MICROSOFT ADC LAUNCHES HACKATHON TO PROMOTE INNOVATION AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN KENYA

By Sofia Ali

NAIROBI, Kenya — June 16, 2020 — Microsoft has announced the launch of the Game of Learners (GOL) programme in the form of a hackathon aimed to spur innovation among university students across Kenya. The initiative, developed by Microsoft’s Africa Development Centre (ADC), is completely student-driven and hands-on with the overall objective being to empower the students to develop impactful solutions that can help address some of Africa’s and the world challenges.
The GOL is structured as a 5-week virtual hackathon comprised of weekly sprints where, at the end of the 5th week, all participating teams will submit their final projects for judging. There will be 13 volunteers from Microsoft to mentor the students throughout the 5-week engagement and judge each team’s final project submission.
“The program’s objective is to empower Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) to develop leadership skills by teaching learners (student participants) technical skills in a fun competition while building awareness to all undergrad students,” says Jack Ngare, the ADC Managing Director. “The original plan for GOL was to be conducted on campus at one of our partner universities. However, due to the pandemic we pivoted to a completely virtual experience which removed geographic limitations and has actually provided us with an opportunity to reach more students across the region.”
The MSPs will define the challenge and each team lead will dictate the rhythm of the weekly sprints. All participants will have access to development resources provided by Microsoft throughout the competition. Winner evaluation and selection will be based on the following:
Weekly sprint submission (25%)
Judging of final submission (50%)
Twitter voting of final submission (25%)

Upon completion, each standing member of the winning team will be rewarded with:
1-year Azure credits
1-year LinkedIn Learning vouchers
Digital certificate and digital badge for winning
1:1 mentorship from preferred professionals

Empowering more and more people with the right skills remains a top priority and is rooted at the heart of Microsoft’s mission to empower everyone to achieve more. GOL present an opportunity for students to interact and engage with one another but most importantly presents a platform for them to create solutions for the African continent that are globally scalable, added Ngare.

Microsoft has operated on the continent for more than 28 years, building partnerships to bridge the gaps in infrastructure, connectivity, and capability to accelerate innovation. Through the ADC, Microsoft is enabling digital transformation, bridging gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability while creating sustained societal impact on the African continent. The centre is recruiting world-class African engineering talent to develop innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge and the hackathon complements ongoing efforts to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa.

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