How Congolese Youth Are Using Technology to Make a Difference: The Open Skies Fellowship
Written by Divine Ela
“Open Skies Fellows," a fellowship program led by OpenMap Development Tanzania in collaboration with Uhurulabs and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, is designed to support youth and give them a chance and responsibility to gain social and technological skills to leverage their potential to solve community challenges using technology.
In 2022 OSF expanded its wings to DRC where we explore the minds of young people, the selection of fellows started with a week-long workshop where 22 girls showed up with awesome project ideas at the workshop, and by January 2023, 10 projects that stood out the most were selected and got a chance to be funded.
This blog covers the projects that were conducted by the first cohort of fellows in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
For the first cohort of Openskies in DRC, there are 10 projects, all of which serve a purpose in our society, whether it is climate change issues, education, finance, energy issues, agriculture, or afforestation and deforestation issues.
In the first cohort, 3 of the 10 projects were based on Water Systems and how technologies can be used to provide water in good quality and quantity,
Marceline Nsimire worked on photovoltaic pumping, which is a system consisting of using solar panels to power a water pump, making it possible to draw water from a natural source such as a well or a river and store it in reservoirs for later use. The use of solar energy to drive the pump offers a sustainable and economical solution for irrigating crops, watering livestock, or supplying households with drinking water.
Rachel Kiwewa developed an automatic water distribution system, which automatically extracts the exact amount of water in liters requested from a water well, using an Arduino microcontroller, ultrasonic sensor, LCD SCREEN, and point of sale powered by solar. And the last one
Dieuvie Iyaba developed a smart water meter with an application that is a tool that allows you to measure water flows and then transmits it to an application that will help users track water consumption and see real-time billing.
Projects related to Apps development
Four fellows developed tools that can work with application, meaning it doesn’t need humans. Been to work, it can work even at a distance without an effort made by a human.
First, we have Grace and Ena, two fellows who worked together on a project called Fungola Car a tracking system consisting of an electronic kit with a GPS receiver receiving location coordinates, direction, speed, altitude, and time from surrounding satellites every 4 seconds. The latter communicates to a mobile application serving as a user interface for the driver or owner, allowing them to see in real-time where the vehicle is and to lock and unlock it remotely if necessary.
The second one is Louange Bosso who developed a smart trash can with an application that is a computerized system put in place to detect the trash can, once the trash can is full, the application will send a notification to let the owner know that the trash is full, so she/he can take out the trash.
The third one is Valerie Bosaki who developed a traveling elevator that allows people to carry weight when working at high height places with much more safety while minimizing the risk of harming themselves this traveling elevator only concerns people who carry weight out work at high heights.
Then Amina developed an automatic and connected drip irrigation system by the name of Moloni tech which is an automatic and connected drip irrigation system that has its origins in IOT applied to agriculture, to help farmers irrigate their land efficiently and reduce their water consumption.
Solar Tracker by Dorcas Bangamingi She created a solar tracker. It’s a rotating solar panel system that traps solar energy in the panel and then transforms it into electricity. When there is no electricity, it can last up to 4 hours. It can rotate following the direction of the sun and it has an alarming system that can notify users through SMS for repair. The prototype that has been developed can only charge phones and switch on the light.
Developed by Nadege Mukanisa the vision of this project is to recover organic waste for a healthy environment and a diversified economy. The project is developed so it can help transform Organic Waste into Biogas: by Developing a system to efficiently transform organic waste into biogas for heating purposes. She is looking forward to reducing Youth unemployment by Creating employment opportunities, particularly for young individuals through the various phases of the project. Lastly, it addresses deforestation by providing an eco-friendly alternative to traditional heating sources, contributing to the fight against global warming and climate change.
Despite COVID-19 hindering project implementation in the DRC, we have managed to get 10 strong projects that will make an impact on society, Since most people have a negative perception of this country this project implementation was a win-win and a way to show Africans that DRC is a safe country and has many innovative youth that are ready to change the world.
For more insight into the Open Skies Program visit: https://openskiesfellows.org/