Winning Projects 2016

The three invited finalist teams presented their projects in Berlin at the end of September 2016 in front of our jury and experts from the fields of science, politics and business. Insectus, a project on the establishment of insect farms was the idea of students from the Leibnitz-University Hanover. The larvae of the black soldier fly are very well suited as a cost-effective nutrient-rich supplier with high-quality proteins and a high content of iron. For Zambia by Zambians was developed by an international student team of the University of Mainz. By cultivating a fiber banana, the team aims to increase food availability and to ensure a more stable income for small-scale farmers. Samaki is a project idea of the university network Enactus Aachen. The re-circulating fish farming tanks can be built using local resources and can produce 30 – 40 kg of fish every month. On this page, the winning teams will report on the progress of their project implementation

For Zambia by Zambians


The aim of the project idea For Zambia by Zambians is to introduce a crop commonly called “false banana” into Zambian agriculture and to promote the cultivation, consumption and distribution of these fiber bananas in Zambia in the long term. The idea was presented by the Mexican exchange student of the University of Mainz Daniel Cardenas. He recalls that “the challenge itself as an international competition to propose an innovated idea to do something real to help people and particularly the challenge to   all [my] work in just 20 minutes without being physically attending the finale” excited him the most.He came up with the idea to introduce the false banana “because the crop, enset ventricosum, was already used in Ethiopia and I researched if it is possible to introduce it to Zambia, use this as a base to all the system I built to attack the malnutrition problem and empower the people of Zambia with a sustainable farming system.”  The “false banana” is called “false” because its fruits are not suitable for consumption. The stalks of the leaves, on the other hand are edible. They are rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese and zinc and, additionally, of high nutritional value due to their high proportion of fiber. Since the fiber banana is robust and easy to breed, it can contribute to the independence of the cultivation area of imports and other external support arrangements. The plant is drought-resistant and in Ethiopia, its country of origin, often the only reliable food source in the dry season for many people




The project idea Samaki aims to promote the breeding, consumption and distribution of Tilapia fish in Zambia in the long term. The self-sustaining fish farm installation developed by the project group, is re-circulating and thereby safes water and it is easy to operate, independent of established electricity networks or running water. The selected fish species, Tilapia (a cichlid species) is considered particularly robust and is a popular food of the region.

The idea arose from the implementation of a similar project in Tanzania. “… we met  a lot of people trying to cultivate fish themselves, since they sold very well on the local markets. However, due to their lack of know-how they were not able to make them work and all their fish died. The approach to utilize fish for solving many of the local food issues convinced us, since it tackles a lot of different challenges at once”, reports the project group. The installation operators receive a detailed manual and get comprehensive  information on the principles of the solar system, principles of fish farming and successful business management through workshops. The establishment of an additional website will help to inform the Zambian smallholder families about the construction and repair of the fish farm installation as well as the capability with regard to health  of a fish-based, micronutrient-rich diet.



Step By Step

Mainz, October 16th 2017

The Enset team is still in an intensive planning phase for further steps. We welcomed Ermias Molla the Ethiopian Enset specialist in Mainz at the end of August. Together we worked on possible concepts for the efficient use of our available funds. Due to an intensive exchange with our local partners in Zambia we ensure the best possible coordination of project planning with all parties involved. We are highly motivated and we are looking forward to our goal of spreading a sustainable and safe source of food.

After the Journey

Mainz, August 15th 2017

The trip to Zambia to kick off of the project was a great success for all participants. The acquired organizations are currently working intensively on first tests and are dealing with the legal requirements for the implementation of the project. We have also received further support from the Assmann Association due to the positive start. We are very pleased with the new gained resources and concentrate ourselves right now to the medium and long-term planning.

On Hold

Aachen, July 1st 2017

After long periods of rain, the absence of sun days and technical problems, the installation in Zambia is unfortunately currently out of order. The facility operators asked us for a redesign of the fish tank, which is why the focus of our project team is now on researching and obtaining comparative data for the elaboration of effective adaptations of the fish tank. It must be guaranteed that our concept is fully functional in rainy seasons as well with a consistently high fishing harvest. This is essential to ensure the facility operators the monthly additional food and money deposits. To this end, we have – together with our partners in Zambia – found an enlarged solar panel and a battery with higher storage capacity in Zambia. Thus the previous absorption capacity of solar radiation as well as the storage volume of the solar energy can be increased. We are also planning to increase the pumping capacity in order to further increase the water circulation in the tank and thus the oxygen supply and water quality. By means of these measures, we hope to put the plant back into operation as soon as possible and to provide the operators with the promised fish harvest for the long term.

Update December 2017: After many intensive conversations, we are sad to announce that the Assmann Foundation for Prevention had to terminate the collaboration with the members of the Samaki project.

Promising Prospects

Lusaka/Mainz, June 15th 2017

Last week on Whitsunday was the date we have all been waiting for. After a long and intensive preparation, the Enset project team packed up their belongings and traveled to Zambia to tackle the project’s kickoff. After we had arrived in Zambia, we were warmly welcomed by our partner and networker James Zulu, who has already organized  various important meetings for our project. Starting from the University of Zambia, to the Ministry of Agriculture, to the GIZ, the German Embassy, ​​and other organizations, we have had the opportunity to present our project and throughout received a continuous positive response and willingness to support us. Moses Mwale, the director of the “Zambian Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI)”, affirmed us his readiness with the words “We welcome the idea and we would like to be part of this”. At the same time, we have also discussed critical topics such as changes in eating habits concerning the taste and preparation of the Enset plant. The personal discussions and the experiences on site have been of great value for our project and support us in the rapidly implementation of our project.






Prototype Development

Aachen, June 1st 2017

The prototype in the Eifel was smaller than the actual installation in Zambia due to lack of space. Therefore, the test results cannot be transmitted one-by-one. Based on this, the team is currently looking for a new partner in the Aachen region to build a bigger, comparable replica of the installation in Zambia. We want to test new developments, identify problems early on and optimize the fish farming. At the same time the team advises the community in Zambia with suggestions for improvement and problem solving. This is done on the one hand through a checklist, which is regularly filled out by the community with information about the events of a month, whereupon the team offers suggestions for improvement.



Ethiopian experts support our Project

LusakaMainz, May 15th 2017

Expertenteam Ensete_kleinThe award of the Students4Kids competition has given our project “For Zambians by Zambians” a proper boost. The plans will be put into practice at the beginning of June. In January, an Ensete expert team from Ankober, Ethiopia, could be visited and won as supporters of the project. Together with the head of the Ethiopian expert team Ermias Molla we will visit Lusaka on Whit Monday, where we will finalize the implementation of the project together with the responsible ministers of the Ministry of Agriculture. Also on the agenda are meetings with ZARI (Zambia Agriculture Research Institute), the German Embassy and Musika, a local organization that coordinates various farmers in Zambia. The first workshop will take place in July, after consultation with the responsible authorities. We are looking forward to gather first impressions on the ground and to include our experiences in the further development of our project.

What happened so far

Aachen, May 1st 2017

Post-1u2Since the participation in the Students4Kids competition 2016, a lot has happened in our project. Our main focus was on further developing of the Samaki fish-tank-installation  based on our prototype in the Eifel (Germany), in order to pass on the gained insights to our partners in Africa. There, 20 fish were harvested in March 2017 with an average weight of 200 g. The team hopes to use the prototype to make the fish farming more effective in the community in Zambia and hence reduce hidden hunger and malnutrition in the future.


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