Meet Elliot Mwebaze a Telecom Engineering graduate, who has made charging phones that much easier by lessening their dependence on electricity. Over a period of 9 months, he developed a device that enables phones to charge using a bicycle dynamo. A dynamo is a device that enables bicycles to produce light. His innovation converts that rotating energy from the bike into electrical energy which is more suitable to charge the mobile phones within 120 minutes.
When he is not working for Galooli Uganda, he spends his time looking for opportunities through which he can improve his innovation and make it accessible for all bicycle riders. This technology is ideally based for the rural population of Uganda who uses bicycles more often as a mode of transport. Rather than travelling miles to charge a phone in the nearest town centre, their phones can charge on their journey to other meaningful work.
His initial inspiration to create an alternative energy source for charging mobile phones. Having missed a final exam missed because his phone had blacked out in a remote village in Rukungiri and the only way he could get it back on was to move to the next town to re charge. He then devoted most of his free time and energy on finding alternative ways through which phones could stay on even in places without power supply.
He was picked by the UCC to represent Uganda in the East African ICT exhibition organised by the East African Communications Organisation. Where his innovation got more visibility with the East African community.
He has faced very many challenges trying to build his idea into a tangible product, the most significant being difficulty in finding the necessary equipment. But with his knowledge in engineering and extreme patience, he managed to grow his concept to the product that help keep people on air longer. This experience has taught him to have no reverence for failure. “You have to fail before you can succeed” he says. Failure is something that will happen more often than not. But it can only make you better if you do not choose the easy way out and quit.
In a discussion on the increasing levels of unemployment and under-employment In Uganda, he puts the blame largely on our theoretical education system which does not focus on technical skills which in turn leads to failure of ideas to develop into something tangible. The lack of a manufacturing industry too could be an opportunity to create thousands of jobs and boost the local economy. With reports of Uganda having the largest number of start-ups and failed businesses he points to lack of basic skills such as bookkeeping, integrity, customer service.