TNM Smart Challenge winners in US

Four students who earned tickets to fly to world’s technology nerve-centre, the Silicon Valley, USA after emerging winners in the TNM Smart Challenge ICT competition, the first of its kind by a local mobile telecoms company in Malawi are currently in USA for a 10 day visit.

Silicon Valley bound with TNM's CEO Douglas Stevenson and other officials

Silicon Valley bound with TNM’s CEO Douglas Stevenson and other officials

Makata left with four winners and TNM's Head of Innovations Frank Magombo (far left ) at Chileka airport before departure

Makata left with four winners and TNM’s Head of Innovations Frank Magombo (far left ) at Chileka airport before departure

The four are Panache Jere, Daniel Mvalo, Walter Moyo and ThandieMagasa. The four left the country on Saturday through Chileka International airport.

Jere, a ten year old standard six kid from Christian Heritage Primary School in Lilongwe, won in the Smart Kid category of the competition after developing an application, ‘Talk To Me’, while the trio developed a health service app, ‘Martenitech’in the Smart Student category. The four beat a field of 15 other contestants who had been short-listed.

Speaking before departure, leader of the winning team Walter Moyo said that they were happy to realize their dreams to visit the hub of ICT in the world.

“We would like to thank TNM for organising this competition. This is a life changer and a life time achievement, visiting such IT hubs Facebook and other American IT companies is something we never anticipated in our wildest imaginations. We pledge to cascade the knowledge we will gain in the USA for the development of mother Malawi,” said Moyo.

Moyo said the trip to Silicon Valley is an exposure to youth talent on ICT in the country.

“We have got high expectations from this trip more especially on gains and skills in software development that we will acquire from the international conference that the team will attend,” added Moyo.

TNM Chief Commercial Officer Daniel Makata said the company was pleased that it is fulfilling its promises of flying the Smart Challenge winners to Silicon Valley in USA.

“TNM is pleased to provide such an enabling platform to our youths to become the best they can and to challenge the conventional way of thinking. The youths have the power to change the world through ICT, and we at TNM alongside our IT partners are very excited to support innovation in Malawi. The trip to Silicon Valley demonstrates our passion for ICT development,” said Makata.

Makata said as an ICT company, TNM is committed to create an enabling environment for innovations.

“It is our hope that this Smart Challenge competition becomes the trendsetter for various ICT innovations for youths in the country as demonstrated by the innovative and brilliant applications that we received from the participants,” he said

The team is expected to tour Facebook, Google, Apple and Stanford University and also attend an ICT International conference in San Francisco, Califonia. They are expected to return home on April 18, 2016.

Launched on October 5, 2015 the TNM Smart Challenge provided students, pupils and their communities a platform to showcase innovation in mobile application.

TNM engaged MHub, Facebook, Google, Opera Software and IBM as technology partners for this initiative.

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2 thoughts on “TNM Smart Challenge winners in US”

  1. Rodgers says:

    All the best guys………proud of u all,silicon Valley!!

  2. This is quite encouraging as it helps our young people become innovative. Technology plays a huge role these days and we need all the exposure we can. Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days and these small tools go a long way in simplifying the way we do things.

    It would be encouraging if the government could perhaps put computer studies on the curriculum right from primary school (or at least secondary school level). I am sure it is a possibility though it would need huge infrastructure investment especially in rural schools when it comes to electricity, internet connectivity and of course making sure the computers and other materials are safe. But I am sure cheaper alternatives should be there.

    The other stumbling block might perhaps be getting the computers. I know there are quite a few NGO’s that already deal with such types of projects – Computers For Africa, Computer Aid, IT Schools Africa come to mind.

    Or we could perhaps come together and start an initiatives like that to supplement what these NGOs are already doing? We could collect old pc’s and refurbish them and ship them home. We then randomly choose a school one district at a time and implement the projects? Or I am oversimplifying the issue?

    For example I, as I write, have about 10 working boxes I refurbished and pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux that could go into a project like that. They are currenlty just taking up space as I canned the project I wanted to use them for (teaching kids computer programming) due to time constraints.

    And I am sure most of us have a PC or two lying around that could go to a good cause like that. Operating systems like Linux do not really need a PC with all the bells and whistles like Microsoft Windows and they should still perform at a reasonable speed for kids to learn a thing or two.

    A Malawi anzanga I don’t think we can keep waiting for others to do things for us. And do not even mention the government – it has been the biggest let down and it continues doing so in staggering proportions on a daily basis.

    I think my contact details are provided if anyone needs to say anything that may help take the idea forward. Maganizo tikovwilana (pa Chitumbuka) or maganizo timathandizana (pa Chichewa)

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