The TNM Smart Challenge Grand Finale took place and Thandi Magasa, Walter Moyo, Daniel Mvalo and Panashe Jere won in this year's c....

TNM Smart Challenge was launched in October 2015 by TNM with support from Facebook, IBM, Mhub and Opera Mobile with the purpose of providing a platform for young Malawians to realize their potential in ICT. TNM provided a platform where young developers in Malawi can develop mobile applications to provide solutions to some of the challenges faced in the country. The participants of the competition were trained in workshops conducted by TNM and partners.

Participants were taught on the various tools they can use to develop applications at the workshops. The Smart Challenge had three categories; Smart Kid, Smart Student and Smart Community and organizers were to find a smart development in each category. The workshops were conducted in Mzuzu at Mzuzu University, Zomba at Chancellor College, Blantyre at the Innovation Hub and Lilongwe at mHub.

The TNM Smart Challenge Grand Finale took place at Crossroads Hotel Auditorium on Friday March 11th, 2016 at 1:30pm. Short-listed teams were given the opportunity to present their applications to judges and the audience. On the judging panel were Naheed Hiriji, Lily Lyman from Facebook, Joseph Sam from Nigeria, Zangaphee Chimombo from TNM and Jones Ntaukira from mHub. In between the presentations and the judging, Dan Lu graced the stage and had the crowd dancing with excitement.

The winners of the challenge were Walter Moyo, Thandi Magasa, mHub’s Daniel Mvalo who were in the Smart Student category and 10 year old Panashe Jere who was in the Smart Kid category. Walter Moyo, along with Daniel Mvalo and Thandi Magasa made an application called Maternitech where women can access information on maternal and reproductive health using their mobile phones. Panashe Jere developed an application called Talk To Me. These young Malawians received different prizes and won a trip to Silicon Valley, California where they’ll visit Facebook, Google, Apple and Standard University.

The power to develop Malawi is in the hands of the youth. It’s humbling to see young people using ICT to create solutions to the challenges faced in Malawi. Having companies such as TNM, mHub and Facebook supporting them can inspire more youth to be innovative and create problem-solving tools for a better Malawi.

By Tapiwa Bokosi