The rise came about to empower the young youths, giving them opportunities as the world’s most important problems will be solved by the next generation of leaders.
Yet too often, the most brilliant people never realize their full potential for global impact. Either they are never discovered, become isolated at a young age, lack access to opportunities to develop their ideas, or face social and economic barriers.
Rise is a program that finds brilliant people who need opportunity and supports them for life as they work to serve others. It’s an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, Rise is the anchor program of a $1 billion commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to find and support global talent.
The program starts at ages 15–17 and offers access to benefits that last a lifetime including scholarships, mentorship, access to career development opportunities, funding, and more as Global Winners work toward solving humanity’s most pressing problems.
One of the beneficiaries of the program is Marietta Halima Kazungu, who is 17 years old and a student at St. Thomas girls’ secondary school.
She says that her passion is in innovation and science which she has held on to since a tender age with a conviction that it will lead her far.
You are a student and you are interested in health. Can you take us through your journey in education and how you found yourself passionate about Health?
As said earlier, my passion is in science and innovation, I am always curious to learn and find out how science and technology impact the well-being of humans. In school, when I join to form one, I developed an interest in innovation when I join the science and innovation club.
The patron of the club Mr. Keya Bonface who is my chemistry teacher really inspired me to develop the right attitude in STEM-related careers and hobbies. My roots are from a rural village on the coast, and the most pressing issue with my people is access to quality health services. Inadequate health facilities, and not enough medical personnel make my people/community lack n behind in health/ treatment. My dream has been to do something big for my community so as to reduce the mortality rate and provide better health services. I believe a healthy society is the foundation of the economic development of a prosperous nation.
What was the inspiration behind the Rapidcovix Breathalyzer and what are you hoping to achieve?
The outbreak of covid-19 and my love for science and innovation were the genesis of the Rapid covixbreathalyzer. Inadequate testing kits and the time taken to get results were so long that a real-time solution was to be identified. With more designs and upgrading of the kit, I will be the first girl from Kenya to develop a health kit that is locally assembled hence revolutionizing our health sector.
What are the challenges you have faced in your journey as an innovator?
As a young teen who is still in secondary school, it becomes hard to balance class work and my innovation, the project has drained me some finances though my patron Mr. Keya has been of help in helping me develop it. Girls are never looked at as people who have scientific ideas. Innovation is identified with boys.
The Rapidcovix Breathalyzer will be an alternative to test for infectious diseases. Tell us more about how this invention will work and what will make it stand out from other breathalyzers
Rapid Covix-Breathalizer Testing Kit is an advanced device that has biomarker sensors used in detecting the presence of infections, particularly from viral; in this case from Influenza and Corona families.
The device contains three sensors for; Isoprene, Ammonia, and Nitric Oxide-which are Volatile Organic Compounds (V.O.C.) released by the metabolism of viral infections along the respiratory tract. Infected people release specific MIX of the Volatile organic compounds and Nitric Oxide in their breath as a result of inflammation within their lungs. When the biomarker sensors detect the presence of these compounds, a radiation reaction occurs producing signals that are received on the monitor or transmitted remotely and wirelessly to the clinicians in the hospitals.
This testing technology can be used in screening travelers in hotels, supermarkets, and airports as it is cheap, saves time, and can be performed by any person.
Have you partnered with anyone to create this breathalyzer?
With the help of my patron, we are in the process of looking for a potential investor in the health/ biomedical health sector to help us develop and commercialize this great project. They include KEMRI and Vilgroafrica.
You mentioned you have worked with Medical Research institutions to build prototypes have you developed a working prototype?
How will one be able to access your invention?
Since we are still working on intellectual property rights and protection, the designs are still confidential, but for exhibition purposes, one can get them from youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ffccN8PpZk
Have you received an award or recognition as an innovator?
Yes, I have received numerous awards both local and international recognition. They include the young scientist of Kenya-2021 edition, I have been invited to Participate in Ireland’s young scientists’ exhibition in 2023 January.
What are your future aspirations as an inventor?
To make the world a better place for everyone in terms of the health sector.
Apart from Kenya, are there any other countries you are looking to offer the services?
Yes. Developing countries mainly in Africa and other parts of the world.
What word of encouragement do you have for upcoming young girls who aspire to be inventors and innovators?
Work with integrity resilience, and trust in God in every path one takes in changing tomorrow’s future.