Emmanuel Cosmas Msoka On His COVID-19 Innovation And Advice For Young Changemakers
Updated: Aug 27
The UNICEF ambassador and founder of The Changemaker's Foundation discusses his work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and advice for young people.
To begin, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your advocacy?
My name's Emmanuel Cosmas Msoka. I'm a youth innovator, who is helping to advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through science, technology, and business-led initiatives. One of my inventions, which brought recognition from both the United Nations and UNICEF, was a hand-washing machine that I distributed across Northern Tanzania during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through my work with UNICEF - and through The Changemakers Foundation, an organization I founded - I've led impactful STEM programs, championed sustainability, and initiated campaigns against sexual harassment, all with the goal of creating diverse, positive change.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you went about distributing your hand-washing machine to people in remote areas - and looking ahead, are there any other inventions on the horizon?
The distribution process for the hand-washing machines across Northern Tanzania was a collaborative effort involving local communities and volunteers. I aimed to ensure that the machines reached areas with limited access to hygiene facilities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, I envision to focus on other inventions to expand my reach and impact, potentially even scaling my initiatives to other regions and countries.
What was the inspiration behind your book, “Be The Change,” and how did the creative process compare to that of your technological work?
The inspiration behind my book, "Be The Change," stemmed from my belief that positive change begins with individuals: I want to inspire and empower young people to take action and make a difference in their communities and the larger world, as well. The creative process for the book was different from my tech work because it allowed me to express my thoughts and experiences in a more personal and reflective manner.
In an article penned for Voices for Youth, you spoke candidly about the setbacks that you’ve encountered through your work. Drawing from your own experience, what advice would you give to other young changemakers suffering from lack of motivation?
From my challenging experiences, I've experienced firsthand how motivation can waver, especially when faced with challenges. My advice to other young changemakers would be to stay connected to your passion and purpose. Always remember why you started your journey, and focus on the positive impact you can create. It's also vital to surround yourself with a supportive network of like-minded individuals, seek mentorship when you need it, and break down your goals into small, achievable steps. Perhaps most importantly, don't be afraid to take breaks and practice self-care when you feel like it – it's important to recharge.
Remember why you started your journey, and focus on the positive impact you can create.
Finally, how can those reading this interview support your work?
Outside support is really important for me in pursuing my goals. For those interested in learning more, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Because it's only together that we can help ensure a more sustainable and equitable future for all.