Today I am a proud father, when my two daughters aged 8 and 10 show me their robots, after 8 weeks with the Fundibots Robotics for Kids training program – Season II . What makes me proud is the fact that the children have gotten their hands dirty, gluing, soldering, learning and implementing mechanics to put together a walking robot and more importantly the students are having so much fun that they are not aware that they’re actually learning a lot.
With the transition of vocational colleges into universities, and the dying out of certain vocations like carpentry, car & machine repair, bricklaying, there is a general drop in the quality of core skills needed to build and maintain infrastructure such as processing plants, cottage industries, as well as factories.
Why do I think the Fundi Bots program is a necessary & relevant approach to core vocational skills building in Uganda, but Africa as a whole:
- The program brings together theory in multiple separate areas of mechanical engineering, electronics, software development producing firm foundation
- The blend of hardware and software provides a foundation for expansion into leveraging technology for other sectors like agriculture, medicine
- Majority of the materials used can be obtained locally, or manufactured using localized technology with a low barrier to entry
- The program can be run along existing education structures so can be easily adopted by different schools
- The technical aspects can be tailored to different levels, from upper primary school through secondary school to university level
- Going through the class provides a mindset change – and a new look into science through a different lens
- The program can be tailored to suit special interest groups, like girls, less advantaged, and even in resource constrained environments
- The skills are marketable globally, and can be grown to support both local and global needs
Last but not least, is the vision that Solomon King provides for growing the program, based on his own personal journey and experiences, you can see the glint in his eye as he watched over the technology seed planted in the youths through the program
The million dollar question, is what can I do?
- Fundibots is a non-profit organization, any support in its different activities such as supporting STEM for Girls, Science education in Uganda including 35K by 2020
- Do you want to develop hardware based technologies for use in Uganda/Africa – leverage Fundibots by using and grow our research & innovations lab