On Saturday, August 21, 2021, a cohort of 120 children selected from children charity homes, public schools and low-income private schools in Lagos and Oyo State completed a bootcamp in programming and designs as a part of a Kids Innovation Programme that opens a pathway into advanced learning opportunities in technology and digital arts for underrepresented children.
As the bootcamp wound down, children were engaged in a 72-hour hackathon and tasked to work collaboratively to develop technology solutions for addressing Nigeria’s security and health challenges, including kidnapping.
This culminated in a demo event, which held on August 21, 2021 at Flourish Hall School, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos. Children presented prototypes and computer programmes being built. These include a mobile app to aid the rescue of kidnap victims by providing geolocation data to security operatives and relatives, a micro health insurance web service to crowdsource health insurance for the poor and a telemedicine application to provide quick access to healthcare and reduce burdens on Nigeria’s primary health centres.
A team of children 10-13 years also exhibited the prototype of a security robot called “Idangari” which means “the all-seeing”. Explaining the motivation for building the robot, the children expressed worries about the spate of banditry and invasion of schools in various parts of the country. They want to stop it with Idangari, a robot that will alert police, record happenings at the crime scene in real-time and raise alarm to neighbours.
The bootcamp also featured several professional and life skills mentoring sessions with some of the leading professionals in Nigeria’s technology and designs ecosystem, including Princess Edo-Osagie, Head, Enterprise Agile, Interswitch Group; Yinka Adewale, Co-founder/CEO, Kudi; Khadija Abu, Head of Product, Paystack; Tosin Olaseinde, Founder, Money Africa; Dara Oladapo, Microsoft MVP; Blessing Abeng, Co-founder, I4G; and Wale Abba of Indicina.
The Bootcamp was hosted under a partnership between The Destiny Trust, Childcare and Education Charity and Ingressive For Good, a technology non-profit focussed on equipping young Africans in need with tech skills to help them impact and contribute to the development of Africa, socially and economically.
Speaking on the collaboration, I4G Co-founder Blessing Abeng said: “Tech skills have the power to change the world. While our focus is on youth, we can’t shake off the fact that every youth was once a child. We want to encourage more kids to take on STEM fields. This partnership is for the next generation of African youth in tech.”
The Destiny Trust provides education, care and empowerment to children within vulnerable groups. The flagship of the Trust’s empowerment programme is the Kids Innovation Hub, an initiative that equips low-income children with technology and arts skills.
At least 445 children have been introduced to tech between 2018 and 2021. Children participate in a variety of STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) learning activities including coding, robotics, design, illustration, animation and other digital arts.
“The 2021 Kids STEAM Bootcamp highlights the commitment of the The Destiny Trust and Ingressive For Good in ensuring the inclusion of Africa’s underrepresented children in the economy of the technology space,” said Seun Abimbola, Destiny Trust’s Education Lead. “Our work of educating and empowering underrepresented children is incomplete if we don’t prepare them to thrive in the new world driven by technology.”
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