MUST students win ICTAM innovation award

By Staff Reporter

A team of eight Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) students has won the ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) AgriTech Category award for their innovation in agriculture.

ICTAM held its annual general meeting between November 24 and 25, where, among others, it awarded innovators in the National Bank of Malawi (NBM) sponsored ICTAM Innovation Jam.

The eight students (four females and four males), are all in fourth year of their Bachelor of Computer Systems and Security studies and their names are Thokozani Kamkamba, Yankho Kamtukulo, Hanifa Maulidi, Christina Mwapwele, Blessings Saini, Sydney Simbi, Patrick Hambeyani and Ndagha Kang’oma.

For winning the award, the team went away with a K1 million cheque courtesy of NBM.

The students designed and developed a secure Internet of Things (IoT) based chicken farming monitoring system that allows farmers to monitor the health and behavior of their birds in real-time.

The system also controls ventilation, lighting and gets rid of harmful gases in chicken houses without human intervention.

Reacting to the award winning, one of the students, Patrick Hambeyani said they were thrilled and honoured to have emerged winners of the prestigious award

“We thank God for this great achievement. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Mr Allan Chongwe, our supervisor for his mentorship and university management for its support. For us, winning this award is more than just a recognition of our efforts, it symbolizes the culmination of tireless dedication, relentless perseverance, and a shared passion for pushing the boundaries of innovation. As a group of students, this achievement is a testament of our collective commitment to harnessing technology for real-world solutions,” he said.

Looking ahead, the awardees said they see a future where their innovation becomes a standard in poultry farming, thereby enhancing productivity, ensuring animal welfare, and promoting sustainability.

“Our commitment to innovation doesn’t end here; rather, it fuels our determination to further refine, improve, and expand our project’s capabilities. We want next year by this time we should have a number of farms using our system,” said Patrick on behalf of the team.

This is not the first time MUST computer studies students have won this and other national and regional competitions.

The students have been reigning champions for the Southern Africa Cybersecurity Challenge competition for three consecutive years.

Supervisor of the eight students and mentor of the cybersecurity champions and lecturer at MUST, Chongwe said the win was encouraging because it showed that the skills and knowledge the students are gaining in their studies was relevant and can offer solutions to national, regional and global challenges.

Two team members, Christina Mwapwele and Patrick, represented their colleagues at the awards ceremony held at Nkopola Resort in Mangochi.