Commonwealth Innovators

Read and watch the inspiring stories of innovators from Commonwealth countries

Pacific

Vanuatu Innovator Uses Bamboo to Improve Hygiene

Lack of running water is often the cause of severe malnutrition and other illnesses in rural communities across Pacific island countries. Tom Yakken, a village resident in Vanuatu, has developed a ‘tippy tap’ (a makeshift handwashing device) made from bamboo, which has led to a reduction in the use of plastic bottles and also an improvement in hygiene levels and health outcomes in the community.

Europe

Real Junk Food Project Combats Food Waste in the UK

Adam Smith uses farmers’ production waste to ‘feed the world’ and is a runner-up in the Food Chain’s 2018 Global Food Champion Award in the BBC Food and Farming Awards. He is combatting food wastage by using surplus food abandoned in manufacturing and farmers’ warehouses while also helping to feed those living in poverty. His project has already fed 1 million people so far in its cafes, and is reported to be feeding 15,000 schoolchildren a week in Leeds.

Caribbean and Americas

Trinidadian Transforms Coconut Waste into Eyewear

Darceuil Duncan, an environmental manager in Trinidad and Tobago, was looking for a creative solution to the problem of organic waste generated by the coconut sector in her country. In the process, she also saw an opportunity to set up an environment-friendly company that today produces fashionable eyewear from coconut husk.

Asia

Revolutionising Menstrual Health in Rural India

Arunachalam Muruganantham, a school dropout from a poor family in southern India, has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads. Muruganantham’s mission was not just to increase the use of sanitary pads, but also to create jobs for rural women.

Africa

Nigerian and Ugandan Innovators Combat Food Waste

Due to electricity shortages and lack of storage facilities, half of all the fruit and vegetables produced in Africa is thrown away, even though millions of people across the continent are going hungry. Young Nigerian entrepreneur Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu and Ugandan engineering graduate Lawrence Okettayot have developed low-tech innovative solutions to address the problem in their own countries.

Spotlight

From Fixing Broken Bikes in London to Innovative Entrepreneur

Growing up in south London, George Imafidon might not have seen engineering as an achievable career goal. Today, he has gone from fixing broken bicycles to being chosen as one of the Queen’s Young Leaders for 2018, recognised for his exceptional work in innovation and improving other people’s lives. George is now in his third year studying mechanical engineering at University College London. He is also the co-founder of Motivez, an app that helps young people identify personal development and networking opportunities to further their careers.