Students from Igbobi College, Lagos, Nigeria, have emerged as regional winners of the Sahara Foundation Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Program aimed at giving young African inventors a platform to develop their creativity.
The “Sahara Foundation STEAMers” Regional competition featured the top three teams that emerged from the national Demo Day competitions that held in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Sahara Foundation is the corporate responsibility vehicle of energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group.
The regional finalists presented prototype designs of their solutions targeting several sectors including home automation, agriculture, security, energy, health, and transportation. The students displayed a profound understanding of embedded systems, additive manufacturing, and the ability to use human-centred design in creating sustainable solutions to prevalent social problems around them.
The program gave 150 students access to deep-dive classroom learning and practical sessions. The classroom sessions were conducted by the program’s implementing partner, STEMCafe, a non-linear learning centre as well as mentors from Sahara Foundation Volunteer Group.
Known as ‘The Watchmen’, the winning group from Igbobi College comprised Njubigbo Onyeka, Ayo’ Mofe Moses, Ayilo John, and Maduanusi Chigozirim. The students produced a remarkable ‘Silent Digital Alarming Device’ which they named ‘The Watchman.’ The device can help combat home and commercial burglary, as well as tackle unauthorized access into designated buildings and kidnappings in the society.
The students explained that the device enhances security through detection of the crime at the time where the crime begins, and alerts authorized persons through a registered device making them aware that a crime in progress.
The device can also send a phone call to the police station registered on the device. “The device is ready for mass production, and we are confident that it would help increase security and lead to a safer community for all,” they said.
The Watchmen beat eight other groups to emerge overall winner. The team from St Peters, Kampala, Uganda emerged first runner-up with their ‘Plant Watering System’ invention, while the team from Olympic High School, Nairobi, Kenya emerged second runner-up with their ‘Distance Sensor Alarm’ invention.
Managing Director, Sahara Group, Emmanuel Magani said: ‘’The Sahara Foundation STEAMers program has again reinforced the ingenuity of Africa’s young minds and to see such array of top-quality inventions targeting key issues in Africa, developed by secondary students, validates Sahara’s commitment to investing in Africa’s next generation of inventors.”
He urged the students to stay curious, to keep exploring their creativity, to deepen their STEAM knowledge further, and to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation towards solving challenges around them.
Bosun Tijani, Founder, STEMCafe said ‘’The opportunity to expose more young people to STEM through projects that solve real life problems drives our goal of raising a new generation of changemakers across Africa.” He said the organisation’s partnership with Sahara Foundation had paved the way for taking the “desire to dream” to more young Africans.
Director, Sahara Foundation, Pearl Uzokwe commended all participants for being “worthy ambassadors of Africa” and a source of hope for a “sustainably prosperous Africa in which no one will be left behind.” She said the goal of Sahara Foundations STEAMers initiative was to identify, train, and empower the next generation of Africa’s smart technologists, creative thinkers, and confident problem solvers. “Sahara Foundation desires to produce a well-rounded army of youths with the confidence to achieve outstanding feats that will advance Africa’s socio-economic development. We are delighted with this maiden edition and look forward to much more,” she added.
Uzokwe thanked the program’s implementing partner, STEMCafe, the principals and management of all participating schools, as well as other stakeholders that contributed to the success of this year’s program. She announced that plans for the next edition are in progress.