Since May 2020, Kabakoo Academies (https://www.Kabakoo.africa/) has taken up the challenge of transforming the challenges arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic into a socioeconomic opportunity for African youth.
From May to December 2020, its Bamako campus welcomes for seven months a class of twenty learners dedicated to local entrepreneurship as a viable solution to the economic and health-related consequences of COVID-19 in the Sahel. Halfway through the “Beat COVID-19” Challenge, and despite the uncertain context in Mali, the Kabako model demonstrates once again its effectiveness and impact.
In May 2020, Kabakoo launched the “Beat COVID-19” Challenge in partnership with the European Union in Mali via the EJOM project (l’Emploi des Jeunes créé des Opportunités ici au Mali). This intensive training program supports six projects offering innovative answers to COVID-19 and providing long-term job prospects and real impact for local communities. These goals reflect Kabakoo’s unique pedagogy which enables its learners to gain technological skills by working on specific projects solving local problems.
Halfway through the Challenge, the learners have designed and prototyped their solutions thanks to the cut ting-edge tech equipment available at Kabakoo and the online workshops with Kabakoo’s network of word class mentors. For example, our three learners from the Anka-Vent project 3D-printed all the parts needed to design their low-cost artificial respirator, which aims to solve the shortage of this essential medical device in the Sahel.
Local knowledge, a pillar of Kabakoo’s methodology, helps learners to better assess the local anchorage of their projects. In this respect, another group of learners calling themselves “Kouraya”, is setting up a local production for 3D-printing filaments by recycling plastic waste, while collaborating with traditional metal workshops in Bamako. For its part, the Kari-Protection team chose shea nuts, a raw material widely available in Mali, as the main ingredient of the soaps and hand sanitizers they are producing in their self-built small-scale manufacture.
Trained by a network of international coaches from professional and academic backgrounds, Kabakoo learners progress in areas such as digital manufacturing, design thinking or rapid prototyping. Now time has come for each team to launch the startup that will market the product they designed, and thus ensure sustainable eco nomic activity, local jobs and decent incomes.
As part of the Challenge “BEAT-COVID-19”, Kabakoo and its partners are organizing a Hackathon from October 23 to 25, 2020 to “Accelerate the post-COVID-19 resilience of African societies” and rethink lifestyles and citizenship in this new normality. This semi-virtual event will feature the active participation of renowned experts focusing on Kabakoo’s four priorities: health, environment, agri-food, art and culture.
These recent developments demonstrate the relevance and resilience of Kabakoo’s education offering for the Africas. Despite the uncertain health and political situation in the Sahel, Kabakoo remains fully committed to making the 4th Industrial Revolution and decentralized manufacturing work for its learners. In October 2020, Kabakoo will launch West-Africa’s first training blending drone technology and artificial intelligence, with mentors from organisations such as Harvard University, Oracle, PHI Centre, Sorbonne University, Black in AI, ESTACA Engineering School, etc. Following Kabakoo’s locally grounded approach, learners will acquire valuable skills relevant in many professional sectors such as agriculture, journalism and media, humanitarian action, etc.
Kabakoo’s high-low-tech model keeps responding to the aspirations of the African youth who are imagining and building sustainable futures, for the Africas and beyond.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kabakoo.
Kabakoo Academies (https://www.Kabakoo.africa/) is a mission-driven enterprise building a pan-African network of creative academies for sustainability-focused tech education. We catalyze the emergence of sustainable and inclusive innovation by merging high-tech and low-tech (local knowledge). Our mission is to accelerate the world’s transition toward desirable and sustainable futures by providing locally relevant and transformative learning experiences.