University of Malawi ‘Padoko’ charger creator gets global tech award in Budapest

Malawi’s young innovator in ICT based Innovations, Mixon Faluweki has won an Excellence Award at the ITU Telecom World 2015 in Budapest with his Padoko Charger Creation.

Padoko charger creator (L) with James Kaphale in Budapest

Padoko charger creator (L) with James Kaphale in Budapest

Faluweki realised that although only 11% of rural households in his country are connected to the electricity grid, 47% own a bicycle. So he came up with a device that can charge a cell phone using just pedal power.

His invention “the Padoko” got him to the finals of a prestigious global tech innovation prize.

Faluweki developed the phone charger last year in his third year Electronics class and he has just completed his first degree in Education Science, majoring in Physics at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College.

He received the award on Thursday 15th Octobe at a ceremony chaired by ITU’s Secretary General, Houlin Zhao.

Padoko Charger               

Padoko Charger is a bicycle powered phone charger that allows people using bicycle to charge their mobile phones as they ride.

It is probably the cheapest means of charging mobile phones to people who do not have access to home electricity in Malawi and other African Countries where electricity connection rate is still very low.

Mixon Faluweki of Padoko bicyce driven cell phone charger

Mixon Faluweki of Padoko bicyce driven cell phone charger

In Malawi, only about 11 percent of the households are connected to electricity and the whole sub-Saharan Africa electricity connection rate stands at less than 11 percent.

Padoko Charger could benefit approximately over three million people in Malawi who spend money every time they charge their mobile phone and many others indirectly. It has also the potential to generate forex for the country through exports.

Currently mass production is what is remaining to take the charger to the market. Mixon has managed to accumulate raw materials for about 500 chargers but he says that this number is very small compared to the market as such funding as well as protecting the product will do Malawi the best.

Awards and Recognition

The Padoko Charger innovator won the first international award in 2014 at aGlobal Innovations Through Science and Technology (GIST TECH-I) competition finals organised by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and funded by the American department of state. He was voted number one in the world competition which was held in Morocco last year.

Locally, the University of Malawi honoured Mixon as the Outstanding student innovator during [email protected] Celebrations held at Kamuzu stadium on Saturday, 10th October, 2015.

He has also been invited to make presentations at various universities in Cameroon in November 2015 as a way of promoting innovations among African students in universities.

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) sponsored three ICT innovators to showcase their talents at this global event.

The other innovators are Elijah Phiri of Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) who developed a warehouse management system and Samson Fiado, a fourth year student at Polytechnic who developed an accounting software called Easy books.

Macra’s legal affairs director James Kaphale said from Budapet that the regulators support to the innovators is in line with its mandate of promoting research in ICT.

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56 thoughts on “University of Malawi ‘Padoko’ charger creator gets global tech award in Budapest”

  1. Mpha Woyamba says:

    penapake lets appreciate others’ hardwork…enanu mukut its old technology ngat mulinayo modern one buanj,.kuzolowela kuyamikila azungu basi,ndi nzeru zanu zochulukazo osathandiza kupanga polish de idea en upgrade it kut ilinganizane ndi modern technology buanj instead ov makin it seem lyk de guy has done totally nothin…as 4 me,de dude has done a thing worth appreciatin zamunyasa nd mfiti

  2. sigweje says:

    that’s what university students or graduates aught to do.congratulations to u for making us proud.Enawa amangozitama kuti ndi ophunzira koma palibe chamzeru chomwe anapangapo.

  3. Blessings Pitiry-Deliwe says:

    Bravo!!!!

    This is the way to go brother. Uwu nde timati ukamuna…..However it is qt unfortunate that our IP laws in Malawi are too archaic and we do not have a provision on Utility Model or Small Patents. We solely depend on Patents. However, this invention is best suited in UM and can also be protected under the Industrial Design Act especially the shape. Furtherance you can protect your Trademark under our Trademark Act.

    Gone are the days IP used to be considered as a Developed Countries asset. Do you know that Americas, China, Japan etc Economy depends on IP. Do you know that copyrights highly contributes to Malawi economy than tobacco and is rated second… Food for thought…Government work UP….Our government is not serious….

  4. KK says:

    Atumbuka msanje yokha yokha. Wakusambila waka!!!!!!!

  5. Billy says:

    I said it before in my comment no. 12 and if you read comment no. 45 you will agree with me that this is an old technology and similar more refined products are already there on the market including eBay and Amazon. This product cannot be patented in Malawi as it is not original and re-inventing the wheel is a waste of time and money.

    Please be sincere and advise the guy to do a thorough research first next time rather than cheating him with hollow congratulatory messages.

    You can pretend and argue that “this product will be built in Malawi with hundreds of job opportunities… bla, bla, bla” but where is he going to get the raw materials from (and at what cost)? In Kayerekera? Have you ever wondered why we don’t design and build televisions in Malawi? Get real guys and use the internet, you will be surprised how much information is out there!

    Give me an I-pad!

    1. Robbie says:

      Amene mukunyozanu chanzeru munapangapo ndi chani? This is an international award, which only shows that the guy has done a wonderful job. This is just his first innovation and we hope that he will come up with another innovation. Big up Mixon

  6. M'Malawi Weniweni says:

    A Malawi chitani chilungamo. The Bicycle charger for phone is a very old technology, not a new innovation. As early as 2011, I saw the YouTube video of this at
    https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgrKHfncBYI

    Similarly, in 2013 there was a You tube post at
    https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nGrcR030R8

    Both of these were posted before our Malawian innovator.

    Next time people claim to innovate, chech the details.

  7. Nabanda says:

    Congrats Brother for the innovation….my plea to government, please don’t let this good idea be stolen by foreign countries, the likes of China and Cameroon, instead let the appropriate government Ministry support this innovation and produce a lot, and export, we will be talking about a very good inflow of forex, believe me. Congrats again Mr. Faluweki.

  8. Believer says:

    This guy needs support. From now onwards he should concentrate on mass production and stop making presentations on how it works, some clever guys will steal the technology and make business out of it. Banks and the export fund need to work up and support this guy. This is our source of employment and forex earning. Bravo Malawian Boy

  9. Chris Chimzimu says:

    The [email protected] was held at College of Medicine not Kamuzu Stadium

  10. onachi says:

    Congratulations! this is newsworthy and encouraging to our students. Patent it so you and Malawi can enjoy the benefits of your innovation. God bless you

  11. Anonymous says:

    Bravo young man. U indeed deserve a handsome recognition. Potential future leader with a creativity mindset. I personally have taken my hat for such overwhelming innovation..

  12. CHEWA FEDERAL FRONT says:

    Mixon, like Kamkwmba, is a natural genius; a man who looks at his environment and successfully conjures up a device with a huge potential to make life better for many.
    That as it may, his prototype may still need to go through rigorous tests before industrial production. In all likelihood his schematics/circuit would be modified during that process, but he still gets credit and loyalties.
    Having said that, his future in physics is guaranteed to be bright. He will do his MSc & PhD at a world class university.

  13. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    Watch as the innovator is being invited to other countries!!! The technology will be stolen and he together with the country will benefit nothing. A Malawi basi tiguganiza tafikapo basi. Government protect the innovations, let him not even present it in Cameroon. Give him the resources here instead.

  14. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    We should stop developed countries like China steal this technology, produce in masses and export them for a lot of forex for their country. UNIMA and Ministry of Industry, please quickly assist this Malawian innovator to patent it and start a factories all over the country, produce for both domestic and foreign markets. Please authorities, do not be idle and only think about your personal money making through workshops, trips, bogus consultancies and funded projects not benefiting the nation.

    Perfecting the technology should concurrently follow.

  15. neba says:

    Makes the nation proud, not this banging of tables in public. People go to gym or chop wood or hit the punch bag to release anger in a healthy way. Be sober and temperate in public. Smile and have a good sense of humor except when you, as commander in chief of MDF, want to declare war,,,but on who? We need our neighbours

  16. Namaoda says:

    Interesting! All comment are just of one Malawi. No link to tribes. Commendable if this is the new approach Malawians.

  17. Jambo says:

    recomendable indeed this will put malawi on the map

  18. Mafeel says:

    Ma intellectual azitero. Osamangoti ng’we ng’we ng’we mmisewu ndi mma pub ayi.keep it up youngman.

  19. Ru-San says:

    Hello Malawians.

    Congrats brother. This is what we want as nation. The youth should be active and innovative – and not busy with Kachasu, fodya and …. Keep it up, and let every youth – be in Primary, Secondary and College emulate this gesture.

    I rest my case.

  20. Ability says:

    Our country needs these kinds of innovations to move forward. Its your dream. Live it

  21. Kenkkk says:

    Excellent indeed, yes fly the flag. That is what innovative education is all about. Appropriate technology at its best!! And you professors?

  22. Jon says:

    Please connect me to the inventor of the charger and we can talk business with him.

  23. vilakagwentha says:

    Congratulations you have made us proud. Government and private sector support research for our country to develop

  24. car key says:

    Ine ndizimva izi..keep it up

  25. MADALA TEAM says:

    MWANA WACHITA BWINO UYU

    MALISECHE (RESEARCH) AJA NDI AMENEWA

    CHINA CHINA WANA WATHU AKUCHITA BWINO

    AKUFUNIKA CHILIMBIKITSO !!

  26. advisor says:

    Make sure it must be patented

  27. mbuje says:

    congrats young man! This is a genuine invention. By the way kodi ku Macra ko a director a ICT kulibe? nanga a director of legal services akutaniko uku? kkk

  28. MCP says:

    Thus a commendable job, congrats, sizomangokhalira pa strike ayi, apa sch yapindulira dziko. But one thing, bwanji mnyamatayu osamuyika chithunzi chooneka bwino? Sanje eti?

  29. Bonkers says:

    Uli bo mfana

  30. Marley says:

    Congrats. Innovative solution indeed

  31. Mirella K says:

    Izi bola izi osati zija zopusa mumkati ‘Chanco Students Invents ‘Asafuna Asiye T- Shirts’ za ziii! Congrats bro! Ugwire koma! Usamagoononga timatravelling allowanceto apa iyaaaa!

  32. TruFactor says:

    Congrats Mixon for this high achievement and for raising the flag internationally. My advice: you’ve proved yourself to the world that you’re a genius. Now start looking for MSc Scholarships. You got a big chance to get one, especially from Japan, Korea, China, UK, US, and Canada. Thumbs up to Physics Department at Chancellor College for the special interest in students you’ve always shown through various engaging them various projects, particularly Dr Mikeka and Dr Mlatho you’re impressive, and all staff.

  33. dms says:

    these are the people that we need in Malawi. Give credit where it is due osati nsanje a Malawi. This will not take us anywhere. Time has come now to utilize what we have for the good of the nation.

  34. Jobe says:

    ‘Padoko’, is a northern region language meaning ‘pang’ono’. Can somebody explain the etymology behind the naming.

  35. Ba Chatola says:

    Congratulations man! That’s a perfect way to develop this cashgate nation. We need more people like you in the country. Once again, Bravo!!!

  36. Kumbani says:

    The best is to get the innovation patented before the Chinese jump into it. You will the reap the fruits of your innovation. Otherwise all the best

  37. chindaxi says:

    Great…this is what we want…Govt….assist the guys to protect and sale their products….

    Easy books…great…Padoko charger…great.. Ndasilila

  38. reasonable man says:

    bravo bro, viva chanco, though unima with its auction kind of selection of students where the best goes to must and com wants to silence chanco n poly. but chanco will be chanco we will still shine. remember we are the home of academic freedom.

  39. Wadinkhula Wa Yiwona says:

    Congratulations boy!

  40. alex nkhoma says:

    kod mau akut’padoko’ akutanthauzanj?

  41. that is very great. I believe, many malawians who have an access to bicycles will also be able to access the service. However, piracy is what should be hailed to the sea.

  42. changalikandu pwagu says:

    Way to go! We need more innovators in Malawi! To hell with politicians! They have only managed to take this country to the dogs! Honourable Nonsense!!!

  43. bwangandu says:

    Big time Mixon. Nyasatimes, next time you need to do a better research on some facts. Sub-Saharan Africa had an electricity access rate of over 30 percent in 2010 and should be the same or slightly higher. This is unlike less that 11percent as quoted

  44. Billy says:

    Sorry not news, am afraid to say. Just Google “bicycle generator phone charger” on the internet and you will find hundreds of these already on the market including cheap ones on eBay.
    By the time he produces one he will find that the cost of production is much more that the cost of selling especially if you consider that almost 100% of his raw materials will have to be imported. With no forex this is going to be a disaster. The guy did not do his research and his supervisor, if any is not worthy of a university lecturer. Only a dunderhead like APM will sing a song out of this!

  45. tsetsefly says:

    This is very encouraging. For a long time universities in Malawi have been centers where we have been learning other peoples innovations. There was nothing to point out as fruits of our own creativity. So the works of one Mixon is commendable. Congrats.

  46. Bibo says:

    The knowledge,intelligence,and innovative ideas are there but what remains is converting them into technological products for exports.It needs government’s support to establish a Silicon Valley type technology center that would attract innovative young scientists to showcase their inventions and evolve with technology companies to cater for products of modern day economy.

    Did Malawi expect to develop after 50years of over-reliance on subsistence agriculture? Technology and innovation are the way to go especially if your country is disadvantaged when it comes to sea access.Technology products like software don’t require massive transportation system in order to export.When others are depending on mining you stress on innovation and sell them your innovative products to support their mining industry,plus there is no depletion in innovation but there is in mining.Israel is a good example of a technology-based economy especially in this 21St century, one can just go to Tel-Aviv and witness this.

    Malawi is not moving because all past presidents stressed too much on agriculture which is not even modernized.You combine innovation in computers,software,mobile technology,and light industrial products with a mechanized agriculture, you have a robust economy that doesn’t need mining.

    Asian Pacific countries such as Taiwan,Singapore,Indonesia,and South Korea have their own secretive ideas in innovation that have spurred their economies,and Malawi has to learn from them.

  47. mtumbuka1 says:

    You are a genius my friend and you have made us proud, my free advice to you though; please stay away from useless politics and you will be another Steve jobs in future. I thank you.

  48. PMW says:

    AMUNA!!

  49. milonde says:

    Awards are good but commercializing the product is better. Congrats dolo! but where are the investor’s for this product? you need to make money and start manufacturing thios product that will create jobs and economic development for the country aisee!

  50. mj says:

    I am ready to buy it but how much does it cost pliz tell me

  51. Vwapuvwapu says:

    Ndizo nzeru zimenezi osangolimbikila kuuluka m’malichero kkkkkkk

  52. sangomaaa says:

    Takunyadilani bro tonse kuno kumuz kumalawi…chete mwaonayu anthu ali busy kukangana kuti mtsogoleri atule pansi udindo mmalo momaganiza kuti tipange chani kuti dziko lathu litukuke mene mukuchitiramu…A malawi tatiyeni tisinthe pliz tonse sitingakhale pa u president pliz

  53. Muhophiwa Wakwithu says:

    Congratulations young man. Keep it up. Anyone who does not conratulate you should go and leave in Tanzania.

  54. Mashamase says:

    Ndiko kwiza , great guys

  55. Tili Chenene says:

    Wow! Congrats! We are all proud of you

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