The Malawi Innovators Design Competition, which has been launched this year, inspires youth to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. The innovation teams participating comprise of University students, Lecturers and Industry experts that will pursue invention projects to solve local problems.
The design competition initiative has been established by Faculty of Engineering at the Polytechnic with support from Rice University, in which it engages students in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
This year’s competition took place at the College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre. It attracted participants from different universities in Malawi such as Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), DMI St. John the Baptist and the host, The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
There were 35 teams that applied but only 24 were shortlisted and 19 showed up at this year’s competition. The teams showcased their innovations and out of the 19 teams only one team emerged as overall winner of the competition. This team, made up of students from Polytechnic and DMI and headed by a lecturer in the Electrical Engineering department, Alinafe Kaliwo, developed a Temperature Monitoring System for Cold Chain Management in Malawi, which measures the Temperature of the surrounding Environment. The team received a cheque prize of K250, 000 from Rice University.
Kaliwo, a representative of the winning team was quick to say that he was excited that their team was rewarded after working so hard on their project.
Kaliwo who participated in developing the system said, “We have been working hard on this project for three years and every year there are projects that we work on with students, however this year’s project was successful with the presence of the design studio, a place where students work on their innovation projects”
Judges from Malawi and abroad participated in selecting the winners of this year’s competition in which a representative from the University of Lagos, Nigeria participated in choosing the best innovators team.
This year’s winners in different categories include Most Technically Challenging Innovation Category in which an Accident Prevention System won, Best Prototype Category in which Integrated Mobile Health Monitoring System won, Best Use of Local Materials Category in which Manual latrine and Septic Tank Emptying Device won and Most Creative Project Category in which Used Baby Dipper Electric Oven won.
Students from Faculty of Engineering apply their learning and experiences to come up with inventions to be showcased at every Malawi Innovators Design Competition, which will be held every year starting from 2017. Students with innovative projects are therefore encouraged to apply for the coming competitions in order to participate.