Cleaning up COVID19 in Zambia
DARA Big Data Agriculture student Emmanuel Ngonga finished his MSc in January 2020 and returned to his home country of Zambia. He quickly secured a job working as a lecturer in Computational Science at the University of Zambia and was looking for PhD opportunities to further his academic research. Unfortunately COVID19 soon developed into a worldwide emergency situation and Zambia went into lockdown. The University of Zambia was forced to close and so Emmanuel’s lecturing position temporarily came to an end. However, he immediately saw a new opportunity and wasted no time in putting his considerable skills to use in a very different and much needed area.
Emmanuel saw there was a need for disinfecting and cleaning services in and around his city of Lusaka on a bigger scale than ever before, and in answer to this set up his own company. Clean Crew Zambia Ltd is a joint venture between Emmanuel and his cousin Gabriel Kalichi, a former Business Management student. They started with 5 employees and now have a team of 8. Their prestigious client list is growing quickly and includes the Vision Fund charity headquarters, the University of Zambia and the Angolan and Tanzanian Embassies amongst others.
Emmanuel used his own savings to purchase all of the protective equipment needed for his workers, as well as the initial cleaning supplies. The work is constant and involves a weekly deep clean of not only business premises but also the homes of their employees, to ensure as much continued staff safety as possible. This is vital work to keep businesses running and employees healthy, however it is obviously not without risk for the cleaning staff. As lockdown eases and people return to work it is very likely that his company will face even more demand for their services.
It’s not how he imagined life would be after his studies, however he is glad that he could create an opportunity to keep himself and others in work and fight the spread of the virus in his country. To date there have been less than 1500 cases overall in Zambia and 11 deaths.
Emmanuel said, ‘I have had a desire for entrepreneurship as far as I can remember. My approach to science and engineering is to use them as tools to better our world, and I find that to be a very fulfilling endeavour. I am particularly inspired by people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates who I believe have the temperament of scientists and use that aspect of their personalities to form entrepreneurial ventures that move mankind forward. It is my lifelong goal to be counted among such people.’
Once the worst of the pandemic is over he hopes to return to his lecturing post and also to further his own studies, using satellite imagery and data to monitor and improve agriculture.
DARA Big Data is very proud of Emmanuel both for his entrepreneurial spirit and his bravery in being on Zambia’s front lines curbing the spread of coronavirus. If you would like to read more about Emmanuel's research during his time studying in the UK and his future plans you can do so here.