Friday, November 21, 2014

Unicef Malawi plans to open an Innovation Hub in Blantyre

Plans are at an advanced stage to open Malawi's first ever Innovation hub courtesy of Unicef Malawi. According to Unicef's Technical Specialist, Micheal Kavuma, the hub will be at the University of Malawi's Polytechnic Chichiri Campus.

Kavuma said the hub will help in shaping innovators' ideas, funding them and providing mentorship. He was speaking on Sunday 16th November 2014 at the #TEDxYouth Blantyre Silmucast organized in the same room Unicef plans to house the Innovation Hub.

Malawi has no proper functioning innovation hub despite having many interesting innovators. The hub will provide a platform for future innovators like William Kamkwamba (the boy who harnessed the wind), Gabriel Kondesi (a boy who made his own radio station), Milwad Faluweki (an innovator who made a bicycle powered phone charger), Edmond Kachale (he made a Chichewa firefox add on translator).

Even though the hub will be based in Blantyre, it will also accept ideas from all over the country. It will also have an online platform to connect its membwrs from all over the country.

In neighboring countries, hubs have facilitated the growth of numerous startups and small scale enterpreneurs. Tech hubs like iHub in Kenya and BongoHive in Zambia have seen IT businesses growing and interest in Tech surging among youths. Malawi has other Tech meetups like Blantyre and Lilongwe Google Developer Groups (GDG), Young Innovators and the annual TEDxLilongwe where geeks and innovators meet to share ideas, conduct hackathons and barcamps.

Make it real with Zoona Money Transfer

They are an African solution to an age old African problem. One of the fastest and most brightest startup in this part of the continent has started its operations in Malawi. Zoona is a mobile money transfer born in neighbouring Zambia and spreading to other parts like wild fire.

If you have visited Peoplez shops in all the major cities of Malawi, you may have come across beautifully dressed youths operating a money transfer business under the banner of Zoona. It is Zoona's initiative to create employment and facilitate money transfer for emerging enterpreneurs in Africa.

In Malawi Zoona partnered with National Youth Council to recruit and train 80 youths to manage Zoona agent locations in Malawi. The agents are empowered to manage their own business while receiving financing, marketing, and training support from Zoona.



Zoona started its operations in Zambia in April 2009 and has so far spread to the whole of Zambia, Malawi and Capetown in South Africa. Zoona offers Emerging Entrepreneurs an opportunity to provide money transfer and other payment services to low-income consumers, while earning commissions and creating employment. They provide a mobile money platform, working capital financing, business management tools and entrepreneurial support focused on helping businesses grow and increasing financial inclusion in Africa.

Users of Zoona are able to send and receive money without a bank account, mobile phone or any gadget except an identification. A small percentage is charged to send money. Zoona is currently found in all Peoplez Shops and Supermarkets in major cities of Malawi.

Zoona means real in Zambian Chinyanja and Truth in Malawi's Chewa.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TEDxLilongwe 2014 Simulcast in Blantyre


As the TEDx Lilongwe event will be held in Lilongwe, Blantyre people will be able to enjoy the same event in real time through a live stream which will be held as follows:

Date: Saturday 15 November, 8:00am to 4:00pm


TEDxLilongwe 2014 Simulcast @ Blantyre will be held at the Blantyre Polytechnic, Chichiri Campus… in the Unicef Innovation Hub (Opposite Civic Centre Offices)


Tickets are available from Ameca Cafe (inside Beit Trust Hospital premises) from Monday afternoon for MWK 4,000. This covers live streaming of all the action from the Lilongwe event plus refreshments and lunch. Capacity is limited to only 100 people.


The simulcast will live stream the TEDxLilongwe event, so you can catch all the action from all the speakers.

TEDx Lilongwe Speakers


TEDxLilongwe returns to Crossroads Hotel for a second year, presenting live talks, performances, and TEDTalk videos to spark deep discussion and connection.

Tickets are available from Koko Bean Cafe @ Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Papaya Cafe @ Game complex and Lark. Tickets cost MWK 6000 (includes entry to the event plus refreshments and lunch).

In Blantyre tickets are available from Ameca Cafe (inside Beit Trust Hospital premises) from Monday afternoon for MWK 4,000. This covers live streaming of all the action from the Lilongwe event plus refreshments and lunch. Capacity is limited to only 100 people

Here is a list of speakers:


Menes La Plume
Topic: Breaking the mould for refugees


Well known as Menes, Trésor Mpauni Nzengu is a journalist, a writer, and a hip-hop and slam poetry artist, born in Lubumbashi in the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
He began writing poetry and music as a child, and launched his professional performance career in 1998 with his crew ‘ADKS,’ touring different cities of Katanga and participating in different festivals around the country.

In 2007, his solo career began recording new material and shooting music videos, which enjoyed regular and long-lived airtime on local and national radio and television.

Menes came to Malawi in 2008, having left DRC due to political disturbance. Menes has begun to perform again in 2013 now adding English and Chichewa to his Congolese French rapping and Slam Poetry.

A true innovator, Menes is also active off the stage, where he promotes the power of music, spoken word, and culture, through initiatives such as his Creative Writing classes and the Dzaleka Cultural Association, of which he is the founder and President, as well Tumaini Festival, for which is the Director



Hastings Tchinga

The Power of Stories


Hastings Tchinga is a storyteller. Since July 2013, he has been a prisoner at the Kachere Reformatory Centre where he is serving a 2-year sentence.
He discovered his love of storytelling during an after school writing program and uses the stories to cope with harsh living conditions and inspire his dreams of one day becoming a journalist.



Lily Banda
Topic: Let’s talk about violence against women


Born in Malawi on 16 August 1990, Lily Banda made an impact under the stage name Alex as a singer and poet. Since the release of her debut album in January 2014 the artist has headlined many events where she has dazzled audiences with her charisma and energy as well as the boldness of her poetry.
Lily lives her life in a way that she hopes others can be inspired to be sure of what they hope for and certain of what they cannot see.

Lily lives in Lilongwe.


George Kalukusha
Topic: Good Blood (performance)


George Kalukusha is an earnest singer/songwriter dwelling in the genre of soul/folk. The 21 year old was born in Blantyre; where he spent the first 11 years of his life. He then moved to England where he spent the next half of his life and consequently made an encounter with music.
George picked up the guitar and that sufficed for a while however, he felt he had something inside which he wanted to share to the world. This spiritual awakening drove him to singing and writing. He gained the recognition of local media and BBC radio when he independently released his debut single “Bottles”. The single went on to chart top 50 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts.



Dr. Perry Jansen
Topic: A recipe for strengthening health systems


Dr. Jansen is an American family physician who moved his family to Malawi in 2000. Moved by the enormity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, he and a group of Malawians founded the Malawian non-profit Partners in Hope.
Their medical centre cares for over 7,000 HIV patients and leads a major PEPFAR-funded HIV/training program in over 90 facilities in six districts. PIH is committed to expanding to become a full service, non-profit teaching and research hospital.


Jamie Stuart

Topic: Educating one billion


Jamie Stuart is co-founder of onebillion, a nonprofit organisation based in London. He’s been building apps that succeed in bringing the fundamental skills of numeracy and literacy to young Malawians.
With his background in educational software development, he saw the potential for tablets to transform the way children around the world learn.

Jamie has been coming to Malawi for the past 7 years, and wants to see every Malawian child get the fundamental skills they deserve.



Mark Bennett
Topic: iSchool: Reinventing Education in Africa


Mark moved to Zambia in 1985 after a background in commercial IT in the UK to work at the main University. During his 12 years in Zambia, Mark established the campus company which was one of the early internet service providers in Africa.
Mark founded AfriConnect in the UK, which provided satellite-based internet services to remote areas around Africa. In 2005 he started AfriConnect in Zambia, a high-speed wireless-based ISP, which was later sold to Vodacom.

Mark now runs iSchool which he founded to provide comprehensive multi-lingual primary education in Africa, delivered via low-cost tablet computer or phone.



Bram Fudzulani
Topic: Digital Governance


Bram Fudzulani is a cyber-security evangelist, technologist and advocate for internet governance and net neutrality; he is also a fellow of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), AFRINIC which is the Regional Registry for Internet Number Resources serving the African Internet Community, and a fellow for the Internet Society Africa Peering forum (ISOC). Bram is also a member of the National ICT working group as well as the Internet Governance Forum local chapter.


Michael Phoya
Topic: WikiAfrica, Africanizing Wikipedia


Michael Mutisunge N Phoya (Muti) is a Malawian author, filmmaker, and new media strategist whose multi-disciplinary approach encompasses text, digital film, photography, and the web.
He is part of WikiAfrica – an international project to africanize Wikipedia through networks, research, projects, and publications.

Muti has also authored several books including the funny travelogue Walks of Life, the Other Side of Malawi (Central Africana 2011). He contributed to A Memory this Size – The Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 (New Internationalist 2013)


Habiba Osman
Topic: The neglected debate on human trafficking in Malawi


Habiba Rezwana Osman is a human rights lawyer and activist working specifically in the campaign against gender based violence, one of which is anti human trafficking.
Habiba is a Fulbright Fellow who obtained a masters degree in international human rights at the Centre for Civil and Human Rights, Notre Dame Law School, USA. She is both professionally well versed in human rights, human trafficking and gender issues and works with duty bearers, policy makers and grassroots in the area of expertise.

Habiba is currently working as a Gender Justice Advocate at Norwegian Church Aid and was recently the recipient of the Albright Vital Voices Fellowship 2014/2016.


Patrick Semphere
Topic: The Debates Hotspot


Patrick Semphere was the moderator of three first-ever 2014 presidential debates in Malawi. He is a consultant in media and communication management, organizational enhancement, family enrichment and gender empowerment with projects in Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Malawi. He consults widely for UN agencies and has also managed donor-funded projects with the World Bank, British High Commission, Commonwealth Education Fund, Canadian International Development Agency, Family Health International, Norwegian Church Aid and National Aids Commission.
For 8 years, Patrick headed Trans World Radio, was President of the Media Council of Malawi (2007 to 2014) and has served on the National Integrity Committee of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and the High Level Development Council.

An ordained pastor of Word Alive Church, Patrick holds a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, USA and a Bachelors’ Degree from the University of Malawi.


Bester Mulauzi
Topic:Real time monitoring of community based programs


Bester Mulauzi is a development practitioner with a passion for harnessing innovative approaches to social development issues. Bester is a specialist in program quality and evaluation and currently works for Save the Children International as a Director of Program Quality and Development.
Bester’s career has been dedicated to managing quality and impact of NGO’s work, having worked for several international NGO’s and multi-lateral organizations over the past 10 years. Bester is tech savvy and is always willing to exploit ICT when addressing challenges in the complex world of development programming. He is currently part of a team that is piloting the use of a mobile phone application called PanPhone to deliver pre-school early childhood education in rural Malawi.


Dr. Chomora Mikeka
Topic: Communication will be CHEApp


Dr. Chomora Mikeka was born on 6th January, 1978 and holds a PhD from the Division of Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering at Yokohama National University, Japan. His PhD research was about power autonomous sensor radio based on cellular and digital TV RF energy harvesting. He has vast experience on research in ICT for agriculture, health and education. He is an innovator and recently filed a patent application for a device that is a multiple function antenna. During his PhD studies, he collaborated in the design, simulations and fabrication of an ultra-low power DC-DC buck boost converter with regulated output for less than a milliwatt RF energy harvesting used in modern day communications devices. This was done with colleagues from the Centre Tecnològic Telecomunicacions Catalunya, in Spain. He has held a Lecturer position at the Graduate School of Information Technology (Kobe Institute of Computing), training 30 African participants on Problem Resolution for Development Issues by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) *(J11-30012 )* (a JICA funded project).
Apart from being a lecturer, Dr. Chomora Mikeka coordinates the e-Communications Research Group (eCRG) at the Physics Department, Chancellor College of the University of Malawi on several research topics and projects, one such being on TV White Spaces Technology for Broadband Rural-Connect in Malawi. eCRG has been participating at most national ICT, and Science Fair and Exhibitions and has won 1st Prize in every year since its establishment on May 11, 2012. In 2012 it won the Young Advocates for the Advancement of ICT-related Development (Y.A.A.ICT-D) Award (cash prize); in 2013 eCRG won the Best ICT Research from the National Commission of Science and Technology (NCST) Award of Excellence (Certificate and Cash Prize) and in 2014 eCRG researchers contributed in the winning of the 12th National Science Fair’s First Best Exhibitor Prize (Gold Medal) which went to Chancellor College as the parent institution.

Dr. Mikeka has several other Awards including the 2009 European Microwave Association Student Challenge Prize in Rome (Italy). He won the 2011 IEEE RWW, Biomedical Radio and Wireless Technologies, Network and Sensing Systems Second Best Paper Award in Phoenix, Arizona (USA). He won the IEEE RFID-TA 2011, Third Best Paper Award in Sitges, Barcelona (Spain). He won the 2010 Yokohama National University International Science Exchange Encouragement Award in Yokohama (Japan). He is the 2014 – 2019 Junior Associate of the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. His biography is included in the 27th edition of Marquis Who’s Who in the World. He is the Laureate of IBC TOP 100 ENGINEERS in 2010.


Dr Govind Saha
Topic: Future of Energy for Malawi



Dr Govind P Saha has over 30 years experience in the energy and utilities sector. Dr Saha was a Vice President in Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and a Senior Partner in Ernst & Young, New Zealand for 14 years. Dr Saha also worked in the New Zealand Ministry of Energy for 5 years, last two as the Director of Electricity Policy. Dr Saha has Masters and PhD degrees in Engineering from the University of Auckland and an MBA from the Victoria University of Wellington.
Dr Saha has been involved in numerous advisory projects within New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Namibia, South East Asia, and India. He has provided significant strategic, policy and regulatory advice to governments, regulators and businesses. These include acquisition and fit of major businesses with existing businesses; contractual issues; business and strategic planning for a number of new and existing businesses; regulatory advice to regulators and industry players; tariff design and specific pricing issues; business and commercial valuations, development of power generation and transmission projects and energy security of supply issues.