The Kids Innovation Hub, an initiative of The Destiny Trust, a child well-being foundation, has held the 2023 edition of its Kids Innovation Challenge, a competition designed to reward young innovators in Nigeria.
Attended by many tech enthusiasts, the event was held on September 2 at Radisson Blu, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The competition offered young Nigerian innovators an opportunity to compete with one another on technology-based ideas and solutions, expected to address critical social challenges being faced by children all around the world.
THE CO-FOUNDER’S OPENING REMARKS
In his opening remarks, Abimbola Ojenike, the co-founder of The Destiny Trust, said the primary focus of the organisation had always been about education, empowerment and care for homeless children, and other categories of people that are considered to be vulnerable.
“We currently live in a world where technology has changed everything and we believe that the ability to access information and to use that information well and to use that also for tangible empowerment is something that is so critical,” Ojenike said.
“For us, we know that to be able to empower a new generation of people and to break the hold of trans-generational poverty, it is literally impossible to do that and then take digital skills away from children.
“If you are saying a certain generation was held back, then for us to be able to push forward a new generation and empower them to be able to take advantage of the all opportunities they need to make their lives better, we need to understand that we have to empower them with technology, and that is why this is important to us.”
Ojenike further said that competitions like the Kids Innovation Challenge would constantly bring out the genius in children across the country.
“As an organisation, we started a pan-Nigeria kind of competition where we invited kids from everywhere in the country to come forward with ideas,” Ojenike said.
‘THE KIDS HAVE THE ANSWERS’
“Through the initiative, we were able to identify critical areas that need innovative attention, such as education, access to health care for children, malnutrition and food insecurity.
“We are very impressed by what the kids have come forward with. This again tells us that kids have answers to most of the problems we have today and it is just for us to give these kids an opportunity to flourish with their talents.
“What we are doing here today is very important. We are celebrating the genius in every child. And for us, it also one of the ways we use in signifying our interest and commitment to improving digital literacy in our country.”
Ojenike recalled that the federal government had recently been harping on its goal of achieving a 95 per cent digital literacy by the year 2030. We believe this is practically impossible if we don’t have programmes that deliberately include the underserved population. This is because that particular part of the country’s population constitute the majority of our people. And that’s the significance of what we do.
“We are looking out for that person who has been left behind; we are looking out for that person who has not been able to touch the computer at all; the person who has never had access to the internet or anything at all. Those are the people that we are working with.
“We are deliberate about them; we believe that the future is about them as well. And because they are in the majority, we believe we would have to go an extra mile in making them have access to these things.
“There are several ways of doing it. We, however, believe the only way to do it is the excellent way.”
AN ASPIRING ‘YAHOO BOY’ BUILDS A DRONE
Citing an example of the influence of the initiative in the thinking and decision-making of a child who once benefitted from the programme, he said: “Today, and at this gathering, I have a child who once told us in class that when he grows up, he would become a ‘Yahoo Boy’. The same child went on to say that becoming a Yahoo Boy would be more profitable than going to school.
“Last week, that child built a drone all by himself after attending classes with us. He did not even tell me about it. That is exactly what we stand to achieve when we introduce these kids to better ways of using technological tools. We are committed to continuing to show them that technology is not a tool for criminality, but one that can be used to improve the society and solve world problems.”
A panel of judges, comprising seasoned and leading tech experts in the country were present at the competition to assess and score participants based on their performance.
On the panel were Oluwatosin Olaseinde, the founder of Money Africa, a platform that enhances and teaches financial literacy; Tayo Bamiduro, the co-founder of Max.ng, a leading tech mobility company; and Kunle Erinle, the founder of Skillpaddy, a learning and job placement platform.
Other members of the panel are Justina Oha, the founder of Digital Equity Africa, a leading consultancy that provides specialised digital economic designs and consulting solutions; Sean Burrowes, the co-founder of Ingressive for Good, a non-profit organisation that focuses on poverty alleviation by providing educational and technological resources to young Africans; and Princess Edo-Osagie, Head Product Leadership and Agile Governance, the Interswitch Group.
SEVEN EXCEPTIONAL CONTESTING GROUPS
The competition saw a group of seven finalists compete for cash prizes, brand new laptops, an opportunity to attend tech-skills development courses and a one-year mentoring scheme aimed at supporting and developing their innovation.
The first team to showcase its talents was the Baby-watch team, a group of teenagers who had developed an innovative infant monitoring device nursing mothers can use to monitor their babies’ activities and well-being remotely.
The Baby-watch team was closely followed by Lafiya App team, a group of teenage tech innovators who had developed a micro-insurance platform that could aid affordable healthcare for children from low-Income earning homes.
The third team to display its innovation was the Medset App team. The team had developed a tele-medicine platform devised to bridge the gap between doctors and patients, through a simple-to-use application for professional and accurate medical advice, prescriptions and diagnosis.
A fourth group, the Normastics team, displayed a platform that not only connects farmers and their crops with willing buyers, but also facilitates transportation and other logistics.
A fifth team, known as the Cradlecare Africa, was also subsequently afforded the opportunity of displaying a records system designed to deal with the handling of medical records of children from age zero to 17 in Nigeria.
A sixth team known as the GTC, came up after Cradlecare Africa to display a platform that would enable various machines gather food in form of leftovers from across the country and make compost out of them for soil improvement. The team also called itself a waste-to-energy platform.
Learnovation was the last team to display its innovation at the competition. The group showcased a platform that had been designed to allow children in rural settings have access to quality primary education.
GTC, THE WINNING TEAM
At the end of the competition, the GTC team, led by Oluyemi Sopade, was declared winner of the Kids Innovation Challenge 2023.
The winning team went home with a prize money of of N200,000, a brand new HP laptop and a winner’s plaque. In addition, the team is also to enjoy a one-year mentoring scheme aimed at supporting and developing its innovation.
The Cradlecare team, led by Tomilola Abayomi, came second and went home with a prize money of N150,000, a laptop and a plaque.
The third place prize went to the Normastics team led by Ibrahim Mohammed. The team went home with a prize money of N100,000, a brand new HP laptop and a plaque.
To select the winners, the panel of judges considered originality of the ideas, effectiveness of the innovative ideas and relevance to social challenges, market potentials, scalability and feasibility, demonstrated technical capacity, and presentation and communication.
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