During the month of December 2022, we hosted a 5-day robotics boot camp in Kampala District for 25 girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Participants were exposed to core programming and engaged in hands-on practical sessions for building and programming robots as they learned how to solve problems using design thinking.
Additionally, the 4 Uganda robotics Team members presented well-researched problems they had identified in the country in Health, Environment, and Climate change categories and the participants collaborated in groups with them to create solutions, imaginatively sketched the structural architecture of the kind of robots they will build to solve the challenge and in the last two days they focused developing robotic prototypes for their solutions. See below:
Team 1, led by Hermon, focused on addressing the issue of the pollution on beaches in Uganda. Their solution was to design and make a robot that collects plastic and non-degradable waste and disposes of it in an appropriate way that ensures proper growth of plants and trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and conserve the ozone layer. This solution improves people’s welfare and preserves the environment by mitigating the effects of global warming, such as hot temperatures, droughts, and health risks.
Team 2, led by Mittina Akampa, tackled the issue of menstrual care for girls in rural areas who can’t afford to buy sanitary pads, which causes them to miss school and use unhealthy materials. They designed a robot named “Sparkle” that will be stationed in rural schools to help girls access sanitary pads at an affordable price and with a convenient mode of payment. The robot will be positioned in areas near the washrooms, dormitories, and other safe places in different schools. The team also plans to install the robot in wealthy schools to raise money to support their sisters in rural areas.
Team 3, led by Akandinda Joy, addressed the challenges that young people with movement disabilities face, such as not being able to participate in sports or go shopping due to the lack of comfortable and attractive equipment. They proposed making a robotic wheelchair that can be controlled by a gamepad and will not require pushing or pulling. In addition, they will add an entertainment feature for playing music and making it fancy and colorful.
Team 4, led by Aidah Nakanwaji, focused on garbage collection in schools and public places, where garbage dumping is not intense, and people are often lazy to collect rubbish. Their solution was to create a garbage-collecting robot that will speed up the collection of garbage, maintain a clean environment, and avoid spreading diseases that affect human health. This robot could also be used in the stone quarry mines to lift heavy stones and throw them into the crusher.
Overall, the five-day bootcamp provided an excellent opportunity for young girls to learn how to build and program robots to solve real-world problems in their communities. The bootcamp not only helped to build their technical skills but also encouraged them to think creatively and innovatively. With the success of this bootcamp, we hope to organize more similar initiatives in the future that empower young girls to become leaders in technology and innovation.