The cooperation between Nkhotakota Youth Organisation and Flora Upper Secondary School started in 2012, with exchange of staff teaching vocational training and entrepreneurship.
Read about other exchange projects
In 2014 they took the exchange project a step further, turning the knowledge and skills into a solar business.
- Kumudzi Kuwale, meaning "light in the village" in the local Chichewa language, has already supplied 1500 families with solar energy for lights and mobile phone charging the last year. The company has now 17 employees, many of them trained at Nkhotakota Youth Organisation, says FK participant and solar energy specialist Trygve Mongstad. He lived and worked in Malawi for one year and he is very happy to follow the success.
In September 2014, the startup was granted the SEED Africa Award, a UNEP/UNDP-funded award in acknowledgement to social and sustainable start-ups in Africa.
A good start
In 2014 Kumudzi Kuwale got a start-up grant from the Royal Embassy in Malawi providing funding for materials to start a pilot project on rural electrification. 9 villages have been targeted directly, but the whole Nkhotakota region has enjoyed better access to solar energy solutions. The village projects are administered by local employees, and provide cellphone charging and rent of lamps and batteries to power the home electricity system.
The partnership between the two organisations is an outstanding example of social entrepreneurship, vocational skills training and well-run business ideas, as well as smart development of local young resources in both countries.
Low access to electricity
Malawi is among the least-developed countries in the world and struggles to build and expand the economy and become financially independent. There are major challenges within health care and education. Only 10% of the population in Malawi has electricity in their homes. In Nkhotakota only 3% have access to the electricity grid. The sun sets at 6pm, which makes it difficult for most people to study or work in the evening. Efforts such as the solar energy initiative of Nkhotakota Youth Organisation are therefore highly appreciated.
Watch a movie from the project: