Orange Sierra Leone has awarded NL150,000 to James Samba and Hawanatu Sesay as 2023 Orange Innovations Award winners out of the eight Grand Finalists. 

The auspicious ceremony took place on Friday 4th August at the Limkokwing University Hall.

Hawanatu Sesay with the IOT Plant Monitoring Device won the Orange Tech Queen out of three Finalists. she described the device as one that can detect problems affecting the plants and also proffers solutions. She added that the device will detect pests, soil fertility, moisture level and can automatically takes decision on when to water a plant.

“I was very happy when I was  announced winner because I have tried  Pitching my Ideas two times and this is the third time now. I’m very happy that I have won and never giving up on my dream of establishing a company that would enhance the growth level of plants  in Sierra Leone through using IOT Devices,” she states.

The Awards were presented  by Kadijatu G. A Kamara, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural  Affairs.

Judges present for the ceremony were Alfred Akibo-betts, CEO Betts Firm, Edward Sesay Wholesale and Roaming Director,  Estelle Van Eeckhout, Brussels Airlines GM for Sierra Leone, Angella Leigh, Software Engineer and Buisness Support Expert and Kadijatu G. A Kamara, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

The self taught innovator Samba, a software Engineering student from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology succeeded in creating the first ever revolutionary hybrid rechargeable electric quadricycle that operates without the use of fuel.

The Chie Executive Officer of Orange Sekou Amadou Bah  Pointed out  the frantic  efforts  made towards digital inclusion with the opening of the Orange Digital Center in Sierra Leone last year. This center has facilitated  digital access, particularly for young women, providing free digital training courses. In its first year, over 1,600 young people benefited from the center, with 52% of them being women. Remarkably, more than 68% of the trained women found employment.

In an exclusive interview with Sierraloaded, Samba expressed his appreciation to the Almighty God for giving him the idea of Starting the Project.

He acknowledged that though it is no easy but he believes in the solution they are trying to bring to the people of Sierra Leone.

He affirmed that they are on the ground to change the transportation system in Sierra Leone, and for people to stop using fuel which reduces the cost of transportations.

I grew up living with my disable uncle in Pujehun. I was the one pushing his wheelchair to help him go for work. After I enrolled at the C.K,C Senior Secondary School, he was having no option but to board Bikes, or any other public Transport. Due to these constraints, he later involved in an accident which nearly cost his life. We thought that was the end of the problem, but was later diagnosed with a lung illness as a result of fuel emission. We later lost him in 2018. This really motivates me to come with a solution to revolutionize the transport system to green and renewable energy and off course creating a space for persons with disability.

Government is spending huge money on fuel subsidy but yet still the price keeps soaring but electric vehicle doesn’t require any fuel. It does not damage the environment but it continues to operate in a clean renewable energy cycle,” he stated.

Samba affirmed that if Sierra Leone embraces renewable energy, it will help to save many lives. He believes that that the smoke produce by fossil fuels are really damaging our health system and C02 emissions leads to cancer which is killing more people more than Aids and Malaria.

He called for additional support so they will be able build more vehicles. He confirmed that the NL100,000 has serve as a major boost to go into the market solve more problems.

Introduced in 2019 the Orange Social Venture Prize annually  Sierra Leonean innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs  with a chance to secure funding, mentorship, and business growth opportunities.