[INTERVIEW] #Project10000kids : ACI RAISING FUNDS TO TRAIN SECONDARY SCHOOL KIDS IN ROBOTICS
As it is our mission at LegalByte to be an integral part of the growing development of Technology in Africa. We met with the Founder of ACI to discuss briefly on the Campaign #Project100kids which is aimed at developing the strategic thinking of kids in Secondary schools in Nigeria.
Can we meet you?
Olaoluwa Balogun is my name. I work at ACI.
What is ACI about and why was it founded?
We noticed Nigerian young people are not known for anything around the world apart from cyber-crime. The youths, which constitute a large percentage of our population, are languishing in the hands of a collapsed educational system. From primary school to secondary school to WAEC and UTME then the university. There is nothing innovative. There is nothing that ignites the imagination of the students. It is all about passing of one exam to the other. You can’t build a great nation that way. ACI was founded out of the passion to fix these issues. We want to provide a product-centric tech education. Not the certificate-centric one that has to with passing exams and getting a certificate.
We want to build kids and youths who will make Africa proud by solving Africa’s local problems with tech. Not youths that will depend on the society.
What is #Project10000kids?
#Project10000kids is a new program at ACI where we plan to train 10,000 Nigerian kids in Robotics for free. We want to do this in 200 secondary schools across 6 cities: Lagos, Ibadan, Osogbo, Ile-Ife, Akure and Abeokuta. It will start in September 2015 through April 2016.
How will #Project10000kids have a positive impact on the kids?
Robotics is a wonderful way to train kids to think creatively and reason systematically. In the future, not knowing the language of computers will be as challenging as being an illiterate today. And you know there is no system in place in our schooling system to train our kids in computing. This project will help the kids to learn vital problem solving skills with increased creativity that can be transferred to any challenge they face, making them reliable problem solvers and innovators.
They would as well in the process learn basic coding concepts and the whole program will inspire them to be next generation of programmers, software developers and robotics engineers.
What kind of opportunities will this project create for ACI, the instructors and the kids?
Firstly, we don’t intend stopping at the #Project10000kids. We want the schools to be competing on a termly basis. We want to start a trend that will allow further robotics and technology research and innovation among the schools. We want schools to be bragging about what their students are creating not about their students’ WAEC or A level results. We want this to be a national thing.
We would be using close to 800 undergraduate instructors from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University. They will be taking part on a volunteering basis so no payment for them apart from lunch. At least, it is an opportunity for them to be part of history.
To us, making this project come to life would give us great joy because our dreams for Nigeria would be close to being a reality.
What are the challenges being faced?
Presently, we are crowd-funding the funds needed to make this project happen on indiegogo. Achieving our $150,000 budget is the major challenge we have now.
How are you curbing the process of solving this challenge?
To make the funding successful, we have to reach out to as many people as possible to help donate. That is what we are doing now. Quite a number of media houses and tech blogs have reported it. And we are making a whole lot of noise on social media.
Who can support this project and how?
Anyone can support by dropping a token at Our campaign page. They can as well help by checking out the campaign, telling friends about it and sharing it on their social media platforms. A facebook share or a single tweet might be all that is needed to change the world.
They could also reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a Nigerian alternative for this funding?
Yeah! An individual or organization could sponsor a part of the whole funding. For instance, transportation alone takes 35% of our budget, 25% to get the Robotics kit and 24% for the students’ T-shirts; a partnering organization can handle one of these. And they would be publicly acknowledged for that.
What are the future plans of ACI?
We are working on starting a school of technology for kids in September 2017. Perhaps that will be the first STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) school in Africa. A school where kids will be sad when it’s time for vacation. A school where team work and innovations will be celebrated and not grades and certificates.
Our Software development and robotics Boot camp would also be extended to 10 more Nigerian universities before the end of 2015.