ZIMBABWE Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU), a local private university has synergized with the University of Zimbabwe, Women’s University in Africa as well as international universities from the United Kingdom, University of Nottingham and University of Wolverhampton towards low cost COVID-19 alleviating solutions.
These universities will work closely with a local NGO, the National Age Network of Zimbabwe, to come up with various solutions targeting the less privileged communities as they leverage on ZEGU’s low cost COVID-19 innovations.
The project which is being funded through the UKRI’s GCRF/Newton Fund Agile Response for COVID-19 resonates with the government’s re-engagement process and Africa’s quest for African solutions to Africa’s problems.
As Zimbabwe and the rest of the world continue to brace up and fight against the pandemic, higher learning institutions have taken it upon themselves as leading research and development centers, to innovate and start creating bespoke solutions to national problems.
The life changing project is being championed by local and international experts, innovators and researchers: Evelyn C. Garwe (Zimbabwean lead); Godfrey Chagwiza; Julita Maradzika; Marck Chikanza; Juliet Thondhlana (Project Lead); Roda Madziva and Moses Murandu.
The ZEGU Vice Chancellor, Professor Christopher J. Chetsanga stated that:
We have a mandate to be innovative as research institutions. While we are happy to be creating solutions towards alleviating and fighting the pandemic, we are also happy that this is an opportunity to create employment for our university students, graduates and community members. In Zimbabwe we have everything that we need to create these solutions except there is lack of strategy”
Speaking on the funding and financial situation in Zimbabwe, the Vice Chancellor said more could be done to make sure that research institutions are well funded and capacitated to take up such initiatives that can be commercialized at a larger scale as Zimbabwe has portrayed so much capacity with less resources.
ZEGU recently hogged the limelight when they presented various locally produced solutions against COVID-19 to the President of Zimbabwe HE Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, in a show of walking the talk and taking the initiative a notch higher for a broad based community approach which is in line with Education 5.0.
The project team will carry out extensive impact research on COVID-19 and related innovations. ZEGU is already producing a diverse range of PPEs and sanitizers using low cost, locally available but highly effective materials to fight the spread of COVID-19.
To help the community members understand the challenges and more importantly equip them against the risk and exposure of the diseases, the project will be creating a series of strong physical, electronic and online campaigns to reach out to community members in their quest to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the project is expected to run over a period of 18 months, with realistic achievable goals set, as they seek to empower community members.