Over the last three days, children from 10 schools in Kampala were able to create various exciting and innovative robotics projects in the fields of programming, mechanics and electronics.
This was part of a 3-day Juniors Robotics camp organized by MTN Uganda in partnership with FundiBots, a Ugandan based organization that focuses on robotics training in schools aiming to change that mind-set. The camp aimed at equipping juniors aged between 9-12 years with skills that can enable them solve real-world problems through digital design.
The event dubbed the ‘MTN Juniors’ Robotics Camp’ brought together 50 children from 10 schools in Kampala with each school being represented by five children. The training commenced on Friday the 11th of September 2015.
While the camp was intended to be just introductory, covering the basics of robotics under three aspects, Electronics, Programming and Mechanics, participating children were able develop functional projects despite the very limited time available.
“What surprised me most is that even though we had limited time, pupils were able to create more than we taught,” said FundiBots’ Solomon King Benge, who was also the camp’s main facilitator. “We taught them to use mortars but some went ahead and have made some moving cars.”
He added; “What we’ve done is set them off on a journey that challenges them, their schools and parents to create better learning opportunities. For the children, it is the beginning of changing how they see the world, and the solutions that they can create for the problems around them.”
According to Ms. Mapula Bodibe, MTN Uganda’s Chief Marketing Officer, the goal of the camp was to introduce and teach the children, digital skills used in the building of robots from a more practical, fun and open environment and in the process, expose them to new ways of thinking.
“MTN is proud to partner with Fundi Bots, which is a pioneer provider of robotics design training in Ugandan schools. Our intention is to create and inspire a new generation of Ugandan children to be the future problem solvers, innovators and change makers,” Ms. Bodibe said.
“We hope the children will leave the program with a new love and passion for design facilitated by innovations in the digital space. We also want them to know that anyone, regardless of age, gender or background can use digital platforms in a creative and innovative ways,” she added.
“During the construction of the robot, they learn electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer programming, biology and soft skills like leadership, teamwork and project management. Such will help them in future, regardless of their eventual careers,” concluded Ms Bodibe.
Susan Kayemba, MTN Uganda’s Senior Manager for Retention and Social Media said that, “By guiding students through problem identification, brainstorming, collaboration, construction, programming, final deployment and system feedback, we will show them how life’s challenges can be solved using digital and technological tools.”
“We were also overwhelmingly encouraged by the feedback we received from some parents, especially those whose children did not participate this time, asking when we’ll organize the next camp so they can also send their children participate,” Kayemba added.
The closing ceremony was also attended by Florence Muhumuza, KCCA’s Director of Educational Services, who thanked MTN for its commitment to supporting ICT education in schools.
“We recognize the various projects that MTN is doing in our schools, including the MTN Internet Bus which goes and spends time at different schools from time to time. Some of these initiatives may look small but they have a significant impact,” she said.
The children received a certificate of participation at the end of the event.
Primary schools participating:
- Lohana Academy
- Vine Academy
- Ntinda Primary School
- Nakasero Primary School
- Buganda Road Primary School
- Kiswa Primary School
- Kitante Primary School
- Daffodils Academy
- Kampala Parents School
- St. Kizito Primary School