Empowering refugees in Malawi through the Microsoft AppFactory initiative with UNHCR

Mar 31, 2018

The Microsoft AppFactory initiative with UNHCR is empowering refugees to create applications that solve real challenges faced by their community 

Empowering refugees

Noah Ndahirwa and his friends are developing a software which will digitalise operations at the Dzaleka Camp Clinic. The clinic like many other rural clinics still work manually.

The Dzaleka Microsoft AppFactory is empowering refugees to create mobile and Windows applications that solve real challenges faced by their community. The apprentices learn from senior software craftsmen. They learn skills that enable economic opportunity, improved livelihoods and a more dignified community. 

20 year old Noah Ndahirwa, a refugee from Rwanda says “These are some of the reasons we thank Microsoft and UNHCR for their partnership to set this Connectivity for Refugees Project here at Dzaleka“.

More than 31 refugees and asylum seekers are currently building applications. One such app is the Habari App. Habari app helps new arrivals with information on where to find services and what departments to contact. It also allows users who can’t speak English or Chichewa learn the basics of the language quickly and communicate. Other apps developed include one that automates the distribution of camp food rations. 

Empowering refugees

People see us as just refugees, implying that we are hopeless people who cannot contribute anything to the communities we live in.
But that is not the case. Granted the opportunity, we can also come up with innovative ideas to our communities. I strongly believe that the knowledge and concepts about software programming and developing I learn at the AppFactory will shape my future in the IT sector. I will put to good use the skills acquired to secure a job or establish my own business” – Grace Kapinga (20), Democratic Republic of Congo