Over 200 Kenyan student developers registered for the IBM Digital – Nation Africa: Smart Water Challenge, have ultimately submitted their proposals on design solutions to improve water quality.
The participants submitted their proposals as individuals and teams after receiving digital skills development, briefings on water-related issues in Kenya, and training by IBM volunteers for Design Thinking and presentation skills.
Drawing on the expertise of Kenya-based teams from The Nature Conservancy, Water Mission, and IBM Research-Africa, IBM has asked the developer community for solutions to improve the management, monitoring, and forecasting of water availability and quality.
The top eight proposal teams presented their pitches to IBM experts at IBM Nairobi offices where Greatest of All Time (GOAT) emerged winner with a solution that uses IoT sensors for preventative maintenance of possible water pipe bursts. The solution also uses solar power to desalinate water from two aquifers discovered in Turkana in Northern Kenya.
The GOAT team consists of five students from three Universities in Kenya asserts that their project can help sustain tens of thousands of barrels of water per day for the largely dry Turkana region by both keeping the piping system fully functional, and desalinizing water that was previously undrinkable for human consumption.
“My hope is that this innovation will be implemented and rolled out in the northern Kenya where most people continue to suffer yet the solutions are closer home,” said One member of the team.
Each member of the winning team will be offered paid internships with IBM in Nairobi, provided they meet standard IBM internship terms and conditions. And together with expert IBMers deployed by the IBM Service Corps, Team GOAT will explore opportunities for further development and deployment of their proposed solution to address clean water needs in Kenya.
The Challenge reflects IBM’s global effort to foster an inclusive approach to quality education and skills, while using technology to tackle urgent public needs. This work is also connected to Code and Response, a multi-year US$25m program dedicated to the creation and deployment of solutions powered by open source technology to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, as well as Forecast: Change, IBM’s global campaign to raise awareness about water related issues and enable individuals to make a personal impact.