Winners of first ‘ICT 4 Inclusion Challenge’ in Africa announced
Winners from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa present their innovative solutions for inclusive education
Paris, France – December 3, 2021
The ICT 4 Inclusion Challenge (ICT4IC) aims to shape inclusive education for people with disabilities in Africa. The three winning teams were presented with their awards today during the ceremony which took place virtually, livestreamed from Atos’ headquarters in Bezons and its offices in Munich. The competition saw 202 applications with over 400 participants from 37 countries around the world compete.
The competition was organized by Atos and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf for German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the Make-IT Alliance. Digital inclusion stands at the heart of Atos’ raison d’etre and materializes into Atos’ experience portfolio, with specific solutions helping people with temporary or permanent disabilities to work without barriers in the digital workplace.
The aim of the challenge is to develop digital innovations which are designed to improve access to education for those with disabilities in Africa. The teams were asked to submit a digital or technical innovation (idea, mock-up or proof-of-concept (PoC)) that provides or improves access to education for children, youths and/or adults with disabilities in Africa. This could be a digital device or application; digital assistive technologies; an idea to raise awareness for inclusive education using digital technologies and accessibility solutions for online learning environments.
After an initial first round in which 10 teams were selected by 24 judges to attend a 2-week virtual bootcamp, the 9 experts strong final jury panel, made up of Atos executives as well as experts from GIZ, the private sector, civil society and international organizations, chose three finalists. These are:
- 1st prize and competition winner: ‘Vinsighte’, Nigeria
Vinsighte is a reading software / application that makes use of Artificial Intelligence to aid the visually impaired to read conveniently. It works by scanning through texts on books and reading the books aloud to the visually impaired user. The team won €6,500.
- 2nd prize: ‘Virtual E&T’, South Africa
This customized app provides accessible and affordable Virtual Education and Training Portal for people with intellectual disabilities. The team won €2,500.
- 3rd prize: ‘Talking Charts’, Kenya
This solution addresses the accessibility challenges of data visualization for the people with visual impairment and blind people through synthetic speech and auto-captioning. The team won €1,000.
Each participant in each of three winning teams was awarded a dedicated 3-month mentorship program at Atos starting in January 2022, as well as monetary prizes and an opportunity to pitch to be part of Atos Scaler, the Group’s accelerator program.
Commenting on these results, Udo Littke, Head of Atos in Central Europe said “Congratulations to our winners and to all of our contestants! I’m blown-away by the creativity and quality of the entries.Access to education is one of the greatest barriers to inclusion for children, young persons and adults with disabilities in Africa and digital innovations can help to overcome this challenge by removing barriers to education for persons with disabilities. We’re very proud to encourage the new generation to help shape the inclusive education in Africa”.
The judging panel was carefully selected to provide expertise in the fields of education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), innovation, accessibility, and disability inclusion as well as regional African perspectives. The competition entrants needed to be permanent residents of an African country or non-residents teaming up with an African organization, proving that their solution is not yet readily available on the market and encouraging that people of disabilities are either part of the team or included into the product development process.
To find out more, please go to https://ict4inclusionchallenge.net/ .
Photo 1: Oluwatomisin Kolawole from "Vinsights"; Photo 2: Santie Terreblanche , Thomas Bezuidenhout, Taryn Du Toit, Mpilo Khumalo from "Virtual E&T" and Photo 3: Eric Maina Wamugu from "Talking Charts"
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