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[Climate Solutions Lab Series] Climate Solutions in Action Under Akufuna’s Leadership: The Power of Collaborative Innovation

Article originally published on the Impulsouth project website


Akufuna Muyunda is an award-winning climate leader and environmental advocate with over a decade of experience. As the co-founder and executive director of Young Volunteers for the Environment (YVE) Zambia, he empowers youth to advocate for environmental sustainability. Akufuna also serves as co-chair of the Zambia chapter of Catalyst 2030’s Africa Forward campaign, accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through social entrepreneurship. Thanks to his impactful leadership, over 3,000 community leaders have received training in renewable energy entrepreneurship.

In 2023, he advocated for Zambia to declare a climate emergency, and his commitment to making change at both the grassroots and policy levels was rewarded and bolstered when, after seven months, the President of Zambia made an official climate emergency declaration. Akufuna holds a Bachelor’s in Ecology & Wildlife Management and is pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Management. With a passion for sustainability, he inspires others to create a more environmentally sustainable and socially equitable world.

Akufuna’s participation in Impulsouth’s Climate Solutions Lab has marked a significant chapter in his career. For Akufuna, being part of the Lab has been a transformative experience, and one key idea that has shifted his thinking is the power of collaboration. Through interactions with peers, mentors, and stakeholders, he has come to appreciate the importance of collective action in tackling complex challenges like climate change. The Lab has helped him to see that meaningful change requires partnerships, knowledge sharing, and a willingness to embrace diverse perspectives.

Throughout the journey of experimenting with and implementing NatureApp, Akufuna reached several milestones. One significant achievement was that he confirmed the usefulness of the proposed platform through engagement with smallholder farmers. Their enthusiastic response and valuable feedback have affirmed the relevance and potential impact of NatureApp. Additionally, he secured partnerships with key stakeholders such as Kazhina Enterprise & Nalipay, laying the foundation for future collaborations. Kazhina Enterprise works with farmers and offer advice on various issues affecting farmers with an emphasis on sustainable agricultural systems, such as organic, conservation, and agroforestry farming systems, and NALIPAY is a digital wallet application that facilitates online payments and financial transactions in Zambia. These successes marked significant progress towards his goal of developing a robust tech solution to address climate challenges in agriculture.

At the Lab, Akufuna spearheaded the development of NatureApp, a project designed to bridge the gap between indigenous knowledge and modern technology. NatureApp has evolved under his guidance into a comprehensive platform that supports smallholder farmers in Zambia with real-time weather forecasts, pest alerts, and farming advice. The app’s development was significantly influenced by the collaborative environment of the Lab, where Akufuna interacted with peers and mentors, gaining insights that refined the app’s functionality and strategic direction.

“In every challenge lies an opportunity for innovation and positive change. Let’s harness our collective creativity and determination to build a sustainable future for all”. Akufuna Muyunda

Climate Solution Summary: NatureApp: Empowering Zambia’s Smallholder Farmers to Practice Climate-Resilient Agriculture

NatureApp, initially conceived to bridge the gap between indigenous knowledge and technology, has evolved into a comprehensive platform aimed at empowering smallholder farmers in Zambia. Recognizing the pressing challenges posed by climate change and limited access to timely agricultural information, NatureApp has pivoted to address these issues head-on.

Through extensive engagement with smallholder farmers and stakeholders, NatureApp has gathered valuable insights into the specific needs and challenges faced by the agricultural community. These insights have informed the development of a robust tech solution that provides real-time weather forecasts, pest alerts, farming advice, and market linkages, among other features.

The project has been further strengthened by developer Akufuna’s participation in the Climate Solutions Lab, where collaborative thinking and knowledge sharing have helped him enhance the technical aspects and strategic direction of NatureApp.

As he advances into the prototype development phase, Akufuna believes NatureApp stands poised to revolutionize the agricultural landscape in Zambia by democratizing access to vital agricultural information, empowering farmers, and fostering sustainable practices. With a strong commitment to innovation, collaboration, and resilience, he is creating an app that will help others respond proactively to the challenges of climate change and offer a beacon of hope for a more sustainable future.