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Forge Futures Together: Unveiling our Strategic Partnerships for Success

Updated: Feb 13

Could you briefly introduce yourself, and describe your relationship with the Innovation Office?

I currently serve as director of the Ifakara Innovation Hub, a centre of innovation hosted by Ifakara Health Institute. I hold a Master’s degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, yet pursuing an MBA in International Health Management at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in collaboration with the University of BaseI. I have over 10 years of working experience in the field of STEM, innovation, and technology entrepreneurship.

The Ifakara Innovation Hub and the University of Basel's Innovation Office have entered into a mutually beneficial agreement to collaborate on innovation programs and activities. The partnership kicked off with exchange programs, where IIH's Entrepreneurship in Residence visited the Innovation Office in Basel, and MIRAHI startups were hosted in Ifakara, Tanzania, for product market and regulatory validation. This collaboration now fosters linkages and connectivity, promotes partnerships, and supports the entire product development life cycle.

The Ifakara Institute is one of our partners for the MIRAHI project. What do you think is common / different between Switzerland and Tanzania innovators? 

Entrepreneurial spirit and a global perspective are common traits shared by innovators in both Switzerland and Tanzania. Both groups exhibit a collective understanding and appreciation for diverse ideas and cultures, which fuels their efforts in building products and services. However, despite the notable strides made in Tanzania's innovation sector over the last decade, Tanzanian innovators face challenges such as limited access to funds (including private equity and angel investors), insufficient exposure to technical capabilities and technological infrastructure, and policy gaps. These obstacles stand in contrast to the more favourable conditions experienced by their counterparts in Switzerland.

Which start-ups and initiatives benefit from the program and how has the program contributed to their success? 

So far, I would say MIRAHI’s Breathe startup has gained valuable insights during their learning is it in Tanzania; and six startups from IIH embarked on a visit to Basel in December 2022. The advantages derived from these experiences encompass valuable user and regulatory feedback, enhanced networking opportunities, and a deeper understanding of perspectives crucial for building their products.

Where should MIRAHI be heading in the future? 

The key to shaping impactful health innovations in Africa is to amplify the hands-on engagement of local expertise and knowledge. Therefore, MIRAHI's approach should focus on bridging the gap between innovations originating in the global north and the specific needs of the region. This involves fostering active collaboration right from the inception of programs, acknowledging that Sub-Saharan Africa is not just a recipient of technological advancements but an indispensable contributor to the entire solution development process.

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