M-Tron Africa - Finalist in The Unilever Global Development Award

SETA programme encourages further education and supports business growth
  • Over 5,000 young people have been trained to date
  • 65% of SETA graduates plan to pursue engineering in college 30 times more than the 2% in 2009
  • Nearly all students who have taken the course would recommend it to a friend
  • Sales revenues attributable to the initiative increased by more than 400% since 2009 – from less than $50,000 to over $200,000.

Techno-preneurial skills are getting people out of poverty and supporting sustainable agriculture too. Learn more about M-Tron Africa’s unique approach that hopes to inspire five million young people across the continent.

Su“You will notice that the education system in places like Uganda and Zimbabwe has remained a chalk and talk affair,” says engineer Lovemore Mukono at SETA (Society for Engineering and Technology in Africa). “It has no relevance to the application of knowledge in a practical and productive society.”

These regions, then, is producing consumer populations that are completely isolated from the production of value-added goods and services. “The continent is seriously lagging in human development, and this has seen many of its young people risk life and limb to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search for a better life in Europe and beyond,” he adds. “The SETA initiative seeks to reverse this by providing practical productivity focused training to usher a new, sophisticated African capable of creating wealth and competitively producing value added goods required by the rest of mankind.”

Add to this the sheer number of people living under $1.25 per day or less, and its clear that something’s got to give.

Technoparks bring industry to rural areas 

The foundation – a CSR initiative by M-Tron Africa – brings productive skills to young people in schools, colleges, universities and organised youth groups. Specifically, it wants to bring high-tech engineering to five million young people between the ages of 18 and 35 in Africa and beyond.

Specialised low-cost factory incubators, known as TechnoParks – mainly located in the peripheries of major cities – are equipping young people with techno-preneurial skills, particularly young women, people with disability, orphans and vulnerable children. This brings production closer by opening up rural peripheries into competitive economic zones.

The low-cost model is supporting more than 500 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the supply chain of electronic components, metal parts, plastic parts, packaging, advertising and agricultural engineering solutions in Zimbabwe. By cutting down unemployment, SETA is helping to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Specifically, it’s increasing the number of people living over the poverty line to at least 10 per every 100.

Sustainable Agriculture

Not only will these skills help young people innovate and make money – using solutions developed by M-Tron Africa – but the agricultural engineering solutions will help increase the proportion of land under sustainable agriculture by 2030.

The partnership demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that disability is not inability, with over 100 disabled people having been trained and actually manufactured quality marketable products worth over $60,000 that could be distributed through reputable supermarkets.

- Greaterman Chivandire,
Co-Ordinator, Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe Trust
Orphans, vulnerable children and people with a disability have been trained with NGOs such as Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe Trust, whose partnership with the SETA foundation dates back to 2014. “

Beneficiaries from more than 60 NGOs, schools and colleges have been given the skills to make electronic and agricultural components, and the Government of Zimbabwe has now agreed to implement the STEM Curriculum in all schools thanks to the success of the programme.

The business continues to generate orders both locally and from regional countries owing to consistent supply of quality products produced under the initiative.

Not only that, but it is sharing its highly valued intellectual property – a preserve of top management in most of the world’s renowned firms – too. Now, the plan is to establish at least one TechnoPark in each of the ten provinces of Zimbabwe and Uganda. Watch this space.