Professor George Kanyama Phiri handing over the materials to Mitundu market
Lilongwe University of Agriculture (LUANAR) Innovation Hub in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) of the USA on Thursday, the 10th of May 2018donated sanitation materials worth over 1.4 million Kwacha to Mitundu Market. The donation was part of the Frugal Innovation Practicums (FIP) project which LUANAR together with MSU have been implementing since 2015. Speaking during the handover ceremony at Mitundu market, LUANAR Vice Chancellor, Professor George Kanyama-Phiri, said the project aimed at providing LUANAR and MSU students with innovative experiential learning and participatory hands-on experience that focuses on building skills in collaborative community engagement in the context of urban food exchange and provisioning in Lilongwe. “ In 2015 and 2016, the Frugal Innovation Practicum provided students from MSU and LUANAR an opportunity to work together to engage small to medium-scaled food entrepreneurs to identify, articulate and propose appropriate (or frugal) solutions to common problems in urban markets of Lizulu or Tsoka Market, Area 25A, Area 47 Bwandilo and the Main Lilongwe Market. However, in 2017, the focus was on Area 36 Market, commonly known as Wakawaka Market and Mitundu Rural Market, where we are today,” said Professor Kanyama Phiri. He said that in an attempt towards finding solutions to some of the identified problems during the practicums, students and staff from MSU and LUANAR-Bunda Campus, sourced some funds through crowd funding from well-wishers in America and Malawi. The total funds sourced during the 2017 FIP III was MK2 072 050.00 and Mitundu market got 60 percent while Wakawaka market got 40 percent. He went on to say that as part of participatory needs assessment conducted by students and market traders at Mitundu , poor sanitation facilities and lack of water were identified as major problems that needed urgent solution. “To this effect, the Frugal Innovation Practicum, through LUANAR made a donation of MK1,243,230 Mitundu Market Committee on April 12, 2018 as way of contributing towards solving identified problems. An additional amount of K239, 250 will be made today to make a total MK1, 482,480 for Mitundu Market”, he said. He further said one of the LUANAR’s pillars it to always reach out to its surrounding communities in any small way possible. “we believe that this small contribution by students and staff from LUANAR and Michigan State University will go a long way to improve the market sanitation, hence hygiene at this market,” said Professor Kanyama-Phiri. Mitundu Chairperson thanked LUANAR for the initiative saying the donation will greatly improve sanitation at the market. He said the donated garbage bins for example, will be shared among all the market’s departments so that each department should have a garbage bin. He further said that they will establish bylaws to ensure that everyone throws the garbage in bins and those who will not abide to these laws will be punished.