problems and can change the world. I believe that when engineers, developers and community leaders come together, we can have a unique ability to solve global problems and change the lifestyle of people. At LoS it’s not just people or even the prize, it’s about another human being on the other side of problem that you know you are working for, it’s that humanity wrapped around these problems.

I don’t believe that there is one percent smartest in the world, I believe there is the one percent luckiest and with most opportunities in the world. If anyone one out there want to make a contribution, that want their lives to work on something that is really important, that brings a common meaning, join us, join the competition, join the revolution. Extraordinary projects need extraordinary competitions, here is one, apply now! Awaken the Lion within!

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