Youth and Innovation key to communities development

Youth Roundtable Conference participants

The SANBio Student Ambassador for biosciences in Malawi, Kareem Longwe continues to build a network of bioscientists and promote innovations in the field of biosciences among the youths. On the 6th of February 2016, he made a presentation at a Youth Roundtable Conference held at Kumudzi Eco Learning Center organized by Students for Climate Justice (SCJ) with support from Trocaire (an Irish agency for world development).

The meeting was attended by youth involved in various student organizations advocating for climate change adaptation and justice and development. Present at the meeting was also the leaders of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ (LUANAR) Student Union and youth working with rural communities. One such youth in attendance was Mr George Goliati who is working towardsthe empowerment of local communities, redesigning the approach to development and mitigating climate change using indigenous knowledge.

In his opening remarks the SCJ coordinator, Dr Mkwambisi urged the youth to be proactive and make a lot of noise on issues impacting people’s wellbeing and countries development. Other presenters concentrated on the impacts of climate change and the need for the youth involvement in green technologies.

The Malawi Student Ambassador, on the other hand, gave a presentation explaining the linkage between youth, innovation and climate change and the role bioscience innovations can play in communities’ development, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Ambassador explained that Africa is a young continent and that youth are filled with excellent innovative ideas, elaborating how it is critical to develop innovative technologies that will not bring about the same negative consequences as the industrial revolution (while keeping in mind that the industrial revolution brought about many good things as well). The Ambassador explained how initially seemingly useless ideas can end up as important leverage for communities’ adaptation to climate change and its mitigation, using as an example an innovative young company called Khepri Innovations focused on solutions in industrial entomology, engineering, agriculture and biotechnology. The Ambassador further encouraged students who have innovative ideas to use the Agile Approach in the development of their innovations rather than the lengthy conventional approach.

The Ambassador finally encouraged participants to join the SANBio network by liking and following the SANBio social media pages; at the event the first participant to like the Facebook page was given a prize, a SANBio-branded string bag. He also explained the core functions of SANBio and opportunities offered and the areas the BioFISA II Programme supports.