Aga Khan Academy Mombasa on Friday held an exhibition that saw 16 year old Telvin Kameta showcase a personally invented bump detector gadget that aims to reduce road accidents.

The project which is part of the annual Personal Project Exhibition of the Academy’s Year 10 students, represents the culmination of intensive year-long projects that identify areas of need, backed up by intensive research which are then developed into a viable product or outcome.

Kameta was motivated to come up with the idea following growing concern of road accidents with 3,057 people killed in road crashes in the country in 2015.

The exhibition which featured about 80 innovative projects, also saw ShashankArvindan present a model for a solar powered airport for Mombasa and Suleiman Mwachizi unveil an electrostatic precipitator to control air pollution.

These projects are particularly relevantconsidering the issues affecting Kenya like the heavy cost of electricity, elevated pollution levels and an exceptionally high record of road deaths.

However, the projects’ scope has not been confined to these issues alone. Other projects range from an app for diabetics to an initiative for a rewarding and enjoyable home for elderly people with limited mobility to cosmetics developed from local wild plants.

The students’ skills in identifying potential areas for innovation and constructing viable solutions is borne of the inquiry-based approach taken at AKA Mombasa, which is one of the key features of the globally recognised International Baccalaureate curriculum.

“Through the Personal Project, students are able to take principled actionthat would include solving real life problems, which affect their immediate and even extended community. The completion of the Personal Project is helpful to the students at the Academy as it helps them to develop the attributes of the IB learner profile, which includes being caring, inquisitive and knowledgeable. It is an opportunity for them to demonstrate crucial skills emphasized in the Middle Years Programme – social skills,self-management, and research. It also fosters the development of independent, lifelong learners,” says Esther Nondi, Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator at the Academy.

Many of the challenges addressed by the Personal Project require the application of science, technology and social innovation skills, which are considered central to the achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Africa’s Development Agenda. Yet skills in these areas remain scarce in Kenya with the 2015 Innovation Index ranking Kenya at position 92 out of 141 countries.

Against this backdrop, the Aga Khan Academy strives to create young leaders who are passionate about creating positive change in their communities using their knowledge and unique skillset. The aim is to equip them to deal with 21st century challenges, utilizing critical thinking and innovative means to resolve some of the toughest challenges faced by communities across the region.