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Kenyan Sisters named winners in global Ksh119M prize

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By Judith Gicobi

Norah and Dolphine Magero, two Kenyan sisters who co-founded their startup, were selected the global winner of a Ksh119 million (USD1 million) prize from Cisco.

The two sisters’ start-up Drop Access, which was among 1,200 entries from 99 nations, was declared the winner of the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge during a ceremony on Tuesday, August 23.

The company won a reward of Ksh29.9 million (USD250,000) for the title, which it would use to enhance its VacciBox technology.

The VacciBox is a lightweight, inexpensive solar-powered refrigerator that can be used in healthcare institutions without a dependable cold chain to store vaccines.

With James Mulatya’s help, Norah and Dolphine funded the business in 2018, with the intention of enhancing rural and grassroots communities. It was formally established as a non-profit organization in 2019.

Drop Access was followed in the competition by A2P Energy Solution from India, which won Ksh11.98 million (USD100,000). A2P has created Carbon2Climate, an AI-based platform that locates biomass burning spots in India so crop leftovers may be collected, turned into biofuel, and sold to purchasers.

Beamlink (USA), PowerWells (Australia), and PurCity (Denmark) are three organizations that each received Ksh8.99 million (USD75,000).

After receiving multiple accolades on both a continental and global scale, Drop Access has continued to lead the way in technology.

Norah Magero won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation from the Royal Academy of Engineering in June 2022, making her the second woman and first Kenyan to do so.

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