In today’s society where communities increasingly face complex challenges, some young students are taking the initiative to directly address issues.
Students such as Emile Keza have proved their willingness to confront and tackle society problems. Keza, a senior five student at New Life Ministries Academy, developed a project called “Recycling Water” as a solution to water scarcity.
Keza’s project involves collecting rainwater from rooftops, purifying it, and transporting it back to homes. Additionally, the waste from toilets and latrines is collected, separated from other household waste, and transported to an industry to be transformed into fertilizers.
Keza said he used the Let’sMOD platform – a place where anyone can create anything they can imagine and add movement by coding with math – to design and simulate the project for a presentation. He wanted to showcase how it will work as part of the Mathematics and Robotics Challenge which aims to help students to create innovative solutions for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through this project, Keza gained new mathematical skills, including logarithm and factorian, explored global challenges and solutions, and developed computer and robotics skills. He looks forward to implement the project, starting at his school.
Keza’s teacher, Faustin Kwizera, revealed that the school has agreed to assist in piloting the project, while also engaging with other partners.
“We want this project to be used in rural areas to alleviate the water scarcity faced by the local population. During the rainy season, excess water is wasted and causes damage. But this project proposes a solution by collecting and storing rainwater in tanks. The water will then be purified using machines and made available for use during the dry season,” he explained.
Kwizera highlighted that the project is in alignment with SDG 6, which aims to improve access to clean water by reducing the distance that people must travel to obtain it.
Keza is one of the students who developed projects made possible through National Young Innovators Forum implemented through Mathematics and Robotics challenges Project.
This web-based national challenge is implemented by Edified Generation Rwanda in partnership with the African Institute of Mathematical Science (AIMS-Rwanda). The Rwanda edition of the challenge was officially launched as part of the Global Movement originated by PolyUp, a spin-off entity of Stanford University.
PolyUp is a program that bridges math and computer science teaching and learning. It is a free and open computational thinking playground where students can experiment with numbers and functions.
Valens Ntirenganya, the Executive Director of Edified Generation Rwanda, explains that their program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of important global issues by integrating the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their math, computer science, and robotics curriculum.
Students are encouraged to choose one of the 17 SDGs as the focus of their challenge project, which they develop and build using a 3D simulation environment that can be shared with their community and the wider world.
If a student’s project is deemed feasible, they are encouraged to pitch it to funders and, with support from the program, can potentially implement it within their community.
Ntirenganya noted that the program also incorporates a fun and engaging approach to teaching math through their online platform. As technology is increasingly becoming the future of work, the program emphasizes the importance of learning math and robotics while providing students with networking opportunities with peers from other countries, said Ntirenganya.
The program is implemented in 120 schools across Rwanda. It benefited over 9,000 students, and more than 200 teachers have been trained and certified in PolyUp.
During the National Young Innovators Forum, on March 24, high school students with selected projects were awarded. Prof Sam Yala, Center President of AIMS-Rwanda, commended the young innovators for their hard work and dedication in making a difference in their communities.
He emphasized that the program is designed to prepare students for the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by the fusion of technologies, providing them with the skills necessary for the future workforce.
Yala stressed the importance of collaboration to promote STEM education, creativity, and innovation among both teachers and students.
He believes that such collaboration can play a critical role in building a better future for Rwanda and the wider world.