Ugandan startup, Project Pedal Tap has been named among the winners of the first Africa Innovation Challenge at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in South Africa.

The Johnson & Johnson powered initiative, which received nearly 500 submissions from innovators and entrepreneurs across the continent, sought the best ideas for new, sustainable health solutions that will benefit African communities.

Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies comprises the world’s largest healthcare business and its presence in Africa dates back to 1930, including business operations, public health programs and corporate citizenship.

The Africa Innovation Challenge is part of the company’s comprehensive approach to collaborate with and support Africa’s vibrant innovation, education and health systems institutions.

Project Pedal Tap emerged winner, together with two other startups including Project Agateka from Burundi and Project Kernel Fresh from Liberia.

A pedal tap is an improved design of the already existing tap model with a more hygienic turning on mechanism that enables users not to touch the tap on opening and closing for water flow while washing their hands.

Entrepreneurs Demonstrate how a pedal tap operates. (Photo Credit: Resilient Africa Network)

Project Pedal Tap Seeks to prevent disease transmission, and cause a reduction of water use by developing 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.

Burundi’s Project Agateka will provide a direct health solution as well as the opportunity for women and girls to generate income hence providing support to girls who are unable to afford menstrual pads and underwears.

With the inclusion of health information, the initiative also provides health education to support improved sexual and reproductive health.

Liberia’s Project Kernel Fresh sources natural palm kernels from smallholder women farmers, increasing their income. The entrepreneur cold presses the palm kernel oil to be used in organic cosmetics. The project will also create jobs for young women by training them to sell the products throughout Liberia.

In addition to the Africa Innovation Challenge winners, the company also announced that it is a major partner of Women in Innovation and the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, programs that seek to substantially increase the number of women on the continent working in the sciences.