Kenya: Manufacturing Takes a Lead in Reducing Spread of COVID-19 in Kenya

The world has come to a near standstill following the outbreak of COVID-19 that has affected various parts different countries at various levels.

Most manufacturing plants have closed and sent workers home or reduced the number of workers, with some working in shifts to ensure demand by customers is met despite despite the economic slowdown.

At a small manufacturing Hub named Gearbox, located in Nairobi's Industrial Area, Peter Mbari a Hardware Design Engineer and CEO of Blink Electronics has developed a local automated hand washing and soap dispenser prototype which he plans to roll out into the market within the week.

The idea was ignited by the current COVID-19 situation. Peter has designed an electric contactless hand washing station with an automatic soap dispenser for restaurants, pubs, clubs and even for use in homes.

He has also begun production of another foot-operated mechanical hand washing station where a user presses a lever with his foot to dispense water. His water dispensers are economical and retail for a fraction of the cost of commercially available solutions.

Speaking about the wash stations, Peter Mbari says, "I like to use my skills and innovations to develop solutions for existing problems. With today's current health crisis, the cost and availability of hygiene essentials including sanitizers remain out of reach for many Kenyans and hand washing is a more affordable solution for most households.

With this fact, the role of innovation and manufacturing thereby becomes a critical driver towards supporting the country to find solutions for socio-economic and health problems that exist. Kenya is a unique market and consumers in Kenya have unique problems. Some of these problems can only be addressed by local solutions, and that is what I strive to do through my innovations daily."

Peter's innovation will help people wash hands easily and safely without having to touch the taps and dispensers, thereby reducing the necessity of having to come into contact with a potentially contaminated tap. Mbari's dispensers are currently on sale online at www.blinkelectrics.co.ke.

Both the electric automatic and manual operated water and soap dispensers retail at Ksh. 6,000 only. Mbari says he can manage a production line of up to contactless hand washing stations per day which he is currently producing at Gearbox. Once a customer makes an order, the delivery will be done within 24 hours in Nairobi.

Kamau Gachigi, Executive Director of Gearbox where Peter is producing has said, "Gearbox as a hub was setup to offer an affordable manufacturing platform for entrepreneurs with an aim to improve efficiency and reduce costs of input. Seeing Peter Mbari's work is quite encouraging and is testament that the fourth industrial revolution has come of age.

I am a firm believer that physical, manufacturable technology (hardware) can help solve the world's greatest problems. Technology can and should be made by the people who live with the problems. This is a key driver for the existence of Gearbox."

Mbari has worked in various capacities in renewable energy, industrial research and development environments gaining knowledge and experience in a wide scope of electrical and electronic engineering applications. Peter also consults for contract electronic design projects, retrofitting and repair of machines during his extra time and enjoys teaching others how to code and ride motorcycles.

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