Inspire & Empower Centre

His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Prince Andrew is interested to support this initiative since 2016.

Please kindly search for Hilonga video or photos and some other online links on what we have achieved so far.

HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew’s Inspire and Empower Enterprise Training Center in Africa


This very brief proposal demonstrates Dr. Askwar Hilonga’s passion to take the Inspirations and Empowerment he got from HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew – an inspiration that began with Hilonga winning the first Pitch@Palace Africa in London on 2nd Dec 2015 and Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (APEI) sponsored by The Royal Academy of Engineering. During his second visit in London (8th Sept 2016), The Duke of York challenged Hilonga to specify what young Africans actually need! The conversation landed on a new horizon – The Duke of York proposed the establishment of Inspire & Empower Centres across Africa – far beyond Hilonga’s imagination! The concept is highly supported by Hilonga’s partners and sponsors, particularly the APEI Head Judge Mr. Malcom Brinded.


On the other hand, Dr. Hilonga’s Nanofilter® project has recently received GBP 350,000 from the UK Gov. (DFID/HDIF) for “Adoption of Low-cost sustainable water filters (Nanofilter®) for purifying drinking water at point of use (POU) for underserved community in Arusha Region” (May 2016 – April 2019).

Along with Hilonga’s inspirational success story, the Nanofilter® project has attracted thousands of young Africans. Many of them are university graduates and hundreds of foreigners willing to volunteer for at least 3 – 6 months. Unfortunately, there is no facility that can host those aspirants. Thus, The Duke of York’s  idea of Inspire & Empower Centres has come at the time of need. * The Centres can be run by the graduates of APEI and Pitch@Palace in various African countries. If the pilot centre in Tanzania is successful, at his own discretion, The Duke of York may decide to scale-up the initiative to other African countries.

Below are the highlights in summary form:

  1. Current challenges that young Africans are facing:
  2. Unemployment – Annualy 800,000 Tanzanian youth hunt for jobs while there are ~ 60,000 new jobs
  3. Demoralization – loss of hope
  4. Fewer hands-on training and exposure/networks on innovative ideas and entrepreneurship
  5. Nowhere to start
  • Heart-breaking reality:
  • Many African leaders are already “overwhelmed with many crises” in their countries – it is hard for them to bear the “extra burden” of youth challenges – which demand un-convertional approach
  • A beacon of hope:
  • Passionate young Africans, like Dr. Hilonga, who have received enormous capacity building from Pitch@Palace and The Royal Academy of Engineering; and Ruth Elineema Lukwaro (Hilonga’s wife) who attended President Obama’s leadership training in USA called Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) are willing and able to give back to their communities by “transmitting the inspirations and empowerment” from London/USA to Africa.
  • A pilot centre in Tanzania
  • Dr. Hilonga’s inspirational success stories have excited many people around the world, particularly the young people
  • Under the spirit of “hit the iron while it is hot”, the proposed centre will enable Hilonga and Ruth to mentor more young Africans.
  • APEI Alumni and other interested mentors from around the wold will be involved – online or on-site
  • OBJECTIVES of the Centres
  • To inspire young Africans, particularly those who recently graduated and are facing difficulties to get employment or self-employment
  • To empower the participants – develop entrepreneurial skills/be self-employed/CREATE JOBS.
  • Curriculum
  • Will be based on The Royal Academy of Engineering curriculum for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (developed by The Source) and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) – President Obama’s program
  • It will be hands-on: 25% Classroom training, 25% Practical, 50% Internship placement in Gongali Model Co.Ltd and to other established companies
  • Expected Results/IMPACT
  • 100 participants will graduate after every 6 months. High turn-over rate is anticipated.
  • At least 10% will be employed by Gongali Model. Others should be employable by other companies or they should be able to establish their own businesses and create jobs for themselves and others.
  • Each of the 100 students will be involved in Nanofilter business – for practical/ field study
  • 100 Nanofilter Water Kiosks and local entrepreneurs (under the grant by UK Gov.DFID/HDIF) will get closer supervision
  • This will leverage the current funding from the UK Gov.DFID/HDIF for Nanofilter Water Stations
  • The Nanofilter brand will attract attention and visibility (for being very socially responsible)
  • Sustainability
  • The centre will not demand continuous support from The Duke of York  – it is a one-time grant
  • The participants will earn their livelihood through the commission and bonus that comes from the Nanofilter® business that they will be supervising during their practical/field study.
  • The fee for joining the program will be affordable for every student (we don’t aim for super profit BUT just to cover the centre’s operations costs). The arrangement will be made for soft loan – that means graduates should pay interest-free loan after they get employment. Eg. They may pay training fee in the period of 2 -3 years after they get employment. This approach will be evaluated with time depending on the economic condition of the applicants. We believe some parents are able to pay for their children; and some companies may also pay for their interns, etc.


This calls for a designer/architect, according to the needs that are identified below:

  1. 100 Dormitory Rooms for students/Hostel; self-contained rooms
  2. Rooms size: 12 m² or 129.17 ft²
  3. Should be self-contained; with toilet/bath-room
  4. One dormitory for ladies and the other for gentlemen – with 50 rooms each
  • 4 Seminar/Class Rooms/workshops
  • Each classroom Size: 140 m² or 1,506.95 ft²
  • Conference/Meeting Hall/ Dinning Hall (all will be done in the same building)
  • Should be able to accommodate at least 300 people (including special events)
  • Preferably at the centre of all buildings (should be surrounded by other buildings)
  • Offices
  • One office for the Director (and assistant); Size 25 m²
  • Another general office for all staff: Size 70 m²
  • Training facilities
  • 50 Motorbicycles for going to the field
  • 100 Tables and chairs
  • 100 Beds and some few items in the room (small table, etc)
  • Other small accessories (stationaries, etc) and any unforeseen facility

While the real costs will be established after the architectural drawings are obtained, we anticipate the cost for this pilot centre will not exceed GBP 300,000.


  1. The construction land is already bought by Dr. Hilonga at USD 23,000 (consider the attached PPT)
  2. The funds may be released directly to Gongali Model Bank Account after satisfying all necessary legal procedures (grant contract, MOU, etc) or through DFID/HDIF. We are open-minded
  3. The construction can be done under the supervision of Gongali Model, as we did also for the USADF Project in Hilonga’s hometown in 2014 (consider the attached photo of Gongali office)
  4. The Duke of York and other interested parties like RAEng/APEI will receive quarterly progress reports from the activities of the centre
  5. The success story of this centre will be widerly shared to inspire more young people around the world. We will utilize our networks and all communication media to “spread the word”
  6. The UK Ambassador in Tanzania and other foreign and local entities, including the Tanzanian government, will be invited during the opening ceremony. It will be so AMAZING if The Duke of York himself will come to Tanzania to inaugurate the project, as the Guest of Honor. This will attract the global attention for this “first-of-its-kind project”.


The issue of unemployment among University graduates has been a major challenge in Tanzania. The education system creates a seed of mindset to Students of; “get education with good grades, and then get employment.” In a recently published paper 2016 – “Higher Education System and Jobless Graduates in Tanzania” Lyata Ndyali found that there is a mismatch between teaching in the institutions of learning and the needs of the labour market. “Most youth have no skills employable. Skills requirement in the labour market not compatible with skills supply as a result, we have a mismatch of skills. Global labour market competitiveness: increases use of advanced technology and ICT which replaces labour…….Others are altitude of youth towards work; insufficient business and entrepreneurship development services. Promote the goal of decent and productive employment for youth as a national priority; promote access to employment opportunities and resources by the vulnerable and marginalised population -youth, women and people with disability.”

According to report released by the World Bank in 2013 (Jacques Moriesset), “The size of Tanzania’s youth, which almost doubled from 4.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2010, is expected to swell to 11 million by 2020 and 15 million by 2030”. Since Tanzania is aspiring to build an industrial economy (“uchumi wa viwanda”), the practical solution being promoted by Dr.Hilonga and supported by HRH and other sponsors deserve undivided attention. This will stir young graduates to embark on small industries that later on can be vehicles for industrialization. HRH Centre will inspire and empower the youths to refrain from being mere job seekers; they should create innovative business for job creation for themselves and for others.


There are many testimonials on how youth around the world are getting excited (and engaged) by Hilonga’s inspirational success story. Here are selected examples (one local and the other from Paris):

  1. Gadiel: From Tanga, Tanzania

I am Stanley Gadiel, from Tanga. 

First, I would love to congratulate you and your family for such Invention and the Book. I have read the book and the truth is that!!! the book is of utmost important at this era in Tanzania and Africa at large and that’s say it has to reach great number as possible using what I can call ”Gongali Model Mobile Class-GMC”. 

Thank you for the ”Inspiration”. 

Why I think I might join your team? It is because I applied for the post of field supervisor-Sales and Marketing but I again I would love to share with you the Strategic plan on how to implement ”Gongali Model Mobile Class”-Waiting for your Approval to Prepare one.

Thank you once again.

  • Anaïs Auvray: From Paris

Dear Askwar, 

Hujambo! Habari gani?:) 

My name is Anaïs, French by birth, African at heart. 🙂 At the moment, I am living in Paris and I am currently looking for a job but I plan to move to London by the end of September to find a job there. 

I was at the Convergences World Forum today and had the chance to first, attend the same conference as you (“Zero poverty question, How to eradicate poverty in Africa by 2030?), listen to your inspiring intervention and get your business card and second, to finally attend your presentation as I was curious to know a little bit more about your project. I give myself permission to contact you for the following reason. I don’t know if it is a coincidence or dumb luck but a few days ago I decided to create a blog to raise awareness about the problem of youth unemployment in Africa and how to tackle it. 

Basically, my point is to give an overview of youth unemployment on the continent, country by country as well as the main reasons for but also and more importantly to show that there are different ways to tackle it and that Africa is a continent of opportunities with a dominant young population in need of adequate support and tools to seize them (if not already you did). Therefore, I also want to give examples of and promote 1) any program erected in African countries that aims at helping youth to have a better access to education/job and/or fulfill their ambitions (whether it is to support them in creating a new business, receiving different kinds of professional training to acquire the skills required for available employment opportunities, etc), 2) any project/startup undertook/set up by African youth themselves and that aims at supporting their community and ensuring sustainable development in their country – broadly speaking. 

………….I was wondering if you would be keen to participate and if I could contact you in a few weeks (or months depending of my efficiency! :D) to send you a few questions or, depending of where you are, arrange a Skype meeting? 

Ahsante sana!  Kind regards,

Anaïs Auvray

MORE TESTIMONIALS ARE AVAILABLE ON Hilonga’s email, twitter, and Facebook:; Note the 1,537 friends – mostly Young Africans


GONGALI MODEL – Brief History

Gongali Model Co. Ltd, is registered (Reg.N. 108134) by the Tanzanian Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) and licensed to manufacture water filters (N. B 1864588).

Mission Statement: To inspire Africans, particularly young professionals and university students, to develop innovative and sustainably successful business ventures and initiatives that empower their communities.

Vision statement: To be a MODEL university spin-out in Africa that effectively utilizes ACADEMIA FOR SOCIETY AND INDUSTRY providing a viable scalable business as a leading national social enterprise.

Need Assessment

70% of Tanzanians are struggling with the lack of clean and safe drinking water (WHO 2012 Report). This has led to prevalence of water-borne diseases (Figure 2) which lead to poor health, unhappy families, and untimely deaths, particularly for children under 5 years. Even to relatively wealthier households, drinking water is NOT obtained conveniently. In all cases, mothers are the mostly affected group since (beside their daily household commitments) they have to boil drinking water and/or take care of sick family members under limited medical intervention. Many children fail to attend school regularly due to preventable water-borne diseases. This challenge has been considered in the Millennium Development Goals (UN 2012 Report), which aim to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015 (last year!).

Thus, the drivers behind our business model are a mixture of social need, commercial feasibility, and technical capacity. Our unique selling point is that we have developed a COMPLETE SOLUTION for the drinking water challenge and made it a convenient, accessible, affordable, sustainable and lasting solution to all categories of our customers, including those who may not afford to purchase our filter.


Our competitors are other filters in the market: Ceramic Filters, Slow-sand Filters, Hydraid, and Imported Membrane Filters, as demonstrated in Figure 3 below. Above all, our big competitor is “tap water”. Some people believe that tap water is healthy but they don’t know/believe/admit that it is also the source of waterborne diseases.

Though the initial price of our filter is higher compared to our competitors, it is of superior quality, as summarized in Table 1 below. It also requires low-cost maintenance and we reach all of our customers through our innovative business model.


My early adopters are:

  • Customers with some knowledge on effect of contaminated water, particularly those who suffered/suffering (or take care of someone sick) from waterborne disease and/or heavy fluoride,
  • Local Entrepreneurs: Men selling tap-water and Women selling food,
  • NGOs promoting hygiene and sanitation and government subsidy for the poor households.

The Gongali Model Co.Ltd team, partnerships and connections

Gongali Model Co.Ltd is 100% owned by native Tanzanians; has 90 employees

Figure 4: Gongali Model Team led by Hilonga’s wife, Ruth (a lady in black suit)

Global Strategic Partners/ Current alliances/ Grants

The Company has developed the business in the initial phase through finding strategic global partners; currently we are working with:

  1. UK Gov. DFID/Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF)
  2. The Royal Academy of Engineering, UK/Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (APEI)
  3. Pitch@Palace Africa – London
  4. United States Africa Development Foundation (USADF)
  5. GlobalGiving (USA/UK)
  6. E3Empower, USA
  7. NM-AIST, Tanzania
  8. Hanyang University, South Korea
  9. Purdue University, USA
  10. Global Sustainable Partnership (GSP), USA
  11. The Bridge, South Korea

Dr. Askwar Hilonga’s Brief Profile:

Askwar Hilonga is a MODEL to University students and young professionals. He is the winner of several awards including The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, Pitch@Palace-UK, and The National Health Innovation Award by NIMR through the President of Tanzania.

After graduating Ph.D, Hilonga is asking himself an ethical question: “what does my Ph.D mean to my community in Tanzania”? As part of the answer, he established a company called Gongali Model Co.Ltd ( for innovative activities to empower and IMPACT people’s lives. Hilonga develops products that solve real life challenges and designs business models that make his innovation affordable even to the neediest in the community, as demonstrated through his partnership with various local and international partners. Volunteering University students and Local Entrepreneurs are his core sales team – creating huge IMPACT and a network of innovators/community leaders.

Hilonga is also a Senior Lecturer at NM-AIST; this gives direct access to empower university students. For example, he mentored four students who then won business competition at NM-AIST (April 2014) then went to USA. Hilonga graduated Ph.D (Chem.Engineering) from South Korea with outstanding performance-GOLD MEDAL. He also did MPH in Korea. He has published 41 articles in reputable Journals in nanotechnology.