Inspiring, Mentoring and Supporting African Youth Makers: A Recap of 2015

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For Immediate Release
Contact Elli Suzuki
+1 (301) 281-5408
info@gmin.org

Girls at St. Elizabeth Girls Academy InLab learn about e-waste and 3D Printers

Girls at St. Elizabeth Girls Academy InLab learn about 3D Printers made with e-waste

CAMBRIDGE, MA (December 31, 2015) – Global Minimum Inc. (GMin) faced a major headwind going into 2015. The Ebola crisis left an estimated two million children in Sierra Leone out of school for more than half a year. In the face of this large-scale epidemic, GMin responded to the Ebola crisis with a custom designed program for youth – the Hack at Home Design Challenge Series. In Kenya, our focus was to redesign the national Innovation Challenges (InChallenge) and Innovation Labs (InLab) programs.

In Sierra Leone, the Hack at Home Design Challenge Series inspired young people to invent ideas and products for challenges they faced in their communities. We engaged youth on virtual platforms like Facebook and Whatsapp and gave them continuous mentorship as they participated in each challenge. By launching Hack at Home, we prompted the young population in Sierra Leone to become part of the solution to challenges faced by the country. GMin engaged nearly 900 youth across Sierra Leone and many implemented their ideas from their homes. We assisted 42 students who develop 10 prototypes that ranged from a mini-hydro electric plant to a waste utility generator. Once schools reopened, a significant number of those students applied to the 2015 InChallenge Program, which received over 150 student project proposals.

In Kenya, the 2015 InChallenge Program inspired 160 youth to propose bold ideas that solved local community problems. In a bold initiative to double our contact hours with students and navigate through their tight academic schedules, we redesigned the InChallenge program this year from a yearlong program to a three-week intensive camp, strictly focusing on students who have had no prior experience to hands-on problem-solving in their local communities. We saw 26 students develop prototypes that ranged from a piezoelectric charger to solar panel integrated roofing sheets. In addition to our InChallenge Program, we launched our first InLab Program in Kenya at St. Elizabeth Girls Academy in Nairobi, which exposed 280 students from St. Elizabeth and surrounding schools in Nairobi to a user-centered design curriculum and hands-on STEAM workshops.

Our students continue to inspire us and their peers to create a culture of innovation in their communities. A team of young innovators from Sierra Leone – Oswald Dundas, Vandy Amos Saati and Jasonta Coker – were invited to showcase their inventions at UNICEF’s Global Innovations for Children and Youth Summit in Helsinki in November 2015. Another team of young women innovators from Kenya – Ann Karime, Sharon Teresa and Emmah Karanja – were invited to showcase their inventions at MIT’s EurekaFest in Boston and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. Enjoy some of our students’ inspiring stories in 2015.

Our partnership with other youth institutions continue to grow, including placement of our students to top tertiary and pre-university programs: African Leadership Academy (1 student admitted), African Leadership Unleashed (2 students admitted and 2 placed on the waiting list), the United World College (1 student), and the Three Dot Dash’s Global Teen Leaders Program (1 student). For the first time in the GMin’s history, we fundraised over USD 1 million from the Lemelson Foundation, Segal Family Foundation, IDIN, Autodesk, EdTech Europe Foundation, Aall Foundation, and many other individual donors who believe in our mission. We also renewed our membership to the Clinton Global Initiative with our Commitment to Action and won the Rockefeller Foundation’s Storytelling Challenge out of 200 applicants following our success in 2013 when we won the Next Century Innovators Award. The financial, capacity, and placement support from our partners allow us to ignite the interest in creative problem solving amongst Sierra Leonean and Kenyan youth.

Our mission at GMin remains clearer to us more than ever. The youth who participate in our programs are emerging as leaders in their communities, forming peer networks to mentor each other and most importantly having fun while learning. We would like to thank our partners, volunteers, and supporters in 2015 who have collaborated with us to provide a lasting impact on our youth.

 

elliInspiring, Mentoring and Supporting African Youth Makers: A Recap of 2015

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