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Polytechnic hosts 2018 Technology Competition

News   Mercy Garnet   November 30, 2018
PIC: Lettas (middle) showing his dummy cheque
The Polytechnic hosted Malawi Innovators Design Competition in the WET building on November 27, 2018. The event attracted participants from different tertiary institutions such as Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and the Polytechnic.

In his opening remarks, the Polytechnic Principal, Professor Grant Kululanga observed that creativity and innovation are worthy aspirations.

“Students should not just have ideas but they should be able to take them from the lab to market places. One innovation done at the institution creates job opportunities to the industries thereby contributing to social economic development of Malawi,” Kululanga noted. 

Out of 19 shortlisted contestants only 16 attended the competition. The most outstanding project was a medical equipment management system. 

A MUST student Peter Amos Lettas, came up with the prototype to help medical personnel in the management of their  equipment.

“I thought of developing the medical equipment management system  to ensure that there is an improvement in the working quality in our hospitals and also to bring easiness in managing the performance of medical equipment,” Lettas explained.

The innovation was awarded the first prize worth MKW350,000 and a certificate of recognition.

“I am just too excited to go away with that huge amount of money because I did not expect to beat all the contestants as I came late at the presentation while my friends had already started showcasing their prototypes. I thought I would not showcase mine,” Lettas explained.

Mosquito Killer project developed by a Polytechnic student Clement Misomali and his friends, took the second place and won MKW250,000 together with a certificate. 

Voice-Text App for the deaf and dumb which was developed by a MUST student Isaac Chisembe and his friends, was third and won MKW100,000 plus a certificate. 

In other categories, participants got different awards such as the most innovative prototype which went to Elisha El-shaddai Kamanga for designing a convertible bed to wheelchair , the Lithoplastic building block prototype by Paul Chikopa which won an award in the category of best use of local materials and the EcoGen Bio-Energy won the award in the category of the most technically challenging prototype by Clement Kandodo. Each of these participants received MKW70,000 and a certificate of recognition.

According to the Director of the Polytechnic Design Studio, Brittany Allen,  the event was aimed at promoting innovation within Malawi and providing an opportunity for local innovators and the inventors (mostly University students, but also community members) to showcase their designs.

“We have only had one previous competition so far, but it has helped encourage entrepreneurship at the Polytechnic and throughout Malawi. It has brought innovators together by giving them a platform to demonstrate how they can solve real-world problems,” Allen explained.

The event attracted different stakeholders like students and a panel of judges with expertise in different technical fields from across Malawi as well as from Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology in Tanzania. 

The event was managed by Design Studio as well as Polytechnic staff members and was sponsored by the Polytechnic, the Rice 360 Degrees Institute for Global Health, and the Lemelson Foundation. 

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