Kenya’s Olympic High School bags third place in Sahara Foundation STEAMers Competition

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Students from Olympic High School, Nairobi, Kenya have emerged second runner-up 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.

Olympic High School’s contingent comprised Vincent Mutua, Braxton Lumbasi, Joshua Mwilwatsi, Larryson Muthama, Linah Mideva, and Martin Ochola. Collectively, they are known as ‘Venus Inventors.’ The students produced a remarkable ‘Ultrasonic Distance Sensor Alarm System’ that helps combat insecurity and promote energy efficiency.

The students explained that the device would help reduce home and car burglaries in Kenya. It is also designed to reduce energy consumption, which reduces living expenses. The students used components such as Arduino, jumper wires, and passive infrared motion sensor to create this device.

The group ‘Venus Inventors’ finished second runner-up behind the group from Igbobi College, Lagos, Nigeria who emerged overall winner with their ‘Silent Digital Alarming Device’ and the group from St Peters, Kampala, Uganda who emerged first runner-up with their ‘Plant Watering System’ invention.

Country Manager, Asharami Synergy, Debola Adesanya speaking at the event, commended the students for their inspiring presentations and urged them to continue exploring and stretching their creativity towards building viable solutions to socio-economic challenges in Africa.

“Asharami Synergy is proud of Olympic High for being worthy ambassadors of Kenya. Asharami Synergy remains committed to enabling transformation in Kenya and by extension, Africa through investment in the next generation of technologists, innovators, and social entrepreneurs,” he said.

Bosun Tijani, CEO & 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.