Supporting youth-led ideas in dealing with unemployment

Madalitso Makombola, 27 has always had keen interest with emerging technological advancements across the world. His interest in technology comes from the belief that technology has the potential to solve various challenges in the world.

His interest in technology saw him pursue studies in Information and Communications Technology at Mzuzu Technical College, where he graduated with a Diploma in 2018.

After graduating, he started job hunting but when he could not secure one, he ventured into business. Together with his friend Chikondi Chiumia, Makombola founded World Wide Joint Discoverers in 2019, which among others offered photography and videography services.

“When we started the company, I was able to earn a living but I was not satisfied as we did not have enough equipments and in most cases, we depended on borrowed equipments and we could share profits,” Makombola said.

Furthermore, Makombola was not satisfied because he wanted to find a way of using his knowledge in technology to solve problems in the country’s different sectors.

“After analyzing the market, we saw a gap in the fishing and tourism sector, and we wanted to bring a technology to improve things in these sectors. For example, if you look in the fishing sector, fishermen usually use a human being to locate areas suitable for fishing and in most cases this has been resulting in locating areas with fish stocks that are not mature,” Makombola said.

“To improve things in the sector, we identified a suitable drone system but we did not have enough money to procure the necessary equipment. We needed financial support but the opportunities were not available,” he said.

Then, an opportunity presented itself. Makombola came across an Incubation Program run by Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub in 2021. He applied and they selected him to participate in a six-month program.

The Program, a component of a World Bank funded Digital Malawi Project aims at building a community of youth led quality startup businesses that provide innovative solutions for socio-economic problems within Malawi.

Participating in the program, equipped Makombola with different business knowledge and skills. Additionally, the program accorded him an opportunity to join a pitching competition in which best pitches received seed capital. Makombola’s pitch emerged the winner, and won him MK1, 000, 000.

“The money helped our company to procure this drone system. We are using the drone in fishing and eco-tourism. In fishing, it is helping in issues of over-fishing and at the same time we are using it to let fishermen know which areas have mature fish,” Makombola said.

With the drone system, Makombola is now contributing to conserving fish stocks in Lake Malawi.

Said Makombola; “We are working with Beach Village Committees in Usisya whose aim is to preserve fish stocks in Lake Malawi. Currently, we want to construct fish sanctuaries to protect fish stocks from over-fishing. We are also working with the fisheries department so that whatever we research, they should know as owners of the lake to prevent issues of over fishing.”

Presently, having secured the drone system, Makombola said their company would like to procure more drones. This he said is because the work they are doing is too big for a single drone.

“We are saving and looking to secure additional funding to grow the business. We want to buy more drones and an engine boat so we can be managing to go deep into the lake to easily monitor the drone,” he said.

“Achieving that, will grow our company and will make us create jobs for youths. Already, we have created permanent jobs to three youths and as the company grows I believe we will be able to employ more,” Makombola said.

Going forward, Makombola said their company aims to continue using technology in solving various challenges in other sectors.

“We are working on some ideas as we see that there are a lot of opportunities. For example, we have noted that in the northern region, we do not have a company with a drone for spraying crops and we are thinking of going that way, Makombola said.

For Makombola he owes the progression he has made to Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub and he stresses the need for different stakeholders to be supporting youth-led ideas in dealing with issues of unemployment.

“It is very important to give youths opportunities to create something for themselves rather than waiting for employment opportunities. I did not find a job but it is through this opportunity that I have something to do. I am urging stakeholders to support ideas that youths have,” Makombola said.