Commonwealth award for Indian to invent low-cost housing for quarantine


New Delhi, Sep 30 | Emerging Indian innovator Kaif Ali, 20, is one of the 15 winners this year of the prestigious Secretary-General’s Commonwealth Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards.

He has invented low-cost portable housing for Covid-19 quarantine and shelter from extreme weather such as earthquakes and flooding.

Kaif’s design has been recognised by the UN under the top 11 emerging innovation start-ups solving climate challenges.

Each winner of the award received a trophy, 3,000 pounds in prize money and the opportunity to scale up their innovations in collaboration with partners and mentors across the Commonwealth.

During the pandemic, Kaif, an architecture student, researched how architecture could prevent the spread of disease.

He designed a prefabricated sustainable shelter, SpaceEra, that would not only help reduce transmission of the virus but could also house refugees worldwide in the future.

He is now known for motivating his fellow youth trying to imitate his approach to start their own sustainability projects and initiatives.

“Winning the Commonwealth Innovation Award lifts my confidence to a greater level and motivates to me work even harder than yesterday and innovate unprecedented solutions to achieve a sustainable future. I pledge to become the voice of the youth transforming the Commonwealth and to Be the Change!” a statement quoting Kaif said.

He has plans to conduct mentorship programs for grass-route innovators to enrich their knowledge and motivate them to work towards social and environmental issues.

“In the upcoming year, I wish to pursue a Masters in Architecture and harness my future career towards STEM innovations and youth leadership in the multilateral domain. I aim to devote my career towards the well-being of the mass,” he added.

The other winners are Marie-Claire N. Kuja, who founded KujaEcoPads to fight period poverty and help improve the lives of women and girls in Cameroon.

She said: “This award will boost the morale of my employees and improve motivation. It will increase our visibility and help to boost the company profile. It will open pathways for partnerships at a global level and bring new connections and networking opportunities.”

Askwar Hilonga invented a low-cost and sustainable water purification system particularly suited to the needs of local people in Tanzania.

Growing up in rural Tanzania, Hilonga suffered from waterborne diseases throughout his childhood. He used his scientific expertise in nanotechnology and his local knowledge to develop a filter based on nanomaterials.

Richard Ochieng Arwa’s background in biochemistry propelled his interest into bio-ethanol fuel manufacturing in Kenya.

It began as a classroom experiment and transformed into a business centred on providing low-income households with affordable clean cooking energy by converting invasive water hyacinth into ethanol fuel.

Joshua Forte of Barbados is a sustainable environmental management practitioner and the founder and CEO of Red Diamond Compost Inc, a biotech social enterprise that focuses on research, development, and commercialization of clean and green agrochemical solutions.

Made primarily from organic waste materials and invasive plant species, the solutions support fragile organisms responsible for building soil structure, storing organic soil carbon, cycling nutrients to plants, and protecting pollinating insects.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland applauded the diverse line-up of change-makers during a virtual meeting in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference COP26.

She said: “Over many decades, the people of the Commonwealth member nations, through the Commonwealth networks which connect us and encourage us to work together, have found pioneering ways of overcoming daunting challenges and of solving seemingly intractable problems.”

Source: IANS

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Does MBA really help in getting a better job offer ?

Does MBA really help in getting a better job offer ?

Most students pursuing an MBA come with the sole objective of having a decent job offer or a promotion in the existing job soon after completion of the MBA. And most of them take loans to pursue this career dream. According to a recent survey by education portal  74% MBA 2022-24 aspirants said they would opt for education loans.

There are exceptional cases like those seeking master’s degree or may have a family business to take care of or an entrepreneurial venture in mind. But the exception cases are barely 1%. For the rest 99%, a management degree is a ticket to a dream job through campus placements or leap towards career enhancements. Stakes are high as many of them quit their jobs which essentially means loss of 2 years of income, apprehension and uncertainty of the job market. On top of that, the pressure to pay back the education loans. Hence the returns have to be high. There is more than just the management degree. Colleges need to ensure that they offer quality management education which enables them to be prepared for not just the demands of recruiters and for a decent job but also to sustain and achieve, all along their career path.

  • So, what exactly are the B Schools doing to prepare their students for the job market and make them industry ready ?
  •  Are B schools ready to deliver and prepare the future business leaders to cope up with the disrupted market ?  

These are the two key questions every MBA aspirant needs to ask, check and validate before filling the MBA application forms of management institutes. And worth mentioning that these application forms do not come cheap. An MBA aspirant who may have shortlisted 5 B Schools to apply for, may end up spending Rs 10,000.00 to Rs 15,000.00 just buying MBA / PGDM application forms.

While internship and placements data of some management institutes clearly indicates that recruiters today have specific demands. The skill sets looked for are job centric and industry oriented. MBA schools which have adopted new models of delivery and technology, redesigned their courses, built an effective evaluation process and prepared the students to cope with the dynamic business scenario, have done great with campus placements despite the economic slow down.

However, the skill set being looked for by a consulting company like Deloitte or KPMG may be quite different from FMCG or a manufacturing sector. Institutes need to acknowledge this fact and act accordingly.

  • Management institutes should ensure that students are intellectually engaged, self motivated and adapt to changes fast. In one word ‘VUCA ready’.
  • B Schools should encourage students to participate in national and international competitive events, simulations of business scenarios.
  • Institutes should have the right mix of faculty members with industry exposure and pure academics.

The placement records of 2021 across top management institutes indicated the fact that recruitment is happening, skilled talent is in demand and certain management institutions continued to attract recruiters even in the middle of an ongoing crisis.

It is time, all management institutes rise to the occasion, understand market realities and identify areas of improvement at both ends – students and faculty.

After all, the stakes are high at both ends. B Schools taking corrective measures will stay while those which are lagging will end up shutting down.

Author Name : Nirmalya Pal


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