- Nchofon Tagha, Open Dreams Scholar
Tech Team 2K19 @ 7 Academy
Knowledge can be acquired from just anywhere and at any time in any given situation. But all the knowledge acquired will sum up to nothing, if it is not put to use to solve a problem or to improve on a situation. Every day, the youth of Cameroon are exposed more and more to the science of information and technology. Consequently, they are developing applications, building robots, simulating industrial systems and doing several other amazing stuff. Despite all these, the first thing that comes to mind when the name of my country is mentioned is the prevailing socio-political crises. After that comes a catalogue of issues faced by this blessed country; Leadership, Health and Educational facilities, Employment, Urbanization, Waste management etc.
This year’s summer break was different from the others. I led a team of 6 passionate and talented youths as we brainstormed over the problems faced by our fatherland. We then took a design thinking course aimed at giving us the required tools to ideate, conceive and implement our tech solutions to the later problems, through prototyping. An initiative sponsored by a brilliant, patriotic, young lady; Miss Jecolia Longtchi, a Hardware/Sensor Engineer at Google, who is a mentor assigned to me by Open Dreams.
I am a robotics student and just completed the 3rd year of studies. A few weeks ago, I was assigned this leadership role; to choose and manage the team. It was a little daunting at first but with lessons drawn from past leadership failures, encouragements from Mikah Edwin, and the determination I had in me, it turned out successful. The first phase of the team work came. In the mizzle, cold and dull weather, we all hit the road that morning. The traffic and weather could not stop the enthusiasm in us for we could not wait to reunite and meet new faces. It was a great reunion. We reintroduced ourselves. It was a lovely atmosphere at 7 academy, fill with prepared minds. As we created the bonds, we settled down and got to Work.
From the seemingly infinite list of challenges faced by Cameroon, we filtered out ten, and by votes we deliberated on the top three. After understanding their definitions, cause, catalyzing factors and manifestations, we brought out possible tech remedies. We went a little deeper to see how these tech solutions could be realized. This lasted for 5 hours sandwiched with a refreshing break. Of cause, we had to prevent our bodies from going into hypoglycemia. After the brainstorming session came the Design Thinking class. We were introduced to the paradigms. The class was just so interesting and active that we just could not tell how the time ran out. Brainstorming over the issues as a team was like unveiling a Christmas gift box with family. As we opened the first box, we found a box, which had a box and so on.
With all the new things we learned, new people we met, new bonds we made, new experiences we had and the new stories we listened to and told, every one of us retired home very satisfied, having most of our expectations met. Just like torque and speed, we have team work and independent work. Not all your ideas will be adopted but those that will be espoused by the team will be of greater strength. As we look forward to other brainstorming sessions and design thinking lessons that will usher us into actually prototyping our ideas, there is just one thing we can say; It is fun studying to solve a real life problem.
The stories from Matt-Klaus Mushi, Mambo Joy, Wilfred Njenui, Ntokungwia Zidane, Nguefack Uriel and I could be summarized in this one sentence; the event helped us learn, expand our ideas and see things from the perspectives of others while solving problems. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering. He is dedicated towards exposing the kids of his community to the technological world. He plays a vital role at tech 4 kids in Buea, where he gives kids the opportunity to lay hands on tech resources and bring out amazing stuffs from them. Joy pursues Computer Networking, Zidane and Wilfred just had their A level results with great performances, while Uriel and I pursue the field of Robotics. Joy, Wilfred and I are dedicated to equalizing access to education and we do this through volunteering at Open Dreams. I hope to go a long way to improve healthcare via the sound exploitation of the rich technological resources of the world.