Five Africans Win Inaugural JJI Champions of Science – Africa Storytelling Challenge

Johnson & Johnson Innovation has announced five winners of the first Champions of Science – Africa Storytelling Challenge.

The Champions of Science – Africa Storytelling Challenge is aimed at highlighting the journeys of scientists and innovators working in Africa, and celebrate the impact of their work on families, communities and the world.

The Challenge received more than 100 entries from scientists and innovators in 22 African nations, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, among others.

Champions of Science – Africa Storytelling Challenge Winners

  • Elizabeth Kperrun, Nigeriawhose story describes her work to develop award-winning language learning tools for children. The CEO of Zenafri Limited, Elizabeth Kperrun has developed educational apps and animated video content for children in Africa. Using modern-day technology, her award-winning products help students understand the importance of preserving and promoting African culture.
    Through Zenafri Limited, the company she runs, Kperrun has created educational apps for African kids of all ages. To date, her apps have been downloaded more than 120,000 times, and daily active users average 2,500.
  • Askwar Hilonga, Ph.D., Tanzania: whose story profiles his invention of a low-cost water filter to clean contaminated water in rural areas
  • Philippa Ngaju Makobore, Uganda: who described how she and a team of engineers prototyped an automated non-invasive infusion controller to safely and accurately regulate life-saving intravenous fluids and drugs in resource-constrained settings including hospitals and treatment spaces with unreliable power supply.
  • Maame Ekua Manful, Ghana: who described her journey to form a start-up to create fortified foods to address the issue of vitamin A deficiency syndrome prevalent in developing countries.
  • Levit Nudi, Kenya: whose story profiles his development of an innovative mobile app to prevent use of counterfeit or substandard medicines.


The inaugural Champions of Science—Africa Storytelling Challenge took place between May and August 2018. Open to all scientists doing innovative work in Africa, the contest drew more than 100 submissions. An independent selection committee of scientists, policymakers and science journalists reviewed the applications and selected the winners. Each winner will be awarded $5,000 and will have the opportunity to share their stories at the 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments