Young Malawian entrepreneurs innovate to fight Covid-19

The venture is producing masks from locally available fabric with a non-woven fabric that acts as an additional filtration layer to protect against Covid-19

UNDP Malawi and its partners are committed to providing support to face this unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.

UNDP, including the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Growth Africa have collaborated with mHub in implementing the Growth Accelerator Entrepreneurship Challenge; aimed to support innovative and impactful Malawian enterprises with financial and technical assistance to scale up their ventures.

These entrepreneurs are already taking on the fight against Covid-19 and using their innovation and skills to make a difference in their communities

Engaging community women groups on COVID-19 prevention

The business value chain is just as valuable as the end product. Perisha Agro and Packaging Enterprise understand this and took it upon themselves to sensitize their local farmers on preventive measures and hygiene guidelines in response to the corona virus pandemic.

On Thursday, 9th April 2020, the founder of Perisha Agro and her team visited Mpingu EPA, Lilongwe to share information with their women farmer groups on the corona virus pandemic, giving demonstrations on hand washing techniques. They also donated hygiene materials and soap to the community.

Perisha Agro is a horticultural farm that specializes in the multiplication of Orange fleshed sweet potato tubers (OFSP) and cassava cuttings. Recently the farm has started adding value to cassava by processing it into a high-quality cassava flour (HQCF) and starch. The HQCF is used for bakery, breweries, fisheries, meat production and fish meal.

Besides, the venture also processes maize into Orange Maize Flour and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato into OFSP flour and has produced a formula for poultry feed from the processing waste. With support from Growth Accelerator, Perisha Agro is setting up a factory and distribution system for the product.

Fighting against COVID-19 with locally made masks

Afrocentric Lifestyle has started the production of cloth masks as per specifications made by the World Health Organization (WHO). The venture is producing trendy masks from locally available fabric with an internal non-woven fabric that acts as an additional filtration layer to protect against the spreading of the corona virus.

According to the WHO, masks can be a key protective material for health practitioners attending to cases of the virus, as well as preventive gear to avoid the spread from already infected individuals. The venture has already produced more than 600 masks for specific private organizations and are planning to donate a few.

Afrocentric lifestyle is part of the 2020 Growth Accelerator Malawi Cohort. Located in Lilongwe, Area 3, it celebrates African heritage using bamboo and salvaged wood to create sustainably custom made—inspired bespoke furniture, arts and crafts with an African touch. Afrocentric brings together a range of local artists that create unique pieces.

The venture is also working with associations of women who act as its suppliers. Through the Growth Accelerator Programme, Afrocentric intends to expand their production and engaging more women from the local communities by providing capacity building and resource support.

Written by
Author
Madalitso Mlava Mbendera
Communications and Resource Mobilisation Analyst
UNDP
Madalitso
UN entities involved in this initiative
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme