Ten Youth have been Selected to Join the Open Skies Fellowship Rwanda!
By Editha Mwanyika.
Early this year, OpenMap Development Tanzania began to expand to Rwanda through the Open Skies Fellowship, collaborating with its local partner IDA Technology to implement the program in Rwanda following a successful pilot in Tanzania with 12 recruited fellows. The fellowship aims to develop young local experts in various frontier technologies by providing them with the necessary skills, resources, and mentorship to take their ideas from concept to prototype and, eventually, to business.
We worked with IDA Technology to plan the youth workshop since we both share a common vision of assisting and supporting young people and girls in the technology field. The week-long workshop is the method we use to observe youth and evaluate them in accordance with the fellowship selection criteria, which include: Intellectual curiosity, Passion for technology, First principle thinking, Focus, Specific ideas on how technology can solve real-world problems, Love of sharing and teaching. The workshop participants previously applied to the fellowship program after our call. See the criteria video for more details.
We trained and exposed 21 young people (11 men 10 women) from various Rwandan regions to various developing technologies, and we brainstormed with them about how these technologies can capitalize on diverse ideas in order to provide solutions for various problems facing the communities. Drone technology, Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality were all introduced to the youth, and each participant selected the focus area based on their interests.
In addition to providing hands-on training, the events also taught participants about teamwork, pitching, sharing technology usage experiences, storytelling, photography, and videography. In this phase, attendees are evaluated on certain criteria, such as proactivity, knowledge sharing, problem-solving abilities, etc.
At the end of the workshop session, each participant had the chance to share their own technological projects or ideas that, if chosen as a fellow, they would like to put into practice. In the first cohort of the Open Skies Fellowship program in Rwanda, which will run for six months, ten of the youth were chosen (5 male 5 female). During the fellowship, they will develop their tech projects, get advice from experienced mentors, and receive some financing for their materials. The list of chosen fellows and their projects can be seen here.
Until now, Open Skies Fellows has reached over 60 young people in Tanzania and Rwanda, with 26 of them having the opportunity to join the fellowship program and build or refine their prototype. Developing solutions in various focus areas such as health, education, agriculture, tourism, sanitation, and hygiene, among others.
Moving forward, we hope to replicate the Rwandan methodology and expand the project to Congo. If you know of a Congolese organization with the same vision as Open Skies, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org): we intend to collaborate with local organizations in the areas of operation.