First Lady Monica Chakwera has recognised 20 students who participated in the Unesco India-Africa (UIA) Hackathon activity in India, where they worked on interventions with students from other countries.
The students are from public universities.
UIA is an annual 36-hour event that brings together students, teachers, and researchers from India and that country’s African partners to tackle common challenges faced by their countries.
The First Lady has, supported by Plan Malawi, given 16 students K200,000 each while the other four, who belonged to groups whose innovations won in India, got K250,000 each.
Chakwera hosted the students to a luncheon at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe Monday, when she challenged universities to provide solutions to problems that are besetting the world.
“Is it not a great achievement that out of the 20 students, 12 were female? This is something we could hardly have imagined in the past because science and technology have traditionally been a males’ domain. Our young ladies have shown us that science and technology are fields for everyone,” Chakwera said.
She said the country needs to invest in research, technology and science and that, as such, innovations the students came up in India have to be adopted and promoted in Malawi.
Education Deputy Minister Monica Chang’anamuno said the students also showed that Malawi can ably compete at international level.
She said the government will promote the students’ innovations.
“We do not want these innovations to slip away from our hands but use them in the country,” Chang’anamuno said.
One of the students, Rejoice Banda, urged other girls to embrace science, saying it is possible for girls to excel in science subjects.
Plan Malawi Country Director Phoebe Kasoga concurred.
“There has been a narrative that girls cannot do well in science subjects but we were surprised that out of 20 participants, 12 of them were girls,” she said.
She stressed the need for girls to continue being resilient in developing the ideas that won in India.
The students were among the 100 top performing students that competed at the national level and were drawn from Malawi University of Science and Technology, University of Malawi Mzuzu University and other public universities.
The 2022 Unesco-India- Africa Hackathon Students event took place at Gautam Buddha University in India, where the students spent 10 days.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.