It can be argued that the greatest factor keeping the people of Zimbabwe going is hope. In a nation where an entire generation is yet to experience what it means to live in a stable economy, this hope converts itself into daily activities of problem-solving to get by.
The achievement of a group of young students at the just concluded World Summit for Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva is an optimal example of this.
WSIS 2019 was a 4-day summit on information, communication and in broad terms the information society hosted by the International Telecommunications HQ. The summit included a hackathon themed “Hacking Solutions for Lifelong Learning and Livelihoods” among other activities.
This competition was aimed at coming up with creative solutions for one of the world’s largest developmental issues, achieving universal education. The Zimbabwean team comprising of Isaac Gadzimbe (University of Zimbabwe), Kudakwashe Paradzayi (Harare Institute of Technology) and Charmaine Kumbirayi (National University of Sciences and Technology) won the award for the ‘Most Creative Idea’ in a challenge against 20 other countries from across the world.
The team created a platform that improves the learning experience in overcrowded schools suffering from teacher shortages. The platform enhances the learning experience by allowing students to teach each other interactively, as opposed to relying entirely on a teacher. On the platform, students are able to create their own content, for example questions, which can then be answered and discussed with their peers via the same medium.
The intended result is that in overcrowded classes, students are still able to access additional learning materials as an alternative to the gap created by the teacher’s inability to give special attention to every learner.
Zimbabwe has been under diplomatic and financial sanctions for over a decade, coupled with economic collapse, the nation has been largely isolated from the rest of the world for the better part of the era of technological transformation that is underway globally.
The fact that these resilient students, sponsored by the nation’s Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ), were able to make a contribution worthy of commendation on a global stage is a true testament to the capabilities of the determined African spirit.
The group were celebrated by the country’s Minister of ICT Kazembe Kazembe, who tweeted, “Congratulations to our young techpreneurs participating in the Hackathon for winning the prestigious award for the Most Creative Application Idea”