George Mwika Kayange

Management of Assistive Technology Ecosystems in Africa: The Case of South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi


George is a Doctoral Researcher with the Institute for Design Innovation. He is researching innovations and scaling of assistive technology (AT) solutions in Malawi, Kenya, and South Africa to support people with disabilities. George holds an MBA in Project Management from the University of Zambia and a Bachelor of Science in Project Management from the Institute of Development Management (IDM) in Botswana.

His PhD research builds on the work he was involved in while working as Director of Programmes at the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD). He was responsible for designing and coordinating various programmes/projects benefiting persons with disabilities in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. One of the projects that he had been implementing for over seven years was the Assistive Technology Information Mapping Project (AT-Info-Map) funded by the Google Impact Challenge. The AT-Info-Map developed a mobile app and an AT web database to map the availability of assistive technology in Southern Africa. George was also representing SAFOD on the Board of the ATscale Global Partnership for Assistive Technology.


PhD research description

The overall purpose of George's research project is to understand how assistive technology innovation ecosystems in Africa are managed and nurtured at different levels and in various forms and shapes as they contribute to the increase in AT access for people with disabilities.

Through a series of case studies namely in South Africa, Kenya, and Malawi, this research will explore how different components and approaches to AT ecosystems support – or restrict – access, inclusion, and opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

This study is inspired in part by the Multilevel Design Model of innovation ecosystems promulgated by Joore and Brezet (2015), which prescribes complex hierarchical system approaches. Therefore, the research design takes a multi-level perspective on ecosystems management, from community-level outreach innovations characterised mainly by grassroots organisations, movements, and networks, to Meso-level innovations characterised by the intermediaries, and to macro-level supply chain innovations characterised by well-established AT companies, manufacturers and suppliers.


PhD supervisors

George is currently being supervised by Professor Mikko Koria from the Institute for Design Innovation and Dr George Torrens from the School of Design and Creative Arts.

Awards, grants or scholarships received

George is the recipient of a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship for full-time studies from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC).


Interests and activities

As an international development professional and project management specialist holding several international certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI) – such as the Project Management Professional (PMP®), the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®), and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) – George enjoys mentoring college students as well as aspiring and mid-career project managers within small non-profits working especially in sub-Sahara Africa, that show potential to effect sustainable changes in society. You can find George on LinkedIn.

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