Sierra Leonean Innovator and CEO of Women in Energy-SL Margaret Yainkain Mansaray became the first Sierra Leonean to be listed among Innovators competing for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2023. An award organized annually by the Royal Academy of Engineering UK (The United Kingdom’s national academy of engineering).
Mansaray, who is the only female rising to compete against 14 other innovators from ten countries across Africa was recognized for her invention of a Smart Green Stove. The smart green stove is a fast and efficient non-electric cooking device she designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and health risks that greatly affect women and girls in Africa.
The stove burns briquettes made from recycled local materials such as coconut and jelly shells which are usually discarded. The insulator absorbs most of the heat and makes the stove nearly smokeless, reducing the harmful soot which would otherwise be released into the environment.
“My team and I are working tirelessly to uplift women and girls by addressing time and energy poverty. I’ve always been the only woman in a room full of men, and so one of my aims is to educate women and girls, specifically on the role engineering can play in improving their lives.”, Mansaray said.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was launched in 2014 by the Royal Academy of Engineering. An award for ambitious African innovators creating local and scalable solutions to pan-African and international challenges. The innovations shortlisted in 2023 tackle challenges approaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, clean energy, good health and well-being, and quality education.
According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, Innovators shortlisted for the Africa Prize will benefit from a special package of support including business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communications. The package will also include access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile and highly experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa. Four finalists will be chosen to direct their innovations and business plans to Africa Prize judges at an event in Accra, Ghana, on July 6th, 2023. The winner will have a take-home of £25,000, and three runners-up will win £10,000 each. An additional One-to-Watch award of £5,000 will be given to the most promising entrepreneur from the remaining shortlist.
Mansaray took to her Facebook handle and expressed her joy as she took pride in being that this is the first time Sierra Leone has been shortlisted for the Royal Academy Africa prize. She emphasized that her achievement is a win for the country and especially for vulnerable girls and women.
“I am happy to share that for the first time Sierra Leone has been shortlisted in the Royal academy Africa prize and I am the only female among 10 African countries.”, Mansaray wrote.