Fifteen Namibian students participated in the Unesco-India-Africa (UIA) hackathon (programming competition) that took place from 22 to 25 November 2022 at Gautam Buddha University in India.
Nine of the participating students came from Unam and six from NUST. The hackathon featured 100 teams coding for 36 continuous hours, working under the themes of education, energy, health and hygiene, as well as agriculture.
Twenty competing teams were awarded as winners, of which one of them consisted of Namibian student Shaun Tjikumise, whose team worked on the agriculture theme, where they developed an application that predict the best fertiliser for specific crops, using machine learning.
Tjikumise, a third-year student at Unam doing a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, said: “I have made friends from all over Africa and India, and I have learned a lot in terms of programming and culture awareness”.
The UIA initiative in Namibia was facilitated by the Innovation and Development Accelerator (IDA) under the Office of the PVC: Research, Innovation and Development (RID) at Unam.
IDA’s Leonard Imene, who accompanied the participating students to India, said: “The hackathon provided a great platform for building collaborative partnerships and alliances between Namibian students and their peers from other participating countries. It is crucial for Namibian youth to participate in these types of initiatives to be able to spearhead the future local digital ecosystem”.
The overall aim of the hackathon was to promote collaborative ideation, offer digital solutions to societal challenges, explore joint business start-ups by African and Indian students, and strengthen cultural ties between Africa and India.
The participating Namibian students were sponsored by Unesco, the Government of India through its Ministry of Education and Innovation Cell.
Additional support was provided by Unam, NUST and the Namibian government through the information ministry.