Innovations for Development Association (IDEA) is a foundation based in Sweden and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The Foundation sponsors an award scheme which operates in a number of countries within the Eastern and Southern African Region including Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The IDESA Award Scheme was introduced in Malawi in 2002.

Mission and Objective

The mission of IDESA Malawi Award Scheme is to encourage endogenous development of technologies and entrepreneurship for poverty reduction, wealth creation and sustainable development. The main objective of the scheme is to identify, select and reward individuals, groups or institutions exhibiting creativity and entrepreneurial characteristics. Winners in the competition are given cash prizes and certificates.

Organizational Structure

IDESA works through local networks in order to identify suitable innovations and entrepreneurs. IDESA Malawi Award Scheme is governed by the Award Board, Selection Committee, and the Host Institution (Secretariat).

IDEA Award Board
The IDESA Award Board has 6 eminent members including a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson who are appointed by the State President in their individual capacity. The members are drawn from science and technology (S&T) related institutions, academic institutions, business sector and government.

The main function of the Board is to give policy advice and direction to the Host Institution and to consider recommendations from the Award Selection Committee. In addition, the Board is responsible for approving names of winners in the competition. The Board also determines the suitable monetary cash prize for successful innovations / entrepreneurship.

Award Selection Committee
The Award Selection Committee is the technical arm of the Board. Its members are appointed by the State President in their individual capacity based on expertise in S&T related issues and experience in award schemes. The members come from governmental organizations, academia and the private sector. In its undertakings, the committee is free to co-opt expertise from outside its membership.

The main function of the Award Selection Committee is to evaluate applications and recommend winners to the Award Board. Apart from holding evaluation meetings, the committee undertakes field evaluations.

Host Institution
The National Research Council of Malawi is the Host Institution of the IDESA Malawi Award Scheme. The Council is responsible for the day to day management of the Project. The head of the host institution also serves as Secretary to the Award Selection Committee and Award Board, and acts as contact person for IDEA Sweden.

Areas of Award
The Award is for innovative / entrepreneurial contributions made in Malawi. The award is given in any area of human endeavor. Technical innovations including research results, inventions, adaptations, designs, processes, methods, as well as improvements related to management are qualified for awards within the framework of the scheme. For an innovation to qualify for the award, it must directly or indirectly, contribute to an increased and/or a more efficient use of available resources or provide other social benefits. The award shall be given for outstanding innovations and entrepreneurship with socio-economic importance.

The competition is open to Malawian citizens, permanent residents, and institutions operating and registered in Malawi. It is acceptable for an individual, group or institution to be nominated for more than one project.

Panel of Judges
A Panel of three Judges, chosen by the Selection Committee, will assess and produce a score on each application at each stage. Of these, two shall be members of the IDESA Award Selection Committee while one will be an independent judge selected by the Selection Committee from outside the committee based on expertise and experience. A different set of Judges shall be used at each assessment or short listing stage and each Judge shall be given an ID number. The judges will operate independently and report only to the Selection Committee through the Chairperson.

Application Procedure and Assessment of Entries
Following an advert, applications and nominations for the award will be made according to the guidelines and application forms of the IDESA Malawi Award Scheme. In order to guide the selection process, the applicant is required to provide enough details of the innovation. Entries shall be assessed in three stages:

First Stage
The Secretariat shall advertise the IDESA Award Scheme inviting nominations. Project supervisors and heads of departments/groups/institutions knowledgeable of an outstanding innovation shall submit to the National Research Council of Malawi a project or innovation brief of not more than one page indicating title, objectives, activities and impact of the innovation. The project briefs shall be reviewed by a Panel of Judges to come up with a short list.

Second Stage
The National Research Council of Malawi shall send IDESA Award application Forms to those short listed in the first stage. Completed forms outlining bio-data and contact details of the applicant, description of the innovation, and information on development of the innovation shall be returned to National Research Council of Malawi. The entries shall be reviewed by a Panel of Judges to identify outstanding ones.

Third Stage
The Selection Committee shall convene to review recommendations of the Panel of Judges and then undertake field visits to ascertain authenticity and technical soundness of the entries. Finally, the Committee through the Secretariat shall recommend to the Board the entries for which the IDESA Award may be conferred. The Board shall decide how much prize money to give for each successful entry.

Assessment Criteria
In reviewing the entries, the Panel of Judges shall consider the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Expert evaluation of the written submission
  3. Individual/Team effort
  4. Participation of Malawians
  5. Potential for economic benefits to Malawi
  6. Potential for social benefits to Malawi
  7. Efficiency in use of funds in developing the innovation
  8. Commercialization potential
  9. Use of locally available material
  10. Sustainability
  11. Oral interview or site visit
Scoring and Ranking
The applications will be assessed and ranked based on the total score of all the judges added together. Each judge will produce a score of 0-5 on each criterion by scoring each application using the assessment questions. The score of 0 represents worst rank and 5 is the best rank. Fractional ranking is allowed only to the first decimal place and any fractions not satisfying this will be rounded off to the first decimal place. The Selection Committee will decide on the weighting of each criterion in order to produce a final score.

Scoring Sheet
(Click here for the the sheet)

Final Score

Use the following formula to compute your final score:

Comments: ____________________________________________________

Signature: __________________________ Date: ________________

Award Presentation
Winners will receive the awards at a ceremony to be attended by members of the Awards Board, Award Selection Committee, Scientific Community, Government Officials, representatives of IDEA Sweden, Donor Community, and the General Public.

Feedback to Applicants
After presentation of the awards, the applicants will receive copies of their assessment sheets which will not bear the names of the Judges. These will be sent to them with a covering letter from the Secretariat of IDESA Malawi Award Scheme not later than three months after the awards have been conferred for that year. It is intended that the feedback should be natural and factual. The feedback should be written and sent to encourage and stimulate the recipients to progress further in their endeavors as well as to show that they were treated fairly in the assessment exercise.

Deadline for Submission of Applications: 15th July Each Year


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