ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 18 May 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- Much has been written about the importance of advancing digital literacy on the African continent, especially among its younger citizens. With more than half of the world’s under-25s expected to live in Africa by 2050, mobilising and inspiring this youthful population to be active participants of the global digital economy is central to the continent’s future.
For Soliyana Gizaw Hunde, ten year-old coder and recent winner of the inaugural AfriCANCode Challenge, a love of maths and science and a strong community spirit inspired her to develop a fun and engaging way to practice math and raise awareness of COVID-19 related health protocols.
“Being part of the AfriCANCode Challenge has been fun, and winning the national and overall competition was very exciting,” says Soliyana, who lives with her parents in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. “It has motivated me to do more and dream big.”
The AfriCANcode Challenge was introduced after the 2020 SAP Africa Code Week programme shifted to an all-virtual format in the wake of the global pandemic. The competition challenged youth aged 8 to 16 to develop a game using the Scratch coding language to reimagine school and education, or answer the question “How will your tech change the future of education?”.
Participants from 22 countries made it to the final round of the competition, and the winner was announced in early 2021. All of the top three winners were girls, with Soliyana crowned overall winner at a virtual prize-giving ceremony in February.
Soliyana says she was inspired to learn coding after seeing the projects her cousin, a software engineering student at one of the local state universities, was doing. “When I was eight, my cousin helped me take a short coding training course at a local centre. Since then, I have watched instructional videos on YouTube, and I have been motivated to keep practicing.”
After the pandemic forced the Ethiopian government to close schools, Soliyana decided to apply her coding skills in service of her community by participating in the AfriCANCode Challenge.
“When we started staying at home due to the pandemic, I heard how it was affecting people in our community and what we could do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. I decided to develop my Mathstainment game to create awareness about COVID-19 and offer a simple and fun way to practice maths.”
Mathstainment, the educational game developed by Soliyana, was built using the Scratch programming language. It asks a series of maths questions that leads a character on the screen ever closer to personal protective equipment (PPE) for each correct answer. After a few incorrect answers, the player has to start over. Maths questions are posed at varying difficulty levels, ranging from ‘Easy’ to ‘Difficult’.
Asked what lies ahead for the young coding champion, Soliyana says: “I want to be an astronomer. I want to know how the universe works.”
Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP, says Soliyana and her fellow participants at this year’s AfriCANCode Challenge are inspirations to youth across the continent. “The innovation and community-minded spirit displayed by this year’s participants point to a bright future for Africa’s citizens. It is also hugely encouraging to see the high ratio of female participants, whose ingenuity saw all three top place finishes claimed by girls.”
She points to progress over the past few years with expanding access to coding teaching and digital literacy opportunities for the continent’s youth. “SAP Africa Code Week and the AfriCANCode Challenge mobilises hundreds of partners in the public and private sector who rally around the urgent task of empowering Africa’s youth with essential digital skills. As we continue into an uncertain future, this investment into youth skills development will pay huge dividends over the coming years and decades.”
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.
SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.
# # #
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2020 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see https://www.sap.com/copyright for additional trademark information and notices.
Note to editors:
To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.
For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:
Global Customer Center: +49 180 534-34-24
United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)