Innovation in Malawi
Malawi is a country that has long struggled with poverty and under-development — around 70% of the native population lives on $2.15 a day as of 2019. Many struggle without necessary resources such as clean water and food, even with an extensive agricultural sector in the country. In light of these issues, many groups work to improve the lives of the people and actively look to bring new, beneficial developments to the country. The following four groups are making innovation in Malawi a reality.

The Centre For Youth and Development’s Promotion of the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form the bedrock for many poverty-reduction movements in the world. Eliminating poverty, eliminating world hunger and providing clean water and sanitation are just some examples of these development goals. Malawi has struggled to fulfill these sustainable development goals for many years, with clean water proving the most difficult to address. The Centre for Youth and Development (CYD) seeks to make SDGs a major focus for Malawi while inspiring people to improve and empower their communities.

Based in Mzuzu, the CYD is a non-governmental organization that drives people, most prominently women and youth, to lead others in developing SDGs and innovation in Malawi. The CYD commits to this through a series of projects such as its Water is Life program. The Water is Life project seeks to overhaul the local irrigation of the Rumphi district for agricultural purposes and develop hydroelectric power for the area, which will affect 824 lives for the better. Its most recent successes in this project include building a water canal for water transport and farming.

How Converged Technology Networks is Connecting Malawi

Lack of internet access troubles Malawi. At most, 24% of individuals in Malawi had access to the Internet by 2021. This is an issue since many services, such as online banking, are available on the internet. The lack of internet also limits the availability of outside markets to reach the people, which hurts economic investment and limits the number of available jobs. Converged Technology Networks seeks to alleviate this issue by providing broadband internet to the country.

Beginning commercial operations in 2019, Converged is an internet service provider that is working to bring broadband internet to Malawi. The organization seeks to develop Malawi’s digital infrastructure and ensure that even people from more impoverished communities have access to the internet. In 2021, Converged joined forces with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to provide a grant for a feasibility study in Malawi to provide service to underserved groups in the country.

How mHub Helps Entrepreneurs

As many people live on $2.15 a day, struggles to become financially stable in Malawi are frequent. People need employment to pay for necessities, as well as develop skills in the business and technology sectors to make better, stronger systems for the economy. mHub, based in Lilongwe, works toward providing others with these skills, further facilitating innovation in Malawi.

mHub works as a hub for innovation, seeking to finance aspiring entrepreneurs working in the fields of business and technology. mHub’s work has assisted in creating more than 950 jobs for people within Malawi and has trained more than 40,000 youths in the skills necessary for these two major fields. Like the CYD, mHub uses numerous programs that help to develop communities such as the Jobs for Youth program. This project trains the youth in the tech and business fields to prepare them for future employment, which has helped in making 120 jobs for students after graduation.

The African Drone and Data Academy in Malawi

Keeping people relatively healthy is a difficult task in Malawi, especially due to the lack of sanitation and the need for proper health care facilities. Disease can run rampant if left unchecked in a community, which can put a strain on services to provide for the sick. A way to combat this problem is to collect data on the issues at hand to better prepare a response. The Malawi University of Science and Technology, in partnership with UNICEF, seeks to do this with the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA).

The ADDA trains around 140 students in how to design and pilot drones, all to apply them to development, humanitarian efforts and innovation in Malawi. This will allow Malawi to employ drones to respond to sudden developments and for data analysis, as well as simpler things such as medical deliveries. Data can be mapped to identify key areas for disease outbreaks, which in turn can help health care standards for people across Malawi.

Bringing Innovation to the People

Institutions such as these can help to inspire others in improving their home and make life better for the country. In the years to come, Malawi can lead the way for its people to innovate in new, unique and creative ways.

– Kenneth Berends
Photo: Flickr