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Monday, 4 November 2013

Sipili Jua kali artisan leads way in innovation

By Bob Aston
The informal sector is a crucial sector for Kenya. During the 1980s the term jua kali (Kiswahili for 'hot sun') came to refer to anybody working in self-employment in Kenya. In Sipili division, Laikipia County a 29 year old man is leading the way in Jua Kali Innovation.
Charles selling technology lambs
Charles Muchiri has made technology lamps for the past one year. The innovative lamps are made using readily available materials.

“I was motivated to come up with technology lamps because of the smoke normally produced by kerosene lamps. I believe that this lamps are more environment friendly compared to Kerosene lamps,” said Charles.
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 “The smoke produced by kerosene lamps made me think of an innovative way of coming up with a solution. I decided on the technology lamps. It was difficult at first as I had to discard different designs before finally arriving at the one I now use.” he added.
Charles says that the technology lamps have various advantages compared to the kerosene lamps. There are no side effects like smoke, last longer and is a new technology which is relatively cheap and most materials are readily available.
A display of the technology lambs
Charles normally makes an average of ten (10) technology lamps per day. He travels to various markets around Laikipia and Nyandarua counties to sell his products.
“Technology lamps will help one cut down on costs of buying kerosene. One is only required to buy three batteries for the lamp,” said Charles.
The informal sector is currently undergoing a rapid expansion in Kenya. The sector now plays a central role in the social economic sphere of Kenya.
Jua kali has been out of favour in national policy for several decades and has often been neglected and treated as low class, despite its important role in creating income for most Kenyans. Charles is leading the way in showing the importance of the Jua Kali sector in Kenya.
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