The award winning UL social enterprise Moyo Nua has officially broken ground in launching its pilot programme in Malawi with GOAL Global, supported by the UL Foundation.
The project aims to improve the health and wellbeing, and financial prosperity, of smallholder farmers across Least Developed Countries globally.
Moyo Nua was founded by 3rd year International Business undergraduate student Jack O’Connor, who co-leads the project with 4th year business students Elaine Gleeson and Jessica Habenicht; along with six other members and a wide network of supporting stakeholders.
Moyo Nua has partnered with GOAL Global to operate a pilot programme in five districts across Malawi over a nine-month period. The purpose of this pilot is to trial the manufacturing, distribution, and testing of their product with smallholder farmers.
The pilot is running until summer 2021, and is expected to impact 600 beneficiaries. Jack O’Connor outlines the significance of the pilot programme, stating: “Working with GOAL Global allows Moyo Nua to harness the subject-matter expertise of a renowned INGO, in order to trial the project before wider rollout across smallholder farming communities.”
The project currently competes with the University in Enactus - a global student social enterprise competition.
Since its inception as a BT Young Scientist project in 2017, Moyo Nua has found success as both a product innovation and business idea; winning the WTCA ‘Peace Through Trade’ World Cup and featuring on Forbes, to its most recent success of placing in the top 0.16% of projects from a pool of over 75,000 projects in the 2020 Hult Prize.
With sustainability at its core, the Moyo Nua team focuses on being idealists in vision, and pragmatists in execution; working on nine of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The project blends business and commerce with sustainable development in order to effectively improve the livelihoods of its stakeholders.
Speaking on Moyo Nua, Harvey Duthie, CEO of the UL Foundation, commented: “Here is another great example of UL’s enterprising spirit, and truly global vision. UL Foundation is delighted to support this student-driven social enterprise in Malawi.”
The name Moyo Nua is a dual-language term, meaning New Life in Chewa (the language of Malawi) and Irish. The name symbolises the integration created by Moyo Nua between Ireland and Malawi; and developed and developing nations.
The pilot programme enables Moyo Nua to create farming tools that are both ergonomically-designed and environmentally-friendly; that not only improve smallholder farmers’ efficiency and physical health, but also create vital income and employment opportunities in Least Developed Countries.
The farming tool created, a handheld seed planter, is made from locally-sourced bamboo and metal. This product eliminates the need for bending over during the planting process for smallholders; reducing labour intensity and improving their physical health.
These planters are easily made, and cost-efficient for use within these regions. The bamboo is sourced locally, and the metal heads are made by local blacksmiths. The manufacturing process of these planters are conducted locally within each region of operation. With this said, Moyo Nua creates trade for local labourers; and intends on hiring full-time employees within its regions of operation once product demand is quantified post-pilot. - Andrew Carey