15.10.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

UNESCO Youth Mobile Workshop at the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda

Group photo during the UNESCO Youth Mobile Application development workshop at the Youth Connekt Africa summit © G_Mwaura / UNESCO

In this year’s Youth Connekt Africa Summit themed Connekting Youth for Continental Transformation, UNESCO conducted a Youth Mobile Application Development workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.

Taking place on 8 to 10 October 2018, the workshop attracted 25 youth from 6 African countries namely Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. Aiming to achieve the global goals for sustainable development through coding and mobile application development, the workshop provided the young participants the necessary technical skills and confidence to develop and promote locally relevant mobile applications that solve local issues of sustainable development, socio economic development and provide self-generated, viable employment opportunities in the mobile/ICT industry. “This is my first experience working with other nationals,” said Sangwa from Rwanda. “The facilitators and participants interacted very well which was crucial for me in learning new concepts.”

With the aim finalizing mobile applications from the UNESCO Youth Mobile repository, a total of 5 unfinished mobile applications were agreed upon by both participants and facilitators. Participants were trained on Android mobile UI/UX design, MySQL, Android Security, the use of relevant APIs in GPS, identifying user activity, mapping of facilities and users, speech to text and text to speech functionalities, data collection and analysis and AI. “I loved the group projects because we were sharing ideas and helping each other in different areas,” said Claudine Umuhota from Rwanda. “I will use the skills got to develop different android applications to solve some technical problems occurring in my society.”

Five groups of five participants were formed by which each group consisting of all present nationalities displayed a unique strength. Each participant contributed positively to their group and developed a sense of ownership and togetherness. “The few days we spent together seems like we already knew each other for more than a year. I sincerely want to say it was great privilege to network with everyone us.” Said Joel from Nigeria. “Indeed Africans we are specially unique! I hope we all keep in touch as we profound solutions to develop our continent at large.”

Despite the constraint in time, participants learned how to work well in a limited time frame within the intensive two-day mobile applications development workshop. Karen from Kenya stated “despite the pressure due to time constraint, the session was very educative and productive since I achieved what I expected”. “The session has been very amazing! The facilitators have done a great work by guiding us through the group projects,” added Hamza from Nigeria. The workshop was blended with a daily online follow up on Bit bucket. To ensure scalability and ownership, the applications were contextualized for the African Continent by African youth, aligned to the global goals for sustainable development and tailored to solve local problems in Africa. Participants expressed their appreciation for the workshop and provoked opportunities of having regular activities “I am grateful to UNESCO for such a wonderful opportunity” said Kemi from Nigeria. Shabiba from Ghana stated “I wish this kind of workshop will be organized every month”.

The mobile applications were finalized using human-centered, iterative design process to ensure inclusivity and accessibility and will be published in the google play store. Two were developed in the pure native android technology. These are Fit Girl (SDG 3 and 5), that addresses the global rise in obesity rates in both developed and developing countries. Also on risks faced by underweight people and DK Hospital Management (SDG 3), used to reduce the use of paper in hospitals by eliminating the need to carry medical cards, better tracking of a patient medical history and manage issues related to blood donors in the hospital.

Others were Hybrid mobile web based javascript applications that were converted to IOS Windows and Android applications. These are Agro Assist (SDG 1, 2 and 4), targeted at promoting educating farmers and also creating a market place for buyers and sellers of Agricultural products. It is used to create a market place by empowering local small scale farmers and large scale farmers alike to create revenue from farming, Youth Mobile Prep (SDG 4) providing aspiring Youth Mobile trainees with prep lessons as well as test questions and answers to get started before enrolling for the program, Spelling Phone (SDG 4) an interactive mobile web application that teaches children to spell, learn numbers in an easy and fun way and Vote Stat (SDG 16), a cloud based voting platform that promotes democracy in institutions and countries ensuring free and fair elections are conducted.

The activity is a result of a partnership between UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and UNESCO Headquarters, carried out within the framework of the UNESCO Korea Funds-in-Trust (KFIT) project that aims to foster human and social development in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

More about:

UNESCO Youth Mobile Initiative

The mobile application development workshop is part of the UNESCO Youth Mobile initiative. The Youth Mobile Initiative builds on the experience of many worldwide initiatives that introduce young people to computer science programming (learning-to-code) and problem solving (coding-to-learn). It also seeks to build on experiences targeting young women who are vastly underrepresented in this field.

YouthConnekt Africa Summit

Launched in Rwanda in 2012 by President P. Kagame, the YouthConnekt Africa Summit is a platform created to empower the youth across Africa, and it brings together individuals coming from a variety of different backgrounds, be them artists, entrepreneurs, political leaders, students, innovators and youth with ICT skills. The main objective of YouthConnekt Africa is to provide “youth with the skills, networks and information needed to scale their initiatives and gain meaningful employment”. The 2018 Summit emphasized the importance of creating positive socio-political and economic environments as enablers for the youth.

Korea Funds In Trust (KFIT)

Launched in 2015, the UNESCO Korea Funds In Trust (KFIT) project on ICT Transforming Education in Africa fosters human and social development in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, through the use of information and communication technology (ICT), and, in particular, mobile learning.

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