Robotics team goes global!
Aprendo y Emprendo (Technical Vocational Education and Training Strengthening for At-Risk Youth — TVET SAY) in Nicaragua is training young winners.
A team from the Bluefields Robotics Club—established for students to explore technology and science concepts, problem-solving skills and teamwork established with support from TVET-SAY—took first place in a national robotics competition in Managua. They then went on to compete at the World Robot Olympiad in Costa Rica in early November. The World Robot Olympiad “brings together young people from all over the world to develop their creativity, design and problem solving skills through challenging and educational robot competitions and activities.” While the robotics team didn’t place in the top standings, the experience of learning and collaborating within their teams and with youth from all over the world was an invaluable experience for these young people from the isolated Caribbean Coast region.
Hackathon for community-based social good
How do you get young people interested in technology—especially girls? Give them a problem to solve for their community and a chance to make it come to life. This is what the USAID-sponsored Innovating Youth for Development hackathon set out to do this past November in Bluefields, Nicaragua. Supported by Aprendo y Emprendo with technical education institution partners URACCAN and BICU, the hackathon hosted eight teams comprising six students each, who presented innovative solutions to social problems in their community.
The teams, all students studying technical careers at schools supported by the project, received technical advice from technical education institutions and private-sector partners ahead of the competition.
The hackathon was chaired by the Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of the United States in Nicaragua, Chad Cummins, together with representatives of the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN) and Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU), and partners from the private sector such as Banpro, Fundación Zamora Terán and COMTECH.
The winning team, which developed a fire alert system and app, will receive technical assistance to develop the app they designed and make it available to the public, as well as $500 from Banpro to go toward promotion and marketing.
- USAID has signed an agreement with Nicaraguan bank Banpro, which will provide seed capital to young entrepreneurs as part of a larger agreement with the USAID mission in Nicaragua. The agreement support Aprendo y Emprendo’s work to foster entrepreneurship in the Caribbean Coast. Banpro will provide seed capital to at-risk youth who develop plans for small businesses, as well as offer financial literacy training for youth interested in entrepreneurship.