Uganda Robotics team returns Home with Victory

Students from 191 countries gathered in Singapore for an international robotics event, the FIRST Global Challenge. 

The event happened for the first time in Southeast Asia at the Singapore Expo from October 7th to 10th under the theme of renewable energy and its potential for creating a better future.

The Uganda team that participated in the competition consisted of five girls namely; Joy Orwin Akandinda from Bugema Adventist Secondary School Naggalama, Samrawit Ghebrehiwot and Hermon Asmerom from Mengo Senior School, Matilda Nakaye from St Joseph’s Secondary School and Mittina Akampa from Seeta High School.

These students were supported by Apps and Girls, also a tech-based non-profit organisation in Uganda, to gain skills in building and programming robots, in addition to other innovations such as a prototype machine for sanitary pads vending which they showcased.

Upon their return on October 11, Joy Orwin Akandinda a student of Bugema Adventist Secondary School on Uganda’s team said that it was such an amazing experience after meeting fellow students from over 190 countries to solve climate change issues as well as showing the world that hydrogen is a good source of energy. 

“It was all about teamwork. Coming together to create something necessary and useful to the entire world,” she added. 

The team also came back with a golden medal after Mittina Akampa a student from Seeta High School became the overall winner of the Temasek Women in STEM Award after designing a machine that distributes sanitary pads in a way of supporting girls in their education.

“I found out that due to the inaccessibility of sanitary pads, many girls drop out of school and some lose confidence at school which destroys their education and skills.  So, this project is meant to be installed in different schools especially in rural areas to help other girls out there,” Akampa the golden winner said. 

Vanessa Mukebezi the teacher at Bugema Adventist Secondary School Naggalama said that the victory is a plus for the school and they hope to put in more effort in empowering students while using science and technology. 

Jossy Nasasira the Director of Innovation and Training at Apps and Girls pledged to continue supporting such young ones with innovations in both software and robotics. 

This year participating teams were tasked with building robots capable of operating in a simulated environment to produce hydrogen and highlighting the importance of hydrogen in the renewable energy sector.

According to information from the First Global website, the “Hydrogen Horizons” theme charges teams with building a robot and navigating it through a simulated environment to produce hydrogen and then store, transport, and convert energy.

While in the competition, teams worked together in randomly selected multi-country alliances to score points, a practice that encouraged global cooperation and fostered mutual understanding.

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