July 14, 2017 By Amadu Lamrana Bah
Minister of Youth Affairs, has bade farewell to four young Sierra Leonean innovators and their mentor, who will compete at the 1st Global International Robotics Challenge 2017 in the United States of America.
The competition will take place from 16-18 July, 2017 in Washington DC.
Addressing the team at his National Stadium Hostels office in Freetown, Bai Mamoud Bangura said Government, through the Agenda for Prosperity, takes creativity and innovation very seriously and has been encouraging young people to take advantage of opportunities including scholarships for female students in the Sciences, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering.
“Innovation, Science, Technology and Creativity are what are transforming the world, and Sierra Leone should not be an exception,” the Minister said, underscoring government’s unwavering commitment to supporting such programs.
He urged the young innovators to remain focused, to enable them help change negative mindset of Sierra Leoneans and use their potentials to initiate ideas and transform their country, as well as improve living standards.
“On behalf of the President, Government and the people of Sierra Leone, I wish you well as you go out there to represent us. Some people may not believe in what you are doing, but I assure you that they will do once you become successful. As Minister and a youth myself, I am personally interested in what you are doing and its potential to contribute meaningfully to national and sustainable development,” he admonished the team.
Mamoud Javombo, Program Director, Innovate Salone and Team Mentor, said the Annual Robotics Challenge is aimed at igniting a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with over 100 hundred countries competing.
He said at Innovate Salone, providing opportunities to young High School students on problem-solving skills in their communities is their priority, adding that the team has been working tirelessly with their mentors to create the robot that they will be using in the competition.
“We are hopeful of doing well in this competition. The kids are excited and ready to showcase their potentials and represent their country at the world stage,” he added.
Javombo however appealed for more collaboration and support to enable them get more young people involved in creativity and innovation on problem solving in their communities.
“This is something we have been looking forward to. Collaboration and partnership are very important in moving forward and identifying more young innovators who will help in transforming this country,” he noted.
Fatmata Bintu Barrie, Team Spokesperson, thanked the Minister for his motivational message and brief interaction with them before departure.
She said they have spent a lot of time and effort as a team to create the Robot and believe that they will keep the nation’s flag high at the competition with it.
“We know we are going to represent our country and will do our best to ensure that we make all of you proud,” she concluded.
The First Global Challenge is an international robotics event with more than 100 nations across the world traveling to Washington, DC to participate in the inaugural game. The competition will be held in a different nation’s capital each year.
Participating team comprises students – aged 15 to 18 – with the common goal of increasing their knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, to enable them become the next generation of scientific leaders who will work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. These range from food security and access to clean water, to finding better medicines and securing cyberspace.
The five-man team left the shores of Sierra Leone for Washington D.C on Thursday, 13th July and are expected to arrive in the United States on Friday 14th July, 2017.
It comprises Daniel Meleric Williams of the Sierra Leone Grammar School, Brian Sankoh of the St Edwards Secondary School, Samuel Elba of the Prnice of Wales Secondary School, Fatmata Bintu Barrie of the Annie Walsh Memorial School and Mamoud Javombo as Team Mentor.