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YALI Voices Podcast: We Are YALI Malawi with Alfred Kankuzi
April 17, 2017

Please enjoy this special edition of the YALI Voices Podcast featuring Mr. Marshall Dyton as host. Marshall is the CEO of Freelance Web Solutions Malawi. He is also the founder and Editor-in-chief of Malawi Muslims Official Website. His areas of interest are to provide affordable web development, web design and related web services products targeting charitable organizations and Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) in Malawi. He is using skills gained in US during Mandela Washington Fellowship program to drive positive change in people’s lives through technology. He approaches technology as a solution to most problems people face in their day to day lives.

Mr. Dyton interviews Mr. Alfred Kankuzi. Alfred is a Mobile Application Developer and Graphic designer. He has capitalized on people’s access to smart phones to make legal and health information easily accessible. He employs his skills in information communications technology to address governance and health issues as he believes many Malawians struggle to access quality legal and health information. He is passionate about the participation of citizens in matters of governance and their social well-being. He developed an app called Legal Wallet which has improved illiterate people’s access to legal information which includes the laws of Malawi and the legal aid service providers.

Don’t have access to SoundCloud, iTunes or Google Play? Read a transcript of the podcast below:

We Are YALI Malawi: Marshall Dyton Interviews Alfred Kamkuzi

YALI VOICES HOST: Greetings, young African leaders.

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Please enjoy this special edition of the YALI Voices podcast featuring Marshall Dyton, CEO of Freelance Web Solutions Malawi. Marshall is a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow and today he is speaking with fellow Malawian Alfred Kankuzi, a Mobile Application Developer and Graphic designer as part of the “We Are YALI Malawi” podcast series.

MARSHALL DYTON: Right now, many people in Malawi and across African continent are spending their lives in jail, just because of ignorance. They’ve committed a lot of crimes, crossed several red-lines, just because they didn’t know the side effects of what they were doing. This is because very few people have access to the constitution of their line, they don’t know their human rights. In the end, ignorance has always been winning. But what happens when innovation meets ignorance? Join me in this second edition of We Are YALI Malawi podcast as I talk to an exceptional young Malawian who is trying very hard to defeat ignorance through innovation. His name is Alfred Andrew Kankuzi. This innovator has also just been selected to attend the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship in U.S.A. My name is Marshall Dyton, your host and thank you for downloading this podcast.

ALFRED KANKUZI: My name is Alfred Andrew Kankuzi. I’m an entrepreneur. Basically, what I do is like I develop mobile applications, I develop web applications. I also design things like related to health, like in terms of infographics. But for those people who also need extra services I do electronics also.

DYTON: So do you have a company, an organization, or just do this on personal basis?

KAMKUZI: I have a registered business known as [INAUDIBLE] Engineers and Consultancy Engineers & Consultancy. This is where software development takes place in terms of mobile applications, web applications and the microcontroller programming. That is we are able to come up with say electronics devices that we program them. We also have FREDAIL Designs where we do infographics and the graphic designing. So, far we have developed a couple of mobile applications ranging from health, governance, to entrepreneurship in terms of marketing. The first application in terms of marketing is known as Beza. Beza allows users to have access to unskilled laborers in Malawi. And the other application is Legal Wallet. Legal Wallet is a mobile app that connects ICT and governance. So it’s like, Legal Wallet, so I’ll explain to you the problems that we have in terms of governance in Malawi. Users are able to access the laws of Malawi, Legal Aid service providers, that is in terms of let’s say law firms, legal rights. We also have short online legal services, that is in terms of gender-based violence, child rights, succession inheritance, family remarriage, property, all those are available there. And the other application is known as Malawi Art Up. Malawi Art Up is trying to connect Malawians, I would say Malawian artists, trying to expose them – expose Malawian artists to the outside world.

DYTON: I’m interested in the Legal Wallet app because I understand that the issues to do with governance are a big concern in our country. What made you to come up with this application?

KANKUZI: I discovered that one of the problems that people don’t take it seriously in terms of ICT and governance, I will say governance in short. When it comes to the issue of law, many people do suffer. Many people do not know what to do and you find that many people do spend a lot and they become victims of circumstances. So it was because of these reasons that I had to sit down and think o.k. what is it that makes it difficult for people to have access to the laws? What is it that makes people difficult to understand the laws? Then I discovered that we have, like, the language barrier. Many people are not interested in the law because the law is difficult to understand. It’s only lawyers or someone who is in the legal field that understands the law. So with Legal Wallet, what I did was come up with a section, known as Summary Section where there is a summary of different sections, like they’re in a language that a layman can understand – someone who hasn’t done law, someone who is not in the legal field, has to get the concept of a particular section. And the other part is that I’m taking advantage of, I would say, mobile phones. Many people do have mobile phones in Malawi, meaning that if there are devices that people are close to, are mobile phone. So it’s like a second can’t go without a person having access to phone. I did take this advantage just because I know how people they’ve transformed bibles to put them in soft copies so that people can have a bible up and do all those kinds of things. So it’s like with Legal Wallet, I took the very same technique, had to put all the laws in a mobile app so that when people are there like doing other things with their phone they can have time to go through the very same laws and know about two or three things.

DYTON: You’re one of the young Malawians who have been selected to attend the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States. How did you get to know about the Fellowship?

KANKUZI: What I had to get information first from a friend who was a member of the YALI Network. But unfortunately he was not interested in continuing, I would say being the courses online, so that was, I think, a year ago. Then after going through the YALI Facebook page, website, and opportunity desk and some links, I discovered that YALI is something that I need to be part of.


KANKUZI: It’s something that would shape my life, it would transform my life from one point to the other. I would learn more, like, from networking. Other people are doing different projects that brings impact to the world. So in terms of my selection to go to (the) USA as a Washington Fellow is something that I’ve been looking forward to because I’m looking forward to networking a lot, learning from people that is fellow Africans and people in the United States, understand and learn more in terms of culture, what other people are doing, how can I apply the very same techniques that people are doing in other nations to transform their society in the Malawian context now. So it’s an opportunity that I don’t think is a mere opportunity, it’s something that I really appreciate.

DYTON: So how are you going to use this opportunity to transform Malawi?

KANKUZI: What will happen is like, when I come back home, it’s not like I will stop it there. Because as I’m saying now there’s already a project which is underway. So with the knowledge that I will acquire during the assignment and all the Fellowship processes, I will use that knowledge to advance more on what I’m already doing. And I will take that as an advantage because I will be able to know people who are doing similar projects with me. So with that advantage it means that I will be able to network with those people again.

Yes, it is true that when people go to YALI and come back it’s only a few months you hear about them, then they are nowhere to be seen. Mostly I would say it’s because there is a challenge in terms of networking. It’s like each individual person is doing things on his own so it becomes hard to see what effect that person is doing to their society because it’s like he’s doing things in the underground. But when people are to come together, let’s say they go to YALI and come back and be united to work on particular projects that will bring an impact. And people know that, o.k., these people was there in YALI and now is back and people are doing – A,B,C,D – whatever to follow up, we’re able to see. But as an individual it becomes that much harder.

DYTON: Yeah, I’m interested on that theme, on collaboration. Why do you think it’s very important for the YALI Fellows in Malawi to come up together and do one thing as a family?

KANKUZI: When we come together and collaborate to just come up with one particular project which can have impact – a combination of different people’s idea – the impact itself would be greater. The impact – and it will be easier for people to see the change. There is an advantage because people do share different skill sets. If I’m a software developer, someone is an artist, someone is into civic leadership, we all come together; what will happen is we are going to identify real life problems and we are going to come up with a concrete solution to that.

DYTON: Thank you very much Alfred for coming to our show and I wish you all the best as you prepare your trip to the United States.

KANKUZI: Thank you.

DYTON: That was Alfred Andrew Kankuzi sharing with us more about him and what he loves doing as he prepares his memorable trip to U.S.A. I hope we have all learned a lot from Alfred in this short interview. Until next time, I’ve been your host Marshall Dyton.

YALI VOICES HOST: Thank you everyone for tuning into another YALI Voices Podcast and thanks Marshall and Alfred for a great podcast.

Be sure to come back for more inspiring stories from young African leaders on the YALI Voices podcast.

Join the YALI Network at yali.lab.dev.getusinfo.com and be a part of something bigger!

Our theme music is “E – Go Happen,” by Grace Jerry and produced by her friends The Presidential Precinct.

The YALI Voices Podcast is brought to you by the U.S. Department of State, and is part of the Young African Leaders Initiative, which is funded by the US Government.

Thanks, everyone.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blogs contributed by members of the YALI Network.