Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

What is the name of your organization?

Agrotech Plus

What is the name of your solution?

ChanjoBox

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

ChanjoBox, a portable solar fridge that can be mounted on a motorbike, bicycle, or boat, to safely store and transport vaccines, drugs, and blood for transfusion to remote, hard to reach and off-grid rural communities.

What specific problem are you solving?

Globally, 3 billion people are at the risk of contracting a Vaccine Preventable Disease because their healthcare facility does not have a cold chain to store vaccines. Our solution is bridging a gap in the rural healthcare sector by ensuring that heat-sensitive items, such as vaccines, blood for transfusion, and drugs like insulin, have the appropriate cold storage to ensure every single person has access to equitable healthcare.

ChanjoBox is lengthening the shelf life of heat-sensitive medical items so everyone can access these essential medications and medical services irrespective of where they live. ChanjoBox is also broadening the geographical reach of these healthcare items. Our solution ensures these medical items are also available to people who cannot access healthcare facilities. For us, we must integrate portability into trying to solve the issue of inaccessibility of medical items.

What is your solution?

ChanjoBox, a portable solar fridge that can be mounted on a motorbike, bicycle, or boat, to safely store and transport vaccines, drugs, and blood for transfusion to remote, hard to reach and off-grid rural communities. The solution is also IoT-enabled; integrated with a communication and digital component that collects data in real-time and stores it on a cloud. This ensures that vaccines are kept in the best storage conditions and can also be traced, to promote effective healthcare programs in rural communities.

Our solution is also solar-powered, which is important because the target communities that benefit from ChanjoBox are in off-grid places with intermittent power. Solar is also a more affordable option. ChanjoBox also has a built-in battery backup because we must ensure that the fridge remains in operation at night.

The most exciting thing for us about ChanjoBox is the Internet of Things (IoT) solution. We had to integrate it with a smart data management application. Wherever the fridge goes, it can record the temperature in real time and transmit it back to us. We need to have the ability to track this data because, in local health care facilities in Kenya, they still record data in books, then it’s taken to a governmental agency known as the District Public Health Nurse (DPHN) at the end of the month. If a fridge had a temperature excursion at the beginning of the month, the DPHN will only be aware of this at the end of the month, and it is too late to take action.

We try to ensure that the ChanjoBox is monitored at all times, so the data is up-to-date, and data-driven solutions are in action to ensure that no vaccines go bad. If the temperature exceeds what is expected, ChanjoBox sounds an alarm, and that temperature is recorded. If it’s too low, that is also recorded, so we know to adjust appropriately and ensure that the vaccines remain in appropriate cold storage as much as possible. The IoT solution for the fridge eventually morphed into an AI-enabled solution that we want to integrate into ChanjoBox because we ultimately want to distribute the fridges into far-off places.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

ChanjoBox is a solution that aims to directly and meaningfully improve the lives of Children, women and youths in remote and underserved areas by providing access to vaccines and improving the efficiency of vaccine distribution. The target population primarily includes communities located in areas with limited access to healthcare facilities and unreliable electricity supply. These areas often face challenges in vaccine delivery, cold chain management, and maintaining the efficacy of vaccines.

The Solar Powered ChanjoBox solution understands the unique needs of this target population by conducting thorough research and engaging with local communities. Here's an overview of how the solution addresses their needs:

Access to Vaccines: Many remote areas lack proper healthcare infrastructure, making it difficult for residents to access vaccines. ChanjoBox addresses this need by bringing vaccines closer to the communities. The solution utilizes solar energy to power cold storage units, ensuring the safe storage of vaccines in areas without reliable electricity supply.

Reliable Cold Chain Management: Maintaining the cold chain is critical for vaccine effectiveness. ChanjoBox incorporates robust cold storage capabilities, equipped with temperature monitoring and control systems. This ensures that vaccines remain within the recommended temperature range during storage and transportation, safeguarding their potency.

Last-Mile Delivery: The solution recognizes the challenges of reaching remote locations with limited transportation options. It incorporates portable and compact design elements, making it easier to transport vaccines to even the most inaccessible areas. This helps overcome logistical hurdles and ensures timely delivery of vaccines to the target population.

Community Engagement: To develop an effective solution, ChanjoBox actively engages with the local communities it aims to serve. This involves understanding their unique circumstances, cultural practices, and healthcare requirements. By involving community members in the development process, the solution can address their specific needs and ensure relevance and acceptance.

Training and Capacity Building: ChanjoBox goes beyond providing the physical infrastructure for vaccine storage and delivery. It also focuses on capacity building by offering training programs to healthcare workers and community members. This empowers them with the knowledge and skills to effectively utilize and maintain the solution, enhancing local healthcare capabilities. 

Overall, the Solar Powered ChanjoBox solution contributes to improving healthcare outcomes by addressing the challenges of vaccine accessibility, cold chain management, and last-mile delivery in remote and underserved areas. By utilizing renewable energy and actively engaging with the target population, it ensures that vaccines reach those who need them the most, maintaining their potency and contributing to disease prevention and improved public health.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

  1. Mr. Elisha Caleb -Founder & CEO

Farmer, innovator, leading social entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of the Agrotech Plus in 2019.

Created Smallholder Farmer Rural Radio (2 million Kenyan listeners).

He is a United Nations Young leader for SDGs and has won numerous global awards & recognitions for his contributions to digital technologies in Africa including Africa Pioneer in Agritech by Forbes, ASME ISHOW (2015), One Young world Ambassador (2018), Digital Capacity development by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2018, Leaders in Innovation (LIF) Fellow at Royal academy of engineering and he serves in the World Bank youth Advisory group on solutions for youth employment (S4YE), Named in Vanity Fair global goals list – 2019 for championing for zero hunger. He is also a member of the Africa Europe foundation Strategic task force on Agriculture and food systems.

2. Mr. Kalvince Otieno- Business Development Manager

Experienced business development manager with extensive expertise in agribusiness startups, rural logistics, distribution, commercial strategy, contract negotiations, business processes, and team building.

3. Ms. Sharon Chacha- Technical Officer (TO) Ms. Sharon is an Health expert and Doctor, with extensive knowledge and expertise in vaccination, medicine, clean energy, solar cells, batteries, air conditioning, cold room design, and refrigeration. As TO, she designs, constructs, installs and maintains the solar powered walk in cold rooms. He also trains technicians and operators on installation, maintenance and repair of the cold rooms.

The lead team at Agrotech Plus previously worked at The Climate Corporation, a digital agriculture company that analyses weather, Solar Energy, soil and field data to help US farmers determine potential yield-limiting factors in their fields. This company was recently acquired by Monsanto for circa $1bn. The team also includes staff with strong experience in working with smallholder farmers, agronomy, and solar powered cold storages in Africa. As such, the team has credible experience in technology development and business commercialization of relevance to Agrotech Plus, as well as in working with smallholder farmers in Africa. 

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Optimize transportation of supplies and treatments by addressing shipping inefficiencies, cold storage, and last-mile delivery.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Nairobi, Kenya

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Kenya

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

10,000

Why are you applying to the Prize?

For us, it is honestly life-changing. We want to grow our business and we find that most of our roadblocks are financial. A challenge with the current state of manufacturing for the fridges is that we are outsourcing a lot of production, making it more expensive. When we started this project, we wanted to provide not only an effective solution but also an affordable one. So one of the first things we want to do is set up our own manufacturing facility so we can produce these fridges in-house. And that will drastically reduce the cost of ChanjoBox and make them more accessible. This prize will give us a unique opportunity to break into the domestic market. We’ve seen considerable demand, and customers have approached us from other countries across Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Having the funds to produce this at scale will help us match the growing demand for the solution and create as much impact as possible.

 I’m glad we can hire more team members to help us do this work because it’s been our dream, and we’ve done so much work in the past few years. When we started this work, there was skepticism about manufacturing these fridges in Kenya. Just being recognized and awarded by MIT Solve is a confidence boost for us. It’s always hard on entrepreneurs trying to bring innovation into the world. With the stamp of approval from MIT Solve .

We want to increase our production capacity, acquire more tools for our manufacturing facility, and get our own facility. The money from THE HORIZON PRIZE: 2023 will give us so much runway to sustain that manufacturing facility and complete our work and make enough fridges for the growing list of potential customers. We also want to grow our IoT solution this year; it’s still a work in progress. Many challenges that we’re facing are expensive challenges. Some of our goals are to get the right people and the right equipment and to ensure that the IoT solution is always online and working.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Elisha Caleb

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

As a Young Dad who moved from Nairobi to a rural community, I have faced the challenges of trying to have my child vaccinated. When I lived in Nairobi, I never thought twice about access to vaccines or certain medications because they were available. You become oblivious to the challenges in communities that do not have access. I moved to a rural community right after my daughter was born, and that was when the challenge became real. Vaccines are not always available. There are specific times and days for vaccinations; if you miss that day, it’s a missed opportunity. And I saw mothers who gave up because they walked a long distance to get vaccinated. Or sometimes, they don’t have the finances to travel back to the facility.

Given all the circumstances, it was apparent that we needed to design a fridge for medical use in rural communities in Africa. Health care workers carry vaccines in an ice box on their motorbikes or bicycles and take them to facilities. But the cold box is not a refrigerator, and sometimes the temperature can fall outside the desired range and there is no way of monitoring this, so it’s not safe. So, we had to design a portable solution available for different modes of transportation and keep items in storage while in motion. We also had to ensure that all children and adults get a chance to get a vaccine.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative and sustainable?

ChanjoBox, a portable solar fridge that can be mounted on a motorbike, bicycle, or boat, to safely store and transport vaccines, drugs, and blood for transfusion to remote, hard to reach and off-grid rural communities. The solution is also IoT-enabled; integrated with a communication and digital component that collects data in real-time and stores it on a cloud. This ensures that vaccines are kept in the best storage conditions and can also be traced, to promote effective healthcare programs in rural communities

We are a young team, and being open to new ideas has helped us develop the solution. Initially, we started thinking about portable fridges for dairy farmers. Then COVID happened, and we pivoted because we saw a need for a solution like this in healthcare. We initially imported a generic fridge and took it to the field to get feedback from healthcare workers.

What has been innovative about our approach is that the development of ChanjoBox is guided by feedback we’ve gotten from healthcare workers. We decided to add the IoT feature because we heard from the healthcare workers that it was challenging to manage and ensure the accuracy of the data they were writing in books. Working directly with healthcare workers is very important because they are the users of this solution and have experience in the field, so they know what type of solution works best for them.

How we want to provide full after-sales support sets our solution apart. As the manufacturer, we are responsible for ensuring that these fridges remain operational all year and over the next three years. So, it’s good for us to have sufficient data for predictive maintenance. For example, if we try to see that fridge X is at a particular facility and seems to be heating up quickly, maybe the insulation is wearing out. We need to start planning how to repair our fridges to avoid discarding them for problems we can fix. It becomes a menace to the environment when fridges go into a landfill and become e-waste. It’s also a waste of money because cold storage is so expensive. So, if you can do predictive maintenance, it will be cheaper for the end user.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

1.    Enhancing Vaccine Storage Capacity: The company aim to increase the storage capacity of their solar-powered cold storage facilities from 5 to 100 to accommodate larger quantities of vaccines. This could involve expanding existing facilities or establishing new ones in strategic locations.

2.    Improving Vaccine Distribution: Agrotech Plus focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of vaccine distribution networks by leveraging their solar-powered cold storage technology.

3.    Ensuring Cold Chain Integrity: Agrotech Plus is prioritizing maintaining the integrity of the cold chain during vaccine transportation and storage. They may implement advanced monitoring systems, temperature control mechanisms, and backup power solutions to prevent vaccine spoilage and wastage.

4.    Supporting Last-Mile Delivery: Agrotech Plus works towards facilitating the delivery of vaccines to remote and underserved areas, where access to reliable electricity and cold storage is limited. This could involve developing portable or community-based solar-powered cold storage units.

5.    Collaborating with Stakeholders: Agrotech Plus is seeking partnerships and collaborations with vaccine manufacturers, healthcare organizations, governments, and NGOs to amplify their impact. Collaborative efforts could include knowledge-sharing, joint initiatives, and capacity-building programs.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Agrotech Plus often define specific KPIs aligned with its impact goals. These KPIs could include metrics such as the number of vaccines stored, Number of solar powered cold storages, increase number of users, the reduction in spoilage rates, the percentage increase in vaccine accessibility, or the number of underserved communities reached.
  2. Data Collection and Analysis: Agrotech Plus may gather data related to their impact goals and analyze it regularly. This could involve tracking variables like energy consumption, storage capacity utilization, transportation efficiency, or feedback from healthcare providers and communities. Analyzing this data helps in understanding progress and identifying areas for improvement.
  3. Impact Assessments and Reporting: Agrotech Plus will conduct periodic impact assessments to evaluate their progress towards predetermined goals. These assessments will measure the social, economic, and environmental impact of their operations. The results of these assessments are often reported publicly in sustainability reports or shared with stakeholders.
  4. External Validation and Certification: Agrotech Plus will seek external validation of its impact efforts through certifications or ratings provided by independent auditors or rating agencies. These assessments verify and recognize the organization's commitment to sustainability and its progress towards impact goals.

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

ChanjoBox: The  solar-powered vaccine box is a solution  used to transport and store vaccines in areas with limited or unreliable access to electricity. It is equipped with solar panels that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity, which is then used to power the box and keep the vaccines at the required temperature.

Here's how it works and why it makes a difference:

  1. Reliable power source: In many remote areas or developing countries, electricity supply can be inconsistent or unavailable altogether. This can be a problem because vaccines need to be stored at specific temperatures to remain effective. My solution: ChanjoBox solves this issue by providing a reliable and sustainable source of power. The solar panels on the box collect energy from the sun during the day and store it in batteries, which can then be used to power the box even when there is no sunlight.

  2. Temperature control: Vaccines are sensitive to temperature variations. If they are not stored within a specific temperature range, their effectiveness can be compromised, and they may even become unusable. ChanjoBox is designed with insulation and cooling mechanisms to maintain the required temperature. The solar power ensures that the cooling system continues to function, even in areas without electricity, keeping the vaccines safe and effective.

  3. Expanded reach: By providing a reliable means of storing vaccines in areas without electricity, ChanjoBox expands the reach of vaccination programs. It enables healthcare workers to transport vaccines to remote locations, including rural areas or regions with limited infrastructure. This is particularly crucial for reaching vulnerable populations who may not have easy access to healthcare facilities. By ensuring the availability of vaccines in these areas, more people can be protected from preventable diseases.

  4. Reduced wastage: Without proper temperature control, vaccines can spoil and become unusable. This wastage not only leads to financial losses but also means that people are deprived of vital immunization. CanjoBox helps minimize vaccine wastage by maintaining the necessary temperature throughout transportation and storage. This ensures that vaccines remain effective and can be administered to those who need them.

In summary, the solar-powered vaccine box addresses the challenges of reliable power supply and temperature control, enabling vaccines to reach remote areas and vulnerable populations. By reducing wastage and expanding the reach of vaccination programs, it plays a crucial role in increasing immunization coverage and protecting more people from preventable diseases.

If your solution is tech-based, describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Features of ChanjoBox:

1. Efficient use of solar energy: Solar requirement should not be more than 5.5 KW such that common solar panels are used for both charging battery and for compressor operation instead of having two separate set of solar panels for battery charging and compressor operation wherein the power of one set of solar panels can't be used for operation of the compressor when battery is fully charged and vice versa.
2. Refrigerants: refrigeration system with R407F/R448A/R404A refrigerants
3. Vertical Evaporator arrangement: Plate bank type Air cooling unit as integral part of LINK unit facilitating forced convection control
4. IoT & Remote Monitoring:
 firmware over the air (FOTA)- Enables remote diagnosis, Internet based controls,
Bluetooth connectivity system and also can update the system remotely from a
centralized location
 Bluetooth operation- the system controls are provided on mobile application which
virtually makes the system buttonless.
 live dashboard for data monitoring
6. ON/OFF remotely: the system can be switched on and off from the remote location
7. Mobile application:
Bluetooth and Internet connected controls, smart commodity selection, inventory management, user notification, multi product multi-unit support, customer care over the app interface enables multi commodity storage in the same cold room.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology

How do you know that this technology works?

ChanjoBox technology has been extensively studied and implemented in 16+ counties in kenya  impacting 10,000+ families . The effectiveness of this technology is supported by scientific research, field trials, and practical use cases. Here are a few reasons why we can confidently say that ChanjoBox: solar-powered cold storage technology works:

  1. Research and Development:Both our internal  and external Researchers and engineers have conducted studies to evaluate the performance and viability of ChanjoBox Solar Powered Cold system. These studies assess parameters such as energy efficiency, temperature control, battery storage capacity, and system reliability. The findings of these studies provide evidence of the technology's effectiveness.

  2. Field Trials: ChanjoBox solutions have been tested in real-world conditions to assess their performance. These trials involve deploying the technology in different geographic locations in kenya  and climates to evaluate its functionality and effectiveness. The data collected from these trials helps refine the technology and optimize its performance.

  3. Successful Implementations: ChanjoBox Technology have been successfully implemented in various regions, particularly in our target country kenya with limited access to electricity. These implementations have demonstrated the ability of ChanjoBox-solar-powered systems to reliably store perishable goods such as vaccines, medicines, food, and agricultural produce. The positive outcomes and benefits observed in these implementations support the efficacy of the technology.

  4. User Feedback: Feedback from 10,000+users and stakeholders who have adopted ChanjoBox provides valuable insights into their effectiveness. Their experiences and testimonies serve as practical evidence of the technology's ability to meet their specific needs, maintain desired temperature ranges, and ensure the preservation of perishable items.

  5. Industry Standards and Certifications: Our technology adhere to industry standards and certifications. These standards ensure that the systems are designed and manufactured to meet specific performance criteria and safety requirements. Compliance with these standards and certifications adds credibility to the technology and provides assurance of its effectiveness.

Overall, the extensive research, field trials, successful implementations, user feedback, and adherence to industry standards collectively demonstrate that ChanjoBox- solar-powered cold storage technology is a viable and effective solution for preserving temperature-sensitive Vaccines and medicines in areas with limited access to electricity.

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Imaging and Sensor Technology
  • Internet of Things
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

Kenya

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania , Ghana and Rwanda

Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

Full Time : 10

Part- time : 5

Other workers: 4

How long have you been working on your solution?

3 years 

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?


  1. Diversity in Workforce: Promoting diversity involves Agrotech Plus ensuring a workforce that reflects a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Agrotech Plus have initiatives to attract and retain employees from diverse groups, including people of different genders, races, ethnicities, ages, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

  2. Inclusive Policies and Practices: Agrotech Plus have policies and practices in place that foster an inclusive and equitable work environment. This includes anti-discrimination policies, equal opportunity employment practices, flexible work arrangements, accommodation for individuals with disabilities, and fair promotion and career advancement opportunities.

  3. Employee Resource Groups: Agrotech Plus  encourages the formation of employee resource groups or affinity networks. These groups provide spaces for employees with shared characteristics or identities to connect, support each other, and contribute to the company's diversity and inclusion efforts.

  4. Training and Education: Agrotech Plus often offer diversity and inclusion training programs to raise awareness, promote understanding, and challenge biases. These programs may cover topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competence, and creating inclusive work environments.

  5. Community Engagement: Agrotech Plus additionally engage with diverse communities by supporting initiatives, programs, and organizations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity. This involves partnerships, sponsorships, or employee volunteering in community-based projects focused on social justice, education, Healthcare and clean energy 

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Agrotech Plus Solution enables rural community, Healthcare centers Hospitals, communities and smallholders to rent cold storage facilities. It has developed two different models: a flat monthly rental fee per cold storage (USD8,800 total revenue per cold storage per year), and a rental fee per kg stored per day (USD15,000 per cold storage per year). Agrotech Plus complements this service with : A portable solar fridge that can be mounted on a motorbike, bicycle, or boat, to safely store and transport vaccines, drugs, and blood for transfusion to remote, hard to reach and off-grid rural communities. The solution is also IoT-enabled; integrated with a communication and digital component that collects data in real-time and stores it on a cloud. This ensures that vaccines are kept in the best storage conditions and can also be traced, to promote effective healthcare programs in rural communities.

Agrotech Plus is expected to break-even in year 3 (post pilot) with 100 cold storages linked. In year 5, revenues are expected to be $8,000,000.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

Agrotech Plus has a self sustainable business model whereby We operate a simple pay-as-you-store model. Farmers and retailers pay 65 Kenya Shillings (equivalent of US$0.50) to store one crate per day. The Cold rooms are operated by a lady manager, who monitors the loading and unloading of crates, collect the fees, and build relationships in farm clusters and markets.

Agrotech Plus also gets supports from grants supports and raising investments through equity and loans which supports us in our day to day running of activities.


Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

Kenya Cold chain company Agrotech Plus Limited has won the UN FAO Global AgriInno Challenge 2022 . Agrotech Plus won the award which is considered the biggest environmental award by using 100% solar-powered cold storage facilities to preserve fruits and vegetables for more than 20 days. Additionally Agrotech Plus Won the MIT Solve Challenge grant money 2023.

Solution Team

 
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