Freedom Pioneers of Africa

FRIEDRICH NAUMANN FOUNDATION FOR FREEDOM AFRICA  |  Series , ±21 min episodes total time 4 hr 22 min  | 
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in sub-Saharan Africa presents the cross-regional radio programme “Freedom Pioneers of Africa”. In twelve episodes, local change-makers present their successful projects and discuss topics such as innovation, digitalisation and entrepreneurship. The programme airs on community radio stations in six countries in the Africa and is released here as a podcast.
The featured entrepreneurs discuss topics related to energy, education, health, security, financial inclusion, agriculture, climate and waste management. The audience is encouraged to give feedback about the initiatives being presented to them by the change-maker during the live radio broadcast. An external global connect expert then helps analyse the initiative and provides input on how it can be transformed into an even bigger global product.

The programme, presented in English, airs on eighteen community radio stations in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi. Each episode has a length of 10 - 15 minutes.

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01

Health Innovation - Paratube

In 2011, Portia had a major accident which resulted in her being wheelchair bound. She subsequently suffered deep depression as a result of feeling that she had lost her independence and dignity. She now needed assistance with basic tasks such as using the bathroom and for this, she was fully dependent on her mother and grandmother’s assistance – lifting her off the wheelchair and onto the toilet seat each time Portia needed to relieve herself. She eventually decided to change the situation for her and her loved ones for a better future in the long term. She therefore came up with a new concept and invented a wheelchair mechanism she named the Para Tube. It is a seat that retrofits onto any existing wheelchair – working together with disposable biodegradable bags. It has a built-in toilet allowing the user the ability to use the bathroom without the need to be lifted off of the wheelchair. The Para Tube gives independence and dignity to the user. This invention is what led to the launching of her company, PRD Logical Solutions.

In this first episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Portia presents her concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Portia also discusses her initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

Featured radio stations in order of appearance:
Ntepe Manama Community Radio, Underground Radio (English), Radio Omaheke and Kharas Radio.

Featured languages in order of appearance: Zimbabwean Ndebele & Sesotho, English.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
02

Food/Agritech Innovation - FarmHut

Farmhut is the biggest farm to folk marketplace in Zimbabwe. It is an online platform whose mission is to disrupt the food supply systems across Africa. Farmhut supports smallholder farmers to attain productivity and profitability. Over a third of the food grown by farmers never gets to the table as that goes to food waste. This can be stopped by the development of smart market infrastructure that allow farmers to place their produce for sale before they even finish harvesting ensuring that there are no losses that occur post-harvest due to lack of markets. This is the problem FarmHut solves for the farmers on its platform.

Zimbabwe-based passionate and driven agri-preneur Ryan Katayi is featured in the second episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa. This episode features snippets that aired across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers in the participating radio stations were able to give their thoughts on the project and whether it would work if it were to reach their community.
In the episode, Ryan also has an opportunity to discusses Farmhut with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

Featured radio stations in order of appearance:
Kharas FM (DJ Mondisa), BCR FM (Jacob), Radio Dialogue (Khulekani), Radio Omaheke (Elias), Nongoma FM - Lungelo.

Featured languages in order of appearance: English, Siswati, IsiZulu.
03

Education Innovation - TEFA

Andrea Mwalula is the founder of Twende Education for All/TEFA – an organisations whose work brings education to paediatric patients through a digital (learning on tablets) & play-based learning model. TEFA operates in the Lusaka and Mpika districts in Zambia and currently serves approximately 130 children and youths. Their vision is to expand these facilities to other hospitals within Zambia the estimate potential customers would be in the range of 1000+ children and youths.

In the third episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Andrea presents her concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on a project presented by an upcoming innovator and they share whether it would work in their environments. Andrea also discusses her innovation with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

Featured community radio stations in order of appearance:
Kharas Community Radio (Dj Mondesa), Radio Bambeke, Underground Radio (Keri).

Featured languages in order of appearance: English, Chichewa.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation Africa
04

Waste Innovation - Trashion

Gertrude Gugu Mlanga, 25, is a Malawian innovator and entrepreneur investing in protecting and preserving the environment. Gertrude has always been a passionate artist and says that her love for art and the environment is what has led her down the path of sustainable fashion.
Through her firm, House of Gugu and Trashion, she collects waste (mainly plastics, glass and paper) in cities and recycles them into fashion products, particularly material for making handbags, jewellery, T-Shirts, and home deco items such as wall art paintings and door mats.

She says a large part of the inspiration behind her business was how big business in Malawi seemed to overpower government on policy around the use of single-purpose plastic. She was frustrated by this reality and decided to be the change she wanted to see and took it upon herself to contribute to the reduction of plastics that don’t get recycled as well as to provide employment to local youth in her workshop.
In 2018, she was awarded the 2018 Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Innovations Award and was flown to China for new partnership opportunities.

In the fourth episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa we feature snippets that aired across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia of Getrude's Trashion. Listers in the participating radio stations were able to give their thoughts on the project and whether it would work if it were to reach their community. Interestingly, listeners also speak about the prospect of doing the same in their environments.
Gertrude also has an opportunity to discusses Trashion with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation Africa
05

Energy Innovation - Kasangazi Hydro-Electrical Power Plant

Colrerd Nkosi is a young Malawian who innovated with basic materials to generate and connect his village to electricity. Using a bicycle dynamo and an old refrigerator compressor, Nkosi at the age of 21, was able to bring electricity in his village. Since then, more households continue to be connected. The households pay $1 per month for maintenance. The money has helped in expanding the grid. Only 10 percent of the Malawi population is connected to electricity.

Speaking in his home language Colrerd presents his product, which is translated into English. This so all of Africa can hear about his innovation, which broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. On the Freedom Pioneers of Africa programme, listers give their thoughts on initiatives presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Colrerd also received feedback on his work from our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.
06

Agribusiness Innovation - Sanavita

While studying for a BSc in Human Nutrition at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Jolenta Joseph was looking for a business idea that would help reduce the rampant malnutrition among vulnerable communities in Tanzania.
The entrepreneur created Sanavita in 2019, an innovative agribusiness company that processes biofortified crops to create various edible products. The first product her enterprise dealt with was orange-fleshed sweet potatoes – a special type of biofortified sweet potato that contains high levels of beta-carotene. “I would take sweet potatoes on credit from farmers in rural areas and sell them in towns,” she recalls.
Pregnant women, lactating mothers and children form Sanavita’s primary target groups because the majority of people who suffer from iron and vitamin A deficiency are women and children.
Sanavita’s main markets are in Morogoro, Dar es Salaam and the capital city of Dodoma. The products are sold through local channels like supermarkets, shops and local markets.

In this sixth episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Jolenta presents her concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Jolenta also discusses her initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

The featured radio stations (in order of appearance) are Oranjemund FM, Triple A FM, Underground Radio, UNZA Radio and Nongoma FM.
07

Energy Innovation - WiBox

Brian Vhutali Gadisi and his co-founders at Arion – the creators of the wiBox, are solving a small but important part of South Africa’s energy crisis – continued connectivity to the internet for work and study during load-shedding (planned power cuts).
What started out as a university project and a challenge to beat a running record for the most money made from a business on the programme, quickly turned out to be the catalyst for the invention of an ingenious product, the wiBox, a mini-UPS designed to power your router and fibre during a power outage, and the establishment of Arion Power as a formidable start-up business in the South African market.


While load-shedding may have affected their work and study schedules, it was the boredom of not being able to binge watch series, use smartphones or laptops, and not having any internet access during power cuts, that frustrated the co-founders enough to consider the possibility of alternative solutions.
“There were no affordable products in the market when we started. You can’t afford one of those big inverters as a student, so we started thinking about what it is we actually needed, and the answer is simply a running Wi-Fi connection in order to access your phone or laptop. That was the concept behind the WiBox,” shares 24-year-old co-founder, Alan Gie.

Without any technical study backgrounds, one could describe the story of Arion Power as a perfect storm scenario. A classic tale of the right people being in the right place at the right time.

With the success of the wiBox, the team have already begun plans to launch a number of other products to aid in providing affordable access to alternative power solutions.

In this seventh episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Brian presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Jolenta also discusses her initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

Featured community radio stations in order of appearance are:
Radio Dialogue, Triple FM, Underground and BCR FM.
Featured languages are English, Kishwahili, Siswati.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation For Freedom
08

Energy Innovation - AFNON

Arnold Nyendwa is a Zambian entrepreneur, inventor, and founder of AFNON (formerly Venturas Jumpstart). Arnold invented a revolutionary stainless steel stove that was inspired by people living in marginalised communities in Zambia. He was concerned about respiratory diseases such as asthma developed by using charcoal, wood, and other wooden cooking devices. The frequency of load-shedding also influenced his stove invention which performs eight (8) functions thereby, making it multi-functional and cost-effective. The stove allows a user to cook, bake, fry, roast, dry, braai, smoke, and warm food items. It interestingly allows the user with three energy sources to pick from electricity, gas, and fuel.

He was born and raised in Petauke, Eastern Province of Zambia. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies at Mulungushi University in Kabwe.

In the eight episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Arnold presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Arnold also discusses his initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

The featured radio stations (in order of appearance) Kharas FM, Radio Fadhila and BCR FM. Featured languages are English, Swahili, Swati.
09

Energy Innovation - Cist Biofuel

CIST Ethanol Fuel is a clean cooking ethanol made from invasive water hyacinth. While ethanol is traditionally made by adding yeast to products like sorghum, barley and sugar cane, CIST Ethanol Fuel uses water hyacinth, a plant found in abundance in Lake Victoria.
Chemist and high school teacher Richard Arwa started producing ethanol with two high school students for a science and engineering fair. Later, another competition encouraged Arwa to commercialise the product, prompting him to scale his production significantly from the single litre he was able to produce at a time at the high school laboratory.
Unlike other materials used to produce ethanol, water hyacinth contains strong cellulose bonds. Arwa manufactured an enzyme which breaks these bonds through fermentation, which takes place once the hyacinth has been cleaned and shredded. Laboratory tests found that CIST Ethanol has a low sulphur content and releases minimal emissions when burnt, making it safe for cooking.
Kenyans living in rural areas and informal settlements mostly use firewood, kerosene and wick stoves to cook, all of which are costly, pose fire hazards, and have severe health and environmental implications. CIST Ethanol is nearly 40% cheaper than kerosene, and sold to entrepreneurs in refugee camps, where they resell it to make an income. Arwa has built his own equipment to separate and distil the ethanol after finding that commercially available equipment, which produces 2,000 litres of ethanol per day, is unaffordable. He plans to manufacture and sell the equipment to other small businesses.
Arwa is exploring ways of using the solid and gas by-products created by the process, to ensure that he runs a zero-waste operation.

In the ninth episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Richard presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Richard also discusses his initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

The featured radio stations in order of appearance: Kharas Community Radio (DJ Mondeza), Omaheke Radio (Elias), Underground Radio (Keri), BCR FM (Jacob), UNZA Radio (Harry).
The featured languages in order of appearance: English, Kishwahili, Siswati.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
10

Mobility Innovation - Elocart Electric Mkokoteni

Kenneth Guantai is a Kenyan innovator and inventor. He noticed how the use of the regular tuk-tuks polluted the environment and how handcarts (referred to as mkokoteni by the locals) was tedious and tiresome for youths who used them to earn a living.
This concern led Kenneth to invent electric tuk-tuks and motorised mkokoteni to respond to the pollution and health hazard posed by the use of the regular tuk-tuks and handcarts. The Elocart handcarts self-recharge using kinetic energy.
These innovations have been well received by the tuk-tuk and mkokoteni operators, and will undoubtedly improve the lives of Kenyan citizens.
Air pollution is the leading cause of fatal respiratory diseases and the greatest killer in the world today.
The initiation of clean energy and environmental conservation has brought an eco-friendly approach to technology, seen in the gradual replacement of fuel-based machines and vehicles that release toxic gases with electric options.
In Kenya, Kenneth Guantai has found a way to curb the air pollution caused by tuk-tuks and provide a more convenient and efficient replacement for handcarts in African cities.

In the tenth episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Kenneth presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Kenneth also discusses his initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

The featured radio stations in order of appearance: Radio Dialogue, Triple A FM, Oranjemund FM and BCR Radio.
The featured languages in order of appearance: English, Kiswahili & Siswati.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Sub-Saharan Africa
11

Housing Innovation - Nelplast Eco

Nelson Boateng and his team at Nelplast Eco Ghana Limited are killing two birds with one stone by ridding the state capital of filth and providing affordable building materials made from plastic waste.
Unlike many who recycle plastic waste into bags or other handy products, Nelplast Eco Ghana uses plastics as ‘concrete’ to build roads and houses.
Plastic waste management in Ghana is a failed venture despite government’s several attempts to curtail the menace. Keeping up with a sustainable policy is one hurdle policymakers are yet to cross.
Nelplast Eco Ghana Limited is a plastic wastes collection, recycling, and eco- friendly building and construction company based in Katamanso near Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

In the eleventh and second last episode of Freedom Pioneers of Africa, Nelson presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Nelson also discusses his initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

The featured radio stations in order of appearance: Oranjemund F , Mudziwathu Community Radio and Radio Dialogue.
The featured languages in order of appearance: Ndebele, Kiswahili, English and Siswati
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
13

Water Security Innovation - Kusini Water

This social entrepreneur was born in Limpopo, South Africa and holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, with a major in Chemistry. He also has a certificate in Water Treatment Technology. His brainchild, Kusini Water provides safe drinking water to people in rural areas using a solar-powered water purification system. Murendeni is a firm believer in the importance of providing sustainable water and safe drinking water, particularly to people in rural areas who cannot necessarily afford to buy bottled water. On a global scale, Murendeni is aware that over 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and that infants in the developing world die within the first two to three years due to a lack of water. Kusini Water exists to solve these problems sustainably and makes use of locally sourced macadamia nut shells and an off-grid power system to provide water to neighbouring communities.

In the twelfth and last episode of FPOA, Murendeni Mafumo presents his concept, which was broadcast across eighteen community radio stations in Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. Listers give their thoughts on the projects presented by upcoming innovators and whether the initiative would work in their environments.
Murendeni Mafumo also discusses his initiative with our resident Global Connector, Bianca Praetorius. Bianca is a startup pitch coach who offers insights into all things technology, digitisation and innovation.

The featured radio stations in order of appearance: Ntepe Manama Community Radio, Umunthu FM and BCR FM.
The featured languages in order of appearance: Zimbabwean Ndebele, Kiswahili and Siswati.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation Africa

12 episodes