Student projects are the heart of PBL-BioAfrica. The projects are carried out in collaboration with the industry and societal actors to tie education more closely with working life, solving real-life cases in international teams both virtually and in the field. The cases are assigned by organisations in the field of bio-economy and agriculture.
2023 Student Project
Utilization of Abattoir Chicken Blood into Useful products
Challenge Owner: University of Zambia
The overall objective of the student challenge is to explore various opportunities of utilizing chicken blood waste from abattoirs into useful products in Zambia. Ross breeders, a poultry abattoir has been identified. In terms of capacity, Ross breeders® slaughters 26, 000 birds/day and from this produces 3x 1,500 litres of blood/day which are collected in tanks. At the moment, the abattoir has no use for the blood, so the Lusaka Municipal council collects the blood and disposes it off at a fee. However, there is a shortage of blood meal in the Zambia. The major agro-dealers interviewed mentioned that their blood meal supplies were previously being imported into the country from Namibia and South Africa but cannot do so due to high import costs. This gives an opportunity to the University to explore the avenue of converting blood abattoir waste product into useful products like blood meal.
The students will work to determine/assess;
suitable preservation method and processing method for chicken blood waste
the nutrient composition of blood meal and assess microbial safety of blood meal
the microbial safety of blood meal
the palatability & digestibility of blood meal when used in animal diets
2022 Student Projects
The overall project objective is to develop a business model for the precooked beans market in Zambia and the region(common market of East and Southern Africa and the Development community) The challenge was hosted by University of Zambia in collaboration with Egerton University, Gulu University, Aalto University and the industry partner Trinity Super Nutrition.
Digitizing Cooking in Rural Zambia
The overall objective of the challenge was to explore improved educational opportunities for children in rural Zambia, create conditions for establishing new businesses and other services for farmers as well as promote other potential explorations for solar stoves.
In addition to the cooking, stoves affect the everyday lives of families and communities in many ways. One interesting complementary feature is the digitalisation made possible by the electricity produced by the stove. The application possibilities include virtual schooling for children coming from longer distances and improved educational opportunities, especially for girls. Electricity creates new conditions for small business and can improve opportunities for small-scale farmers to take better account of the impact of climate change on local conditions.
Business Development of Precooked Beans in Zambia
At as low as a fifth of the price of animal protein sources, legumes are critical to the food security of Zambia and its neighbors. Beans are also important for the income generation of subsistence farmers and are a major contributor to the “economies” of many rural communities. If paired with a steady raw demand for product and stable markets, farmers would have the ability to contribute further and improve the livelihoods for many in their areas. The consumption of beans in Zambia has had one significant problem faced by consumers: the long cooking time. Unpressurised cooking of dry beans typically takes three hours.
AGS Co-creation & Innovation programme
AGS Co-creation and Innovation Programme in Zambia. The co-creation and innovation programme is designed for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide concrete support for developing services, products, and business models. The focus of the innovation process is to look for application / adaptation required in the Zambian market as well as looking at innovations for future challenges and opportunities.
In this challenge, a total of 19 Zambian SMEs has been selected for the programme. Key sectoral priorities are agribusiness, renewable energy and circular economy.
The co-creation and innovation occurs in multidisciplinary teams consisting of company experts as well as students and teachers from University of Zambia, Mulungushi University and Häme University of Applied Sciences. The teams designed, tested and developed a business concept in three workshops in February and March 2022. Through testing the concepts, companies gained understanding of how their business could work in the selected market.
2021 Student Projects
Sustainable Biowaste Management and Commercialization in Nakuru County
In this challenge, the students supported the commissioning company, Nakura Living lab. Nakuru Living Lab is part of an East-African network of living labs for regenerative and inclusive food systems building a strong living lab community that enable these innovation cases to transform the food systems over a longer term.
The students supported the company by doing research on the following: how to mechanize the composting processing to increase volumes, how to improve the nutrient value of the organic fertilizer, how to train more farmers on composting, how to sensitize more farmers to use organic fertilizer and how to commercialize organic fertilizer. In the process, the students provided;
Farmer training on how to improve nutrition quality of organic fertilizer
Capacity building of farmers in entrepreneurship and agrienterprise management
Capacity building farmers in farmer –to-farmer training?
Capacity building farmers in smartphone agrijournalism to enable them document instructional videos and produce marketing videos.
Sustainable Solid Waste Management
The first student project was focused on investigating solid waste management in Kenya and Zambia, and creating a new business solution in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.
The project was assigned by Steam'n Heat, a Finnish company that works on sustainable energy solutions. Watch video for more!
Sustainable Bio-waste Management & Commercialization in Nakuru County
Students of Egerton University work together with a farmers’ group, Griincom waste management, to improve the quality and production capacity of organic fertilizer from agricultural waste. The students will work with the farmers in the student challenge through training them on improving the nutritional quality of organic fertilizer, agricultural marketing, smartphone Agrijournalism and farmer-to-farmer training.
Read more about the experience in this blog post by one of the students involved.