Thursday, October 23, 2014

Groceries Deliveries - Malawi's own online retailer and home delivery service

Shopping can be fun but it also needs time and effort. To some it is a time consuming activity while to others it is even more challenging because of the physical disabilities they have. In order to remove the hustle of going shopping for regular goods and standing on long queues, a Malawian owned and upcoming start-up, Groceries Deliveries, was established to supply and deliver groceries at your door step.


According to its founder and developer, Dumisani Ndhlovu, the start-up first had in mind people who are disabled, students, patients, tourists and executives who may not have time to go for shopping. He said Groceries Deliveries provide an easiest way to get groceries directly to ones home, workplace or any other place. Emulating the likes of Amazon, Groceries Deliveries is currently able to deliver goods within Blantyre City and some parts of Mangochi where they have customers.

Customers are asked to signup freely on their website and choose from over 5000 goods they have in stock. Then they are called by the Groceries and Deliveries team to discuss a mode of payment as they are not currently using online payment. After payment is agreed, the goods are delivered to the location in good time. Goods are currently sourced from various shops like Game Stores, Peoples, Shoprite, and Chipiku. Groceries and deliveries has also partnered with local companies like Universal Industries, Nali Limited, Dairiboard and Carlsberg Malawi.

Ndholvu however said that they have plans to reach out other districts of Malawi and to have their own shop where they can stock all the goods. He also talked about the challenges they are facing as a business in Malawi. He however was very pleased at the response they are getting. Groceries Deliveries currently employs 12 people.

Innovations at the Malawi Science and Technology Fair

The #Malawi Science and Technology Fair is underway at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds. It was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Vincent Ghambi on 22nd October 2014. I took time to visit and appreciate the various Science ICT and technology innovations on display. Below are some of the innovations, technologies and ideas.

On the Chancellor College Faculty of Science stand


There are several innovations on display including some from students who are not yet in the college but are learning in secondary schools around Zomba. Under the Supervisorship of Dr Chimora Mikeka the students are given the freedom to use the university's lab to work on their ideas.

Radio Jammer / Detector

Using various electronic components sourced locally, Happy Chimbende a 4th Year student of Bachelor of Education Science has designed a simple radio frequency jammer and detector which can jam radio frequencies around a radius of 50 meters. The device is capable of nullifying signals like FM and AM, radios, phones or any gadget that uses radio frequencies. Happy has intentionally reduced the radius to avoid interfering with other people unlawfully.


The Radio frequency jammer can be used to block all unlicensed spectrum user at a give radius. We tried using it and it worked.


There is also an innovation from Mixon Faluweki a guy who invented a bicycle powered phone charger. Mixon, a third year Bachelor of Education Science student was shortlisted among top 15 African finalist in the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Competition. He was nominated for his bicycle powered charger called, Padoko Charger. The innovation is on display at the Chancellor college stand.

A 14 year old girl from St Mary's Secondary School, Elizabeth Kananji is also displaying her High Efficiency Solar panel she managed to invent. A solar panel enhanced with aluminium foils is able to generate more electricity than a normal panel.



Then there is another 3rd year Bachelor of Education Science student, Chisomo Daka, who displayed a battery made from ashes and a locally made television transmitter. He explained to me on this video.

Other innovations included;

An idea to computerise the filing system at the Malawi Police Service. The web-based content management system is called Malawi Police Crime Management Information System. According to a member of the team that developed the system, Jonathan Mojoo, the want to help the police service to deal away with manual filing systems which is often abused and is time consuming.

An android app that translates English to Chichewa and another Android app that is used to collect Data in fields and update a central server in real time. All these innovations were under the supervision of Lecturers Dr Chimora Mikeka and Ms. Chipo Kanjo.

Malawi Communications Regulation Authority (MACRA) Stand


The regulatory body is displaying what happens behind the scenes when they monitor the signals all over the country. With various screens on display one is able to appreciate the way the frequency spectrum spans out in real time. They also have their monitoring van parked outside the hall.


Globe Internet Malawi Stand

Apart from being one of the big Internet Service Provider, Globe also sells and manages a vehicle monitoring system which is on display on their stand.


Other stands are TNM, MALSWITCH, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Anglia Books, Techno Brain and Infosys Consult.

However the turnout of both the participants, the innovations and general public is not impressive in the two days it has been running. The Fair will run up to Friday 24 October 2014.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MyJobo - A Malawian solution to searching jobs online


There was a time when Malawians would scramble for newspapers at the various National Library Service offices just to check the days vacancies. Gone are those days as job search as been made easier. myJobo.com is a Malawian owned start-up which seeks to connect employers and employees, allow job seekers to maintain their job application history, provide business opportunities and give career advice to those in need of it.

myJobo.com was launched as a beta site in July and plans to have a big launch in the coming months. So far the start-up has acquired a SSL security licence that puts it in the same light as reputable websites like Google and Twitter. This gives trust to both employers and employees because the security of their data is assured. The site allows users to upload CVs, create profiles and apply for various jobs online.

The site's mentor, Watipaso Mkandawire and its Operations Director, Geoffrey Banda are so far impressed with the response the site is getting from the general public. The site is also good for Malawians in diaspora who can also apply for jobs online.

myJobo.com is a big step forward and is better than the vacancy posting Facebook groups which many Malawians are currently using. The Facebook groups have no facility to store the job applications you have made, they do not allow you to create an account or even store data. Another popular job searching site in Malawi is Jobs in Malawi website.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SUNNYMONEY MALAWI LAUNCHES TWO NEW SOLAR LIGHTS

Life is Getting Brighter

SunnyMoney Malawi today launched two new affordable, portable, pico-solar lights. The new solar lights will add to their current range which includes; the extremely durable S2 that has an integrated solar panel, the Sun King Mobile that has a separate solar panel, detachable stand and a USB slot that enables it to charge mobile phones, and the Sun King Pro 2 an upgrade from the original Sun King Pro, the Sun King Pro 2 has 2 USB slots, a 3.3W separate solar panel and 3 brightness settings.

“I wanted to reduce torch battery cost since I had to buy them three times a week, my daughter was failing a lot at school so I bought the solar light so that she could have more reading hours. My daughter now is number one in her Standard 6 class.” Frolence – Mother from Karonga District, Malawi

In Malawi, 91% of the population is living without electricity, having to spend money on expensive torch batteries, impractical candles or dangerous and polluting paraffin on a daily basis. However; just like Frolence all that can be eliminated with a SunnyMoney solar light.


The S20


A favourite for single-room housing the S20 provides up to 8 hours of clean, bright 360-degree space lighting for any environment or focused light for studying, working, or cooking. It has a detachable handle and includes an integrated solar panel that makes recharging simple and easy. The S20 can be carried, hung or placed on any surface to effectively illuminate the surrounding area. With a battery life of 5 years and a 2 year replacement warranty, the S20 is a great cost efficient, cleaner and brighter alternative to paraffin, kerosene and other polluting lighting options. Suggested Retail Price: MK 6,500



The Marathoner Beacon MB2-380



The MB2-380 is a truly dynamic tri lamp lighting system. After just a single day charge the two secondary lamps give up to 70 hours of light while the primary lamp offers up to 150 hours of clean, bright light. This solar solution comes with a separate 5.5 watt solar panel and a torch/infrared remote control that allows users to change the brightness of the lamps from a distance. A charge indicator shows how many more hours of light it can offer before its next charge.

The MB2-380 can also charge mobile phones via a built in USB port, plus those with access to electricity may use the AC adapter as a charging option. Durable, impact resistant and waterproof the MB2-380 comes with a standard 2 year warranty and may be mounted on any surface or used as a portable handheld torch. Suggested Retail Price: MK 50,000


About SunnyMoney

SunnyMoney, founded by SolarAid, is a social enterprise that uses an innovative business model to sell and distribute solar lights in off-grid Africa to end dependency on costly, toxic kerosene. SolarAid is a UK-based international charity that believes in business-based solutions to poverty and climate change. By building a sustainable market for solar products SolarAid and SunnyMoney aim to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020.
For more information about SunnyMoney Malawi, please contact:

Phone: +265 (0) 997 034 806 / 0881 582 776
Email: info.malawi@sunnymoney.org

Physical Addresses:

Grey Building (office 13), next to Deekay Suppliers, in front of the DC office, Colby Road, Area 3, Lilongwe

Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel Complex (office 12), Mzuzu

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2261, Lilongwe, Malawi


SunnyMoney Global Media : Email: cindy.kerr@sunnymoney.org
Phone : +254 (0) 738 670 759 Website: www.sunnymoney.org