First Malawian shortlisted for Africa prize for engineering innovation: Catherine Chaima

For the first time ever, a Malawian has been shortlisted for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, run by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, which recognizes ambitious African innovators who are developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges.

Catherine Chaima shortlisted for the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
Catherine Chaima – one of the six shortlisted women – developed Cathel, an affordable antibacterial soap made from agricultural waste and other plant-based extracts.
The Malawian developed Cathel, an affordable antibacterial soap made from agricultural waste and other plant-based extracts.

The 16-strong shortlist was announced on Thursday  in Cape Town, South Africa.

Malawian citizen Catherine Chaima – one of six shortlisted women – developed Cathel, an affordable antibacterial soap made from agricultural waste and other plant-based extracts.

This year’s shortlist includes the creators of a smart library on wheels, a low-cost digital microscope to speed up cervical cancer diagnosis, bamboo bicycles made from recycled parts, and two innovations made from invasive water hyacinth plants: an animal feed and a cooking fuel.

The 2020 shortlist represents six countries, including, for the first time, Malawi.

Launched by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014,  the annual Africa Prize awards crucial commercialisation support to the innovators who are transforming their local communities.

The Prize has a track record of identifying engineering entrepreneurs with significant potential, endorsing those who, with the support of the Prize, have gone on to achieve greater commercial success and social impact.

Alumni of the Prize are projected to impact over three million lives in the next five years and have already created over 1,500 jobs and raised more than $14 million in grants and equity.

A unique package of support will be provided to the shortlist over the next eight months to help them accelerate their businesses. The benefits of selection include comprehensive and tailored business training, bespoke mentoring, funding and access to the Academy’s network of high profile, experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and across Africa.

Following this period of support, four finalists are selected and invited to pitch their improved innovation and business plan to the judges and a live audience. A winner is selected to receive £25,000 and three runners up receive £10,000.

 

“For six years we have been humbled to work with African entrepreneurs who use engineering to shift how we think about problems, developing disruptive technologies for everything from energy and agriculture to housing, transport and finance,” said Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize judge and Cameroonian entrepreneur. “These are the local entrepreneurs who are transforming Africa, and we are once again honoured to guide and learn from the brightest minds chosen for the Africa Prize shortlist.”

The 2020 shortlist includes innovations disrupting essential industries for economic development, such as energy and agriculture. They range from a containerised system that uses burning biomass to preserve crops, a quick and accurate probe to measure humidity in grains, a set of apps that help prevent food waste, a heat storage system that allows rural schools to cook food quickly and easily without firewood, facial recognition software to prevent financial fraud, and an anti-bacterial soap that makes use of discarded crop waste.

The Africa Prize is generously supported by The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund and the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.

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vikhumbo
vikhumbo
1 year ago

Congratulations and thank you for making Malawi proud

najere
najere
1 year ago

Girls and women are intelligent human beings. Catherine Chaima has shown it. What she has achieved many boys and men could never dream off. Women in Malawi and the world are on track fighting prejudice and discrimination with intelligence and hard-work. CONGRATULATIONS

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APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
1 year ago
Reply to  najere

Who ever said women are not intelligent? Growing up I fiercely competed with girls at primary, secondary and college level for academic excellence. Only idiots think girls are not intelligent.

Precious N
Precious N
1 year ago

Wow Catherine am happy for you. Keep up the spirit. Never stop dreaming big. Remember the sky is the limit. Keep on representing Malawi.

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APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
1 year ago

This is GOOD. So sad we Malawians can’t recognize our own people in matters of scientific innovation. We waste time awarding entertainers.

chataika
chataika
1 year ago

Uuuuh malume u are not following what is happening in ur country. Entertainers zinali dzana these days there is MBC innovators’ awards in various categories like agriculture, healthy, etc.

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APM akundiyamwa shaft 🍆👅
1 year ago
Reply to  chataika

Chataika I stopped following those awards after the first time it aired. I saw people receiving “innovation” awards for playing music with their feet and other silly shenanigans. But if what you’re saying is true, that there has been improvement, then I’m glad. That’s what we need!

CHIMULIRENJI
CHIMULIRENJI
1 year ago

Congratulations girl. You are an inspiration to us all. Olo usawine but just for the nomination kwaine wawina kale. God bless you

Griv
Griv
1 year ago

@ Author, WHY DON’T YOU DISCLOSE THAT THIS GENIUS IS FROM MALAWI UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY? AT LEAST PEOPLE CAN APPRICIATE THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK.
WELL DONE CATHERINE….

Mwana wa mmudzi
Mwana wa mmudzi
1 year ago
Reply to  Griv

Ditto, we don’t even know her field/occupation!

chataika
chataika
1 year ago
Reply to  Griv

Aaah this is good friend! ntchito za MUST zayamba kubala zipatso. Bravo Catherine l=komanso inu a Vice Chancellor mayi Malata and ur team. Proud of you.

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