UNICEF Activate Talks Zambia

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Guest blog by Chipo Chitambi-Mando

What do Bongohive and UNICEF have in common? One word: Innovation. Almost 25 years ago, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) made a promise that they would do everything to protect and promote children’s rights. Since then there have been some victories and some challenges. New problems have cropped up in the process and to deal with those will require new ways of thinking and doing things. Having realised this, UNICEF declared 2014 the Year of Innovation for Equity. During this year UNICEF will hold a series of Activate talks gathering various new thinkers and change agents from all aspects of life to reassess and come up with ways of delivering results for all children. Activate Talks was held last Monday by UNICEF in partnership with BongoHive, Lusaka’s Innovation Hub.

The event brought together people from all walks and disciplines. It was officially opened by Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, the minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication. He highlighted some programmes that the government of Zambia has embarked on to facilitate and encourage innovation.  He mentioned that Institutions, such as the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Commission, had been established to provide funding and technical assistance to foster benefits of the people. An interesting and promising piece of information he let out was that Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), was installing additional communication towers in 169 chiefdoms across the country.

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Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga (Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications – Zambia)

The first speaker, Emmanuel Chibesakunda, is pioneering a project called “Building the Future: Africa”. The project aims to create a low cost sustainable school design with improved classroom conditions. He pointed out that the common view of Africa was that of war, poverty, drought and disease but that is just what has been magnified by reports. A closer look reveals that Africa is a land of capital, investment, talent, creativity, diversity and opportunity. He noticed that the current infrastructure of some Zambian schools is not conducive for learning thus the project to build new low cost infrastructure. To ensure the low cost, local material is being used and soil is being used in the bricks instead of cement. Operations on the classrooms commenced in March 2014.


Emanuel Chibesakunda C.E.O at Munich Advisors Group presenting on his project “Building the Future: Africa”

The next speaker was Ethel Ella Mbewe, a co-founder of Asikana Network. She is one of the developers of WRAPP, a women’s rights application that inform Zambians of women’s right and what steps to take when violated.

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Ethel Ella Mbewe – Co Founder of Asikana Network presenting on WRAPP “Womens Rights App”

The next pair of Speakers, Brighton Mukuka Kaoma and Josephine Namakau Pumulo, talked about their project “Zambia U-Report”. This is an SMS-based tool aiming to empower young people with knowledge by connecting them to counsellors who respond to questions in a confidential and personal manner. The service is available 24 hours a day and the counsellors are trained in HIV/AIDS and Sexual Reproductive Health. They mentioned that more 61 thousand young people have since signed up on U-Report.

Jesephine Namakau Pumulo & Brighton Mukupa Kaoma presenting on the “Zambia U-Report”

Jesephine Namakau Pumulo & Brighton Mukupa Kaoma presenting on the “Zambia U-Report”

The last speaker was Mark Bennet, the founder of AfriConnect which was sold to Vodacom in 2012. He now runs iSchool which has created a tablet computer that covers the whole primary school curriculum for Zambia. Zambian primary education has not been satisfactory in the past years; this is due to large class sizes, poor literacy rote learning and few textbooks. iSchool proposes a solution to these problems; e-learning. The ZedUPad aids both teachers and pupils by providing detailed lesson plans and interactive local contextualised audio/visual material for students.


Mark Bennett Managing Director at iSchool Zambia presenting on his project “iSchool and ZedUPad”

After the last speaker, there was a panel discussion that rounded up some of the innovators and thought leaders. It was moderated by Lukonga Lindunda, the co-founder and Executive Director of Bongohive. The panellists included Dr Patrick Nkanza, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational training and Early Education, Francis Mpolokoso, a systems engineer from Google, Dr Lula Mariano from UNICEF, Simunza Muyangana, co-founder and director of Digital ICE Interactive, and Chisenga Muyoya, co-founder of Asikana Network. After the discussion, the event was concluded and deemed a success and guests were led tococktail that served as a networking event.


38469_1534871169821_7422249_n-001Chipo Chitambi-Mando is a blogger and freelance writer who covers events, concerts and anything remotely appealing to her curiosity. She is a social media apprentice and live tweeter. She has a humour blog at www.autumneyez.com and speaks her mind on twitter @chipoautumn.


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Local ideas shaping national health agendas to reduce child deaths in developing countries

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GSK and Save the Children $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award continues to call for life-saving ideas for new-borns and under-fives.

Six months after receiving a share of the 2013 Healthcare Innovation Award, five organisations based in developing countries are helping shape national health agendas and influencing approaches to healthcare for children and new-borns.

One of the winners, MicroClinic Technologies Ltd., was awarded $100,000 for ‘ZiDi™, a mobile health management system, which has now been adopted by the Kenya Ministry of Health. The system is being used as part of the national e-health platform due to its ability to improve medicine supply, service quality and resource accountability for child healthcare. It will be rolled out across 5,000 public health facilities starting next year.

 Muso, a community-led organisation in Mali that helps tackle the issue of poverty-related child mortality, also received $100,000 to support its programme which aims to quickly identify women and children in need of healthcare. The award money is being used to help reach 77,000 people across the region and has inspired the Mali Ministry of Health to invite Muso to help draft its five-year strategic plan for scaling up national community-based healthcare delivery. Read more

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Insaka with Ceaser Siwale CEO at Pangaea Holdings Limited | August 19

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We are pleased to host Ceaser SiwaleChief Executive Officer at Pangaea Holdings Limited, at this month’s Insaka on  Tuesday  19th  of August from 18:00 hrs to 19:30 hrs. To attend, please register here

Ceaser is a leading Zambian investor and entrepreneur who brings a wealth of investment banking experience in Sub Saharan Africa with Zambia as his base for over 15 years.

2504738244Pioneering global financial transactions with Pangaea Securities, Mr. Siwale believes in the promotion of investments to ensure sustainable economic growth and development.  With Mr. Siwale’s leadership, Pangaea has raised over US$2.0 billions of capital for various clients through IPOs, debt issunaces, rights issues and M&As.

Some of his key clients have been: Zambeef, Lafarge, SABMiller, Bharti Airtel, Zambian Ministry of Finance, MTN, BAT, FQM, Barrick, Gemfields and Amatheon Agri.

Through his global network of clients and investment partners, Mr. Siwale serves as a link between investment opportunities in Zambia/the Southern African regional and investors abroad.

Ceaser currently serves on the boards of the Pangaea, Lusaka Stock Exchange, Fresh View Cinemas, Amatheon Agri, Barefeet and Microlink Technologies.

In 2013, he was a Forbes Magazine nominee for its prestigious “Young Southern African Business Leader” award.

Look forward to seeing you at our next exciting event.

Be sure to register to attend.

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