Empowering refugees in Malawi through the Microsoft AppFactory initiative with UNHCR

Empowering refugees in Malawi through the Microsoft AppFactory initiative with UNHCR

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 


Microsoft #Interns4Afrika Internship Africa Opportunities; Algeria, Malawi, Mauritius, Cameroon, Zambia, Morocco

Microsoft #Interns4Afrika Internship Africa Opportunities; Algeria, Malawi, Mauritius, Cameroon, Zambia, Morocco

Are you looking for a way to kick start your career? Looking to build some work experience in a thriving environment? The Microsoft 4Afrika Skills #Interns4Afrika Internship Africa initiative does just that. 
 Internship Africa

The Interns4Afrika internship program offers talented young people a unique experience with a dynamic and agile technology organization on the African continent. Whether you’re aspiring for a future in sales, marketing or technology, this is your chance to kick-start your future.  – Microsoft 4Afrika

There are Microsoft Interns4Afrika Internship Africa opportunities all across Africa

Do you live in Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Rwanda, Nigeria, Algeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Zambia, Morocco and Cameroon? Get to be an IT Support Tech, Sales or Marketing intern. 

Microsoft says, as a leader in platform and productivity for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, we believe in what people make possible. Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
“The Microsoft 4Afrika initiative has enabled us to link our growth with approaches that accelerate growth for the continent in three critical areas of development. World-class skills, Access and Innovation. Each of these focuses on different aspects that will help empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers and business and civic leaders. To turn great ideas into a reality that can help their community, their country, the continent and beyond.”

“World-Class Skills is about Microsoft plans to develop a Self-sustaining, world-class education platform, both online and offline, to help Africans develop skills for entrepreneurship and improved employability and competitiveness.
Microsoft in partnership with the host organization will offer you a unique opportunity to kick start your career. The internship program will provide you with a real-world work experience and new skills while working for a leading technology organization on the African continent”.

With this offer you will work for 6 months with a Microsoft partner organization on real projects. You’ll collaborate and learn from your colleagues. For more question about the Interns4Afrika program, check out the FAQ’s 

A few things you need to note to avoid being disqualified. 

Your application will be disqualified if you fail to reveal or disclose truthful information.

Do not apply if you:

  • Are not a citizen of the specified country 
  • Have not completed your degree
  • Are employed
  • Have not completed your National Service 

Visit our earlier post on Internship Africa opportunities in Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania.  

Kindly click on links below to apply on the Microsoft 4Afrika Interns4Afrika page. Sign up and fill away.



Algiers, Algeria


Lusaka, Zambia





Casablanca, Morocco



Blantyre, Malawi



Quatre Bornes,Mauritius


Moka, Mauritius


All the best to you as you apply. If you do get in, come back and share the experience with us?

Microsoft and UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees Project brings Hope to Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Microsoft and UNHCR’s Connectivity for Refugees Project brings Hope to Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Microsoft has partnered with UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR to address the lack of digital networks, connectivity and infrastructure in refugee communities.

connectivity for refugees project

© UNHCR/D. Kachitsa Connectivity for Refugees project in Dzaleka camp, Malawi.

Microsoft is helping address the lack of connectivity in some communities. One of such initiatives is providing internet connectivity to refugees living in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi. Dzaleka refugee camp is located about 70 km from Lilongwe. It currently hosts about 28,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Ethiopia

Through network partner, C3 in Malawi, Microsoft under it’s 4Afrika initiative will use TV white spaces to provide internet connectivity for the communities.
TV white spaces is a low cost broadband service which will provide users with 1GB of data for USD $2.40 a month. Users will experience speeds up to 3Mbps. TV white spaces performs even well in hilly areas and also allows the penetration of obstacles such as buildings and forest foliage.

Refugees view access to a mobile phone and internet as being critical to their safety and security and essential for keeping in touch with loved ones. The places where refugees and displaced communities live frequently lack digital networks and infrastructure, or the connectivity available is too expensive.

Through funding by Microsoft for a one-year period, refugees and interested host communities will receive free access to internet through the connectivity centers.

1,000 smartphones will be distributed to refugee community leaders who will use the connectivity to benefit their communities. Besides having easier access to their communities and families back home, the connectivity will also be provided to organizations that are working in the camp to improve service delivery.

Other plans are to link the connectivity with education initiatives to improve access to learning opportunities. Another plan is to use the newly established internet connection for livelihood programs to facilitate the search for employment.

Tina Ghelli, Senior Regional External Relations Officer at UNHCR spoke to Remy Gakwaya who’ll benefit from the project. Remy Gakwaya is a 22 year old Burundian refugee who resides in the Dzalaka refugee camp in Malawi. He runs the only computer lab in the camp. Remy voluntarily teaches other refugee youth how to programme. He opened the TakenoLab in 2016 because he wanted to help other youths in the camp learn to programme.

“I love programming,” says Gakwaya. “It is inspiring to see something that I create myself. Here in the refugee camp you are not free to do anything. We aren’t able to work outside of the camp. However, if you do programming, you can do it from anywhere in the world and be paid for that.”

Currently Apps benefitting the overall refugee community are already being developed by Gakwaya and his team. One of the apps will help teachers facilitate the registration of students’ enrollment and registering of their grades, which currently takes up a lot of time. They are also working on an app that will map the different tribal groups and share cultural practices so that the various ethnicities and nationalities in the camp can better understand each other.

“I want to use technology to solve local problems that big software companies do not have the time to take on,” says Gakwaya

Gakwaya is very excited. He is confident that having a faster and cheaper way to connect to the internet will be able to complete more online training to complement the programming skills he learned so far, but he also will be able to strengthen the training he is giving to other young people.

The Dzaleka Refugee Camp TV Whitespaces project, has added the Microsoft 4Afrika AppFactory initiative. That means fellows will be taken in and trained under the Microsoft 4Afrika AppFactory program.

More Info: UNHCR   Tina Ghelli