Inside JGU 2021 - Issue 3 (March)

JSLH student co-wins Fishbowl Challenge to secure Seed Grant

Dhruvika Sosa, an Environmental Studies Major from the Centre for Environment, Sustainability and Human Development (CESH), Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH), has co-won a Seed Grant of US$ 25,000 at the Fishbowl Challenge competition.

The Fishbowl Challenge brings college students from around the world in way of integrating different cultural, social, and geographic insights to develop innovative and timely solutions and nurture a sense of interdisciplinary research and education. It is stationed at Palo Alto, California, the US.

The two other members of Dhruvika’s team named AkoFresh are Arina (plant scientist at Cambridge) and Mathias (Communications Designer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology), originally from Finland and Ghana, respectively. The ground zero for the pilot project will be Akomadan, Ghana (hence the name AkoFresh).

On the achievement of her team, Dhruvika said, “It took six months of rigorous research, prototyping, stakeholder engagement and faculty mentoring. The idea behind AkoFresh was to get engaged with latest food research and offer a vision to resolve global food insecurity in developing economies. Our goal is to devise some low-cost, low-maintenance, tech-easy solution for small/marginal farmers to curb post-harvest losses and preserve the perishables. More specifically, we aim to design a cold storage facility, entirely operable on clean power, to help minimise post-harvest losses.”

She said the prototype her team is proposing would be entirely scalable in which case it will benefit the farming fraternity at large across the world. It would bring novel perspectives to look into the global food insecurity. “And by the same token, our project contributes to various global rural development initiatives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are certain that such innovative approaches will help enhance rural income and ensure sustainable agrarian livelihood in the days ahead.”

Out of 1000+ initial project applicants, 100 participants were selected in the first round, which helped form 24 teams. Ultimately there were 4 finalist teams. Then 2 Grand Prize Winners.

The judges were Dr. Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director, Ladol; Narayan Sundararajan, CTO, Grameen-intel social business and author of The Rule of One; Vandana Bharvani, Co-founder of Fishbowl Challenge and angel investor; and and Wilson Chen, CFO, Jackson Square Aviation and angel investor.

Dhruvika’s team is presently in the process of legally registering AkoFresh as a private business under the Ghanaian government. She will visit the Akomadan community in Ghana soon to understand their roles and develop context-relevant field operations (stakeholder participation, community mobilisation, etc.).