Miss Mmoloki Makoba, a PhD Chemical Engineering student at the Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST) is a true testament that the future is indeed female. Her project was recently awarded P2 million subsequently making her the first female recipient of the Botswana Innovation Fund. We caught up with her in an interview to learn more about the phenomenal woman that is she as well as her award winning project.

Kindly tell us who you are?
I am a PhD student in BIUST as well as temporary Teacher Instructor. I obviously live in Palapye, I am a mother and a lover of life. I work hard and play hard.

Where do you come from?

Why did you choose your field of study?
I have always had a strength for challenging courses. As I grew in my profession I found it fit to lean more on problem solving studies to try and combat the socio-economic issues that Botswana is facing.

What did you wish to become when you were younger?
Exactly what I am right now 😊, but practising not researching around it, as in a process engineer.

Who are your role models in life?
Mmh! Not an easy question for me to answer, I learn a lot of things from a lot of people so many successful people inspire me in life and from across the globe.

What would you say to your 16 year old self?
You did really well, especially facing up to the challenges you had and overcoming them. You deserve a pat on the back.

Which life lesson changed you?
Not affording to have most of the things I wished for when I was younger, and not seeing my mom live her best life.

What was your winning project for Botswana Innovation Fund?
Production of electricity from an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC).

What does it mean to be a winner of Botswana Innovation Fund?
It’s a turning point for me. I don’t think my life will ever be the same again, I must work hard for the concept to prove possible in Botswana and for Batswana. I look forward to this solution working and being applied.

What are your plans with your prize money?
To build an IGCC plant and prove that it is a concept that will work for our country.

What are your life future plans?
To graduate my PhD, it’s going to get harder now that I’m going to divide the time I had & use some for this project. To have this gasification combined cycle working and being able to be scaled up, and having people working for it.

What would you advise someone who’s interested in applying for Botswana Innovation Fund?
It is possible. Read & understand what the requirements are, identify a problem that Batswana are facing and try to solve it. Also to be ready to work should they win the price, it looks like milk & honey esp that it’s money but it’s not going to be.

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