Every blog post starts as an empty, sometimes intimidating, blank page. We decided to fill a few with some details about the people who make Flame Tree Initiative unique. Enjoy post #1 about our Strategic Advisor, Jones Ntaukira!
How did you first get involved with Flame Tree?
I trained on the very first DELab in Malawi in 2012 organized by Flame Tree where I spent a cool seven days learning about development and social entrepreneurship.
Why did you decide to continue on as a Strategic Advisor?
I love to inspire and empower others. I am a natural coach and it pleases me to see others get inspired to take action, so when the opportunity arose for me to become an SA, I thought, what a great opportunity!
What kind of projects do you enjoy working with?
I am passionate about technology, really. So naturally I enjoy working on innovative projects and with entrepreneurs who are using technology to solve real pressing issues in poor communities for example, an entrepreneur who is eradicating energy poverty and making energy access affordable will always have a special warm place in my heart.
What do you do outside of Flame Tree?
I am Managing Director for Zuwa Energy Ltd, a private company that harnesses mobile technology to improve solar energy access amongst poor communities living off grid. We use pay-as-you-go technology to achieve this. I am also Executive Director for Empower Malawi, a nonprofit institution with a mission to enable rural communities to build self reliance through capacity building and access to relevant sustainable technology.
What do you think the key to successful social entrepreneurship in Malawi is?
Capacity building, capacity building, capacity building.
What's one fun fact about you?
I can't stand those transparent lizards/geckos that crawl around homes. Damn, who made those?
And anything else that you might think is interesting?
Malawi is on the right track as far as social entrepreneurship is concerned, but there is more to be done on the policy front to support development entrepreneurs in Malawi. It seems of late there are a lot of projects that the government is supporting but I think they tend to focus too much on purely for-profit ventures. Projects like Matching Grants Facilities, business exchanges, and incubation must be extended to all regardless of whether they are for-profit or not. And there is need for more DELab-like programs to reach out to as many youths as possible.