"Malawi is currently facing uncountable challenges ranging from food insecurity, malnutrition, forex, intermittent power supply, and water shortages. Climate change and population growth is predicted to make the problems worse in Malawi. Biosciences can play a vital role in improving the livelihoods and well-being of the communities,” explains Kareem Longwe, SANBio’s first Student Ambassador.
Kareem, a 27-year old MSc student in Agronomy under the McKnight foundation Collaborative Crop Research (CCRP) scholarship at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources is one of the enthusiastic and energetic students in Malawi who has set his mind on making a difference in his country through biosciences. An entrepreneur by heart, he has started several initiatives to develop the economy of the country on a small scale. One of his current ventures is to propagate quality fruit tree seedlings in a bid to help develop and diversify the fruit production industry in Malawi. He doesn’t stop there – in partnership with his colleague, Peter Chimangeni, he is also running the university's tuck shop!
His ambitions are high and diverse yet his heart is with the local communities: "My main objective is to establish a highly diversified agricultural production system in Malawi. In another project I am working on, the creation of an eco-conservation farming system, my desire was driven by a pristine plot of land the vegetation of which I thought I could help preserve while still allowing for its productive use. Soon after I purchased the land, I worked with the local villagers to plant different tree species and we plan to install beehives and keep livestock."
Kareem has also done his fair share of travelling. “Soon after finishing my graduate studies in 2013, I got a presidential scholarship to do a 1-year certificate in Modern Agriculture in Israel,” Kareem says. As a very active young man, Kareem enjoys hiking and watching soccer, the former being reflected in his travels: he has visited destinations such as the Victoria Falls, Arusha (near Mt. Meru in Tanzania), and Mt. Mulanje in Malawi.
As the SANBio Student Ambassador for Malawi, Kareem, with a team of enthusiastic fellow biosciences students, will be promoting collaboration in biosciences through SANBio in Malawi as well as the SADC region. The team currently includes Peter Chimangeni, Sharif Mgwira, Chancy Sibakwe, Spriano Mpango, Thokozire Gwaza, Innocent Sandram, Walusako Kainga, Stewart Chauluka, Emanuel Zuza, Dickson Thebulo, Wilson Saikonde, Happy Mussa and Mishaque Dee Chirwa. They have already drafted plans for activities for the coming year, and we at SANBio are looking forward to supporting them and hearing about the results of their efforts.