More people understand the value of saving money or planning groceries than conserving water. But a new app concept from Prosper Ukachi, who hails from Abuja, Nigeria, could change our perception about looking after water. His work has since been recognised in the Xylem Ignite Global Student Innovation Challenge.
Prosper and his team collaborator, Gabriel Portas from Spain, developed a prototype phone app called BlueHub. This innovative application helps people calculate how much water they potentially use, then provides numerous ways to reduce their water usage, gain awards, and connect with other water-conscious people.
"The UK's environmental agencies estimate that people there waste up to three billion litres each day! Much of that is lost through simple things like inefficient handwashing. We created this app to encourage individuals to conserve water by observing how their behaviours affect water and by providing them with actions to follow to enhance water conservation," says Prosper.
BlueHub (https://apo-opa.info/47gtqRe) combines conversational information with a handy usage calculator. Users can answer a few basic questions to calculate their average water usage. The app then provides the means to track consumption and reduce usage. It also provides ways to connect to others through forums and direct private messages, enabling them to create water-saving communities. Using gamification, the app rewards participants for improving their water usage, and they receive push notifications of their achievements that they can share with others.
This app concept would go on to win one of the categories in the Xylem Ignite Global Student Innovation Challenge. This annual competition invites students worldwide to submit projects that help conserve water. Students from all expertise levels competed for eight cash prizes from the US$20,000 prize pool, including US$5,000 grand prizes for the top secondary (high school) and tertiary (university) projects.
Facing tough competition, BlueApp went on to win the Awareness to Action category for tertiary student projects. It is a big moment for Prosper, who is highly ambitious and lives by his personal slogan, "Data, Education and Integrity. That sums me up!"
This win proves that anyone can succeed if they put their mind to the task, and that no obstacle in life is so big that we should give up
Prosper was studying civil engineering at a private University in Nigeria but had to drop out due to a family tragedy. However, this did not stop him from acquiring more knowledge and achieving certifications in technology courses. His drive for knowledge and betterment created the insight and connections to participate in the challenge, collaborating with Gabriel, based in Spain. Prosper is currently volunteering as an intern Marketing Officer, and he has established skills in business administration, leadership, people management, active listening, customer research and project management.
This win proves that anyone can succeed if they put their mind to the task, and that no obstacle in life is so big that we should give up. The same message resonates with water conservation. The world faces enormous challenges around its most precious resource. Without water, there is no life. Unfortunately, our wasteful and polluting habits are pushing water ecosystems to the brink.
The BlueHub app is a shining light, showing how to bring more people to appreciate water conservation. Prosper's story is also an excellent example for Africa's people, showing how combining technology, ambition, and knowledge can help solve the continent's biggest challenges.
"We are very proud of the work done by Prosper and his teammate, Gabriel. It's exciting that a solution that initially targets the UK was developed here in Africa. That shows that with the right mindset and resources, we can tackle problems as well as any other part of the world," says Chetan Mistry, Xylem Africa's Strategy and Marketing Manager.