PedalTap at NEF2018 Plenary: Conversation with Africa’s Brightest Innovators

Every year, brilliant young Africans are making inspiring new discoveries, pushing the boundaries of innovation. This plenary session was to help participants catch up with recent breakthroughs across the continent, with each Innovator sharing their breakthrough. Panelists were; Arthur Zang – CardioPad, Ms. Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Life Bank, Brian Turyabagye – Co-inventor of the MamaOpe, Dougbeh Christopher Nyan – Liberian Doctor and Creator of Nyan Test, Cedric Atangana – CEO of Infinity Space, Builder of WeCashUp, Mahmud Johnson – Founder and CEO of J-Palm Libera, Grâce-Françoise Nibizi – Founder, SaCoDé & Ageteka Project, Grace Nakibaala – Founder and CEO PedalTap, Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga – Founder and CEO, SMIN Power Group, Patrick Nsenga Buchana – CEO of AC Group Ltd and the session moderator Michelle Gregory, Vice-President of Content and Innovation, Elsevier.


A presentation by Grace Nakibaala – Founder and CEO PedalTap,

Pedaltap at the Next Einstein Forum NEF 2018

PedalTap at the Next Einstein Forum 2018


PedalTap at the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2018

PedalTap was one of Africa’s Brightest Innovator at the Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2018 at Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda on 27th March, 2018. The Forum took place from 26th to 28th March, 2018.

As one of the winners of the Johnson &Johnson Africa Innovation Award, Pedal Tap participated in the session titled “discovering Africa’s Brightest Innovators together with 9 other African innovators that included the other winners of the Johnson & Johnson Africa Innovation award. This session was moderated by Michelle Gregory, Vice-President of Content and Innovation, Elsevier.

The session presented 10 Africa’s innovators under 42 who shared about their innovations in 4 minutes each. These included Mr. Arthur Zang, CardioPad, Ms. Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Life Bank, Mr. Brian Turyabagye, MamaOpe, Dr. Dougbeh Christopher Nyan, The Nyan Test, Cedric Atangana, CEO of Infinity Space, Builder of WeCashUp, Mahmud Johnson, Founder and CEO of J-Palm Liberia, Grâce-Françoise Nibizi, Founder, SaCoDé & Ageteka Project, Grace Nakibaala, Founder and CEO Pedal Tap, Dr. Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga, Founder and CEO, SMIN Power Group, Patrick Nsenga Buchana, CEO of AC Group Ltd. ‘It was great and rich experience learning from each other’ noted Grace Nakibaala.

We each were given 4 minutes to pitch our innovations to the congregation. We were introduced by the moderator highlighting our innovations and individual profiles. The overview of the session was, “Africa has the youngest population in the World and is expected to have half a billion-young people aged 25 years old and less by 2055. While African countries are on the quest to become a knowledge led economy, it is important to involve young people into the development of their countries, particularly in driving innovation.” At the end of the pitches we all responded to several questions from the moderator and the congregation at large on scalability, impact, other projects in the pipeline, R&D: Product improvement, among others.

Pedal Tap also participated in a side event guided by the theme: What innovation looks like: Conversation in the co-laboratory with Africa Innovation Award winners facilitated by the Johnson and Johnson team. During this session, I shared the Pedal Tap journey before and after winning the Johnson and Johnson Africa Innovation Award together with the other 2 winners.  We were also able to exhibit the Pedal Tap in the Johnson and Johnson room that was hosting the side events for Johnson and Johnson.

It was an honour sharing my work with all the attendees of the next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2018. I also learnt from the other 9 innovators especially from those that were producing and selling their products in their own countries. We were also able to get connections with potential customers and partners that we would work with to scale the Pedal Tap product, an additional benefit to the Pedal Tap team.

Thank you, Johnson and Johnson team, for this opportunity that you gave the PedalTap team to be part of this scientific gathering. The team learnt a lot of other possible ways to move this innovation forth from the different presentations and sharing experiences and learnings with other change makers around Africa and the whole world. It was also a good time for the team to reflect on our journey and lay out solid goals on how to grow moving forward.

Details about the 10 innovations which participated in this forum

  • Cardiopad: A touch-screen heart monitoring device, invented by a Cameroonian entrepreneur Arthur Zang records a patient’s heart activity via Bluetooth-connected electrodes. It sends a digitized electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to a national healthcare center for a cardiologist to evaluate and return a diagnosis to the patient. The whole process takes less than 20 minutes and the doctor and patient never have to interact.
  • LifeBank: A healthcare supply chain engine that helps hospitals discover essential medical suppliers and delivers them in the right condition and on time.
  • MamaOpe:A bio-medical smart jacket that helps doctors identify Pneumonia at a faster rate with increased accuracy so as to considerably reduce the under-five child mortality rate, and increase the productivity of health workers.
  • Nyan Test: A rapid multiplex test that detects and identifies multiple infections in less than an hour.
  • WeCashUp: WeCashUp is a Universal Payment Platform that implements a Financial Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain to enable digital companies worldwide to accept Cash, Mobile Money, Bank Mobile Wallets, Cards and Cryptocurrency payments online via a single API integration.
  • J-Palm Libera: Provides access to improved processing machinery for smallholder oil palm farmers and has created a market for previously wasted palm kernels. J-Palm Liberia processes the palm kernels into a range of products including Kernel Fresh (organic moisturizer and hair conditioner made of virgin cold-pressed palm kernel oil).
  • SaCoDé & Ageteka Project: SaCoDe is the only organisation in Burundi that makes reusable and washable menstrual pads, and the only organisation in Africa that makes them wearable with or without underwear.
  • Pedal Tap:A retrofittable, affordable, hands-free, foot-operated water dispensing system.  The PedalTap is designed to reduce the growth and frequency of potent and infectious diseases spread at water points in public spaces and is currently being piloted at Uganda’s National Referral Hospital, in public schools, toilets and offices.
  • SMIN Power Group:A company that designs and installs renewable energy systems in USA and DRC.
  • Tap n Go: Tap n Go was created by AC Group Ltd, a company providing smart transport solutions like for public transportation in Kigali, Yaoundé, Douala and expanding to other cities in Africa. Within 2 years of operation, AC Group has been able to digitize public transport payment and enabled bus operators in Kigali to recover almost 30% of their revenues.

‘Solutions through innovation’

By; Grace Nakibaala, Founder and CEO Pedal Tap

Pedal Tap Officially launched

It was yet another fulfilling and exciting afternoon on Wednesday March 21, 2018 as we witnessed the launch of Our own Pedal Tap- a retrofittable and affordable, hands-free foot operated water-dispensing device that improves hand hygiene, reduces infection spread and minimizes water waste at College of Engineering Design Art and Technology, Conference Hall, Makerere University.

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  • Guests at PedalTap Launch
  • at the PedalTap Launch
  • J&J team at the PedalTap Launch
  • Grace Nakibaala at the PedalTap Launch
  • PedalTap Launch


Pedal Tap is one of the products from InnovAsepsis Limited a young, dynamic company whose vision is to create pathogen-free environments through innovative health solutions. The InnovAsepsis team is driven by the passion to improve architectural and cultural suitability related to health, promising a better quality of life in our communities. Pedal Tap is an award-winning design and the first of many more innovative solutions to come. ‘I take this opportunity to sincerely thank you and the entire team at Makerere University School of Public Health-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) for the support you have given Pedal Tap Innovation as we worked tirelessly to refine the Pedal Tap innovation’ shared a beaming Grace Nakibaala, Pedal Tap Lead Innovator and CEO InnovAsepsis.

The launch of Pedal Tap brought together 76 official guests and 45 students from Johnson and Johnson, RAN, CEDAT, Makerere University, OXFAM International, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Innovation Consortium, Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), Infectious Diseases Institute, Medical Face International, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Ministry of Health-Department of Clinical Management and the Business Development Centre.

Prof. William Bazeyo, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Finance and Administration at Makerere University and RAN’s Chief of Party graced this event representing Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor Makerere University. In his remarks, he thanked all Innovators who are not selfish and freely share knowledge without reservation noting that ‘we can only help each other to succeed by freely joining in knowledge generation and sharing’.  He described Grace as a young entrepreneur who is focused, hardworking and committed to realizing set goals and objectives. He shared that Grace joined RAN in September 2015 as one of the participants of the several innovation engaging sessions at RAN highlighting that these sessions include; Innovation Monthly Garages on the last Friday of each month, Ignite series, Pitch Tuesdays, Open Day Innovation Clinics and Human Centered Design trainings among others. That Grace eventually developed interest in innovation after engaging in these sessions at RAN, she later requested to pitch her idea of the Pedal Tap to the RAN team and she benefitted from this opportunity. During the first pitch, Grace’s idea was intensely discussed and torn apart to almost nothing, actually, the team Grace pitched to thought that the now great innovator Grace was then just cracking a big joke in presenting Pedal Tap Innovation. Grace, remained relentless, committed and picked up all comments from the pitch session, formulated a multidisciplinary team as had also been advised during the pitch session and worked even harder on further developing the innovation. Hard working as she is, Grace next presented this innovation at one of the Innovation Garage sessions ready to partner with the Innovation Consortium Limited to support local fabrication of the Pedal Taps.  ‘Thank you, dear partners, for closely working with the RAN team to push forth innovation’ noted Prof. Bazeyo.  As he addressed the launch participants, Prof. Bazeyo also challenged Grace and all the other innovators to creatively think of how we can contribute to controlling sepsis in health. He said, ‘this innovation Pedal Tap is now ready to hit the market, let us let it transform the communities and start thinking about more innovations dear innovators, I implore you to look out for, find new ideas and quickly work on them. We continue to pledge our continued support to identification, development, incubation and scaling of innovative solutions in Uganda and beyond’.

Dr. Roy William Mayega, RAN Deputy Chief of Party in his remarks noted that Africa has many development challenges, we require more energy and thought to get the ideas out to change Africa. ‘The time is now for Africans and African scholars to take action so that we contribute to the development of our continent’ Dr. Mayega stressed ‘Innovation starts with Identifying pain points causing trouble to the people’ he added. He also encouraged the innovators to always work closely with a multidisciplinary team to put ideas together in order to co-create innovative solutions. Additionally, Dr. Mayega shared that all innovators, students, faculty, the community and non-innovators should strive to benefit from RAN’s Human Centered Design (HCD) training noting that Innovation is a highly innovative art or science so we all need to look or observe very critically how people are behaving in a particular community or area and quickly identify gaps to guide your innovation process. ‘We are all capable of changing the world starting mainly here at Makerere University. The brains in this room are capable of transforming our communities in Uganda, Africa and beyond’ Dr. Mayega shared. He urged Grace Nakibaala, Pedal Tap Lead Innovator to mentor other students and innovators to share the skills gained from this process-Congratulations once again!

Dr. Michael Moscherosch,Director Research and Development, Fellow External Innovation & Alliances Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. Johnson and Johnson while addressing the launch participants noted that the secret to success is to fail several times but gather the pieces, stand up and move forward immediately. This is what has seen the Pedal Tap Innovation grow and hit the market in such a glamorous way. He shared that Johnson and Johnson receivedabout 500 applications when their call was put out and from all those applications, they had to select three winners. It is exciting that one of the winning innovations was Pedal Tap. ‘It is a great innovation with an enterprising and an easy to work with Lead. Everyone in the office is happy to engage and work with Grace, something which has made all our lives easier to live given that our efforts are directed towards improving lives in the communities in which we live and serve too’ Dr. Michael Moscherosch noted. He cautioned the Pedal Tap team to ensure that they continue working hard to make profit but also remain vigilant watching out for competition which he envisions will come very soon.

Kampala Capital City Council’s (KCCA) Director Planning Mr. Moses Atwine graced the launch representing the Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Musisi. ‘Pedal Tap was tested in the KCCA facilities and we are proud to identify with such a successful innovation’ Mr. Atwine noted. He also assured participants of KCCA’s support towards scaling and promoting the Pedal Tap Innovation in different service delivery outlets and also within their mandate.  ‘These Pedal Taps are going to be useful in Markets, Primary schools, health centers and public places of convenience in the city among others’, he shared. ‘It is exciting to note that these Pedal Taps will also help us to further manage water usage so that we can also celebrate being on the low per capita side of water wastage’ Mr. Atwine added. He also highlighted that KCCA like any other institution faces several challenges and some of these are waste management with the key question to innovators that can we re-cycle rubbish or plastics for a cleaner city? What can we do to address vandalism? ‘Such and more challenges in our communities should instigate all of us to innovate, Mr. Atwine stressed.

The climax of this event was an awards ceremony where the Pedal Tap Innovation recognized and awarded the different institutions which have walked the journey with them. Among these were; Innovation Consortium Limited who supported their prototyping sessions but also fabrication processes, Ministry of Health-Uganda-for supporting the testing of Pedal Tap, Big Ideas at the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) University of California Berkeley who were the first ones to believe in Pedal Tap, RAN who nurtured Pedal Tap team’s steps right from inception to fruition. ‘I went to RAN as a baby and learnt to crawl, walk and now I am running, thank you so much RAN Team under the leadership of Prof. Bazeyo for being a part of this journey and Johnson and Johnson- ‘thank you so much for openly sharing your expertise and believing in Pedal Tap. A big thank you to the Pedal Tap Team, it is because of this team that we are here TODAY…thank you! shared an excited Grace Nakibaala.

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PedalTap Launch

InnovAsepsis Limited is pleased to announce and invite you to the launch of the PedalTap a retrofittable and affordable, hands free foot operated water dispensing device designed to reduce the spread of infectious disease and save water.


Makerere University College of
Engineering, Design, Art and
Technology [CEDAT]
Conference hall.


2:00 Pm – 5:00Pm EAT

Makerere defeats USA’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology at TechCon 2016

Youthful innovators from Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences School of Public Health-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) have scooped top two cash prizes in Boston, USA.

This was at the interactive Innovation Marketplace at the USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) technical convening TechCon 2016 in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) between November 10-12, 2016, Makerere scoped the highest awards out of 24 competitors in the category of Products and Services.

Grace Nakibaala, an architect from Makerere University working on the Pedal Tap Innovation ‘non-touch water dispensing system’ won in the 2nd place USD 1,500. Additionally, Bonita Nanziri, an innovator working on a sickle cell anaemia diagnosis kit-MDEX, won the 1st place private sector prize out of 32 competitors. The prize was on Engineering and Design Review from ASME Engineering 4 Change out of 32 competitors.

Makerere University tops all again at TechCon 2016

During the interactive Innovation Marketplace at the USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN)  technical convening TechCon 2016 in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston USA, November 10-12, 2016, innovators from Makerere University College of Health Sciences School of Public Health-ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) scooped top two cash prizes out of 24 competitors in the category of Products and Services. Elijah Djan, an Innovator from RAN’s Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab working on the Nubrix project-‘re-cycling paper to produce bricks, walked away with the 1st prize worth USD 2,500  while Grace Nakibaala, an architect from Makerere University working on the Pedal Tap Innovation ‘non-touch water dispensing system’ won in the 2nd place USD 1,500. Additionally, Bonita Nanziri, an innovator working on a sickle cell anaemia diagnosis kit-MDEX, won the 1st place private sector prize out of 32 competitors. The prize was on Engineering and Design Review from ASME Engineering 4 Change out of 32 competitors. This team will also benefit from a full technical analysis of their innovations’ business model working towards further developing the same.

PedalTap Named Winner of Africa Innovation Challenge

Africa is one of the fastest growing regions of the world, and Johnson & Johnson is proud to support this growth through strong collaborations that encourage innovation and accelerate advancements in the continent’s health systems,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “We are seeing a surge of activity among entrepreneurs and health system leaders to develop important solutions that overcome longstanding health and societal challenges. By working together, we hope to bring meaningful solutions to patients and consumers more rapidly, to help cultivate the next generation of scientists, and to support Africa’s entrepreneurial base.”

PROJECT PEDAL TAP (Uganda) Seeking to prevent disease transmission, and a reduction of water use, Project Pedal Tap will develop hands-free solutions for hand water taps in Uganda. The entrepreneurs will create manufacturing capabilities, using mostly recycled materials, which will lead to an ongoing business.

Woman creates foot pedal to make hand washing easier

As Ebola spread through West Africa in 2014, Grace Nakibaala worried about her mother, an optician who was regularly in contact with travelers at Entebbe International Airport, the nation’s main airport.

Precautions to prevent the spread of the disease were minimal and seemed inadequate, she says. Mostly, people at the airport were just encouraged to wash their hands after using the restroom.

“I was not fully convinced that this situation could safeguard Ugandans from infectious diseases,” Nakibaala says.


My PedalTap and InnovAsepsis Ltd Journey

It all started with the recent Ebola outbreak in WestAfrica. My mum is an Ophthalmological Clinical Officer working with Entebbe Hospital right next to the national main entry point. I was scared that she was at risk of contracting Ebola since one of the initial signs was red eyes. At that point I asked myself how can I save my mother from contracting Ebola? I did not ask how the government or NGOs or WHO can save my mother?! As a final year architecture student I immediately asked for where the Isolation centres had been set up as the nation was getting prepared to handle an outbreak if it spilled over to Uganda and how they were designed. Just by first engagement, there were many issues that seemed wrong so I decided to investigate the architectural suitability of these Isolation centres as my final year dissertation. I had numerous trainings by World Health Organisation (WHO), Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), Doctors without borders, in Ebola case management and Especially dangerous pathogens management.

My Brucellosis, “Brucella” battle Grace Nakibaala

I thought this was another “malaria,” where all you need is a few medications to get back on your feet. I was completely wrong!!!

Now I know why my parents and best friend Mike got so shocked and sad when the doctor revealed that I am suffering from Brucellosis. My mum’s words, “…where the hell did you get it from…? Oh my baby…” When I tell her I have malaria or any other illness I have ever had, she just checks the drugs I am prescribed and asks we go hung out for lunch or something…

For me I was grateful that my problem had been found. I had been suffering from fever, sweats, fatigue, anorexia, and muscle/ joint aches for over 3 months. All the time I would go to the hospital, of course they would test for malaria and typhoid and results would be negative. I was always told to get enough rest and drink a lot of water to feel better.

Big Ideas Team Heads to USAID’s TechCon

Grace Nakibaala, Isah Ssevume, and Molly Mbaziira Nannyonjo from Makerere University formed the PedalTap team to prevent the spread of infection at communal handwashing facilities in Uganda. The PedalTap is a free-standing, universally-fitting connection that can be attached to any water tap. Rather than turning the tap on and off using their hands, users can control water flow by stepping on a foot pedal that is made from a bicycle brake handle and a spring-loaded water cut-off mechanism.

graceTransforming the PedalTap from an idea into