Many people have so much talent across different areas, but opportunities to showcase and support such talent come along from time to time. At TechQuest STEM Academy, our strategic initiatives are geared towards providing opportunities for talented individuals who might be limited by geographical barriers.

The 2020 mPulse Hackathon themed ‘Beyond COVID-19’ initiated by MTN Nigeria in partnership with TechQuest STEM Academy, sought to highlight these amazing talents through the innovative solutions they developed to tackle some issues created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of hundreds of applicants, Joshua Agboola, a 12-year-old JSS 2 Student of Bellina College, Akoka, Lagos emerged the winner. His project, ‘Kagukar Study Buddie,’ is a voice-activated home-schooling and remote education solution. Commands are given to the solution to assist students with study, practice tests, stories and entertainment using games, riddles and jokes.

L-R: Dr. Itoro Emembolu, Executive Director, TechQuest STEM Academy; Joshua Agboola, Winner, MTN mPulse Hackathon 2020 and Njideka Jack, Senior Manager, Business Enablement, MTN Nigeria at the Prize Presentation for MTN mPulse Hackathon Finalists in Lagos recently.

The first runner up, a team of Abeedah Alabi and Peter Fadele, are SSS 2 students of Jakande Estate Comprehensive Senior College, Lagos. Their solution, Maternal Care, connects pregnant women to skilled birth attendants and recommends hospitals closest to their location. These help to eliminate hospital queues and long paperwork. The team are already looking into telemedicine and a USSD service for women in remote areas with limited internet access.

The second runner up of the hackathon, Amarachi Ogbu and Habibah Yusuf are SSS 3 students of Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja. Their solution, VaccTick, help parents and families to track their immunization schedules and notify them of due dates, especially for their wards. They also seek to share relevant health updates and demystify myths and fallacies on vaccines e.g., the coronavirus vaccine.

L-R: Some of the top 10 winners at the 2020 MTN mPulse Hackathon

Joshua received one million naira in funding support, 100,000 Naira cash voucher, portable electronic devices worth over N120,000 and some mPulse back-to-school items. While Abeedah and Amarachi and their teams won N500,000 in funding support, N50,000 cash vouchers, portable tablets and some back-to-school items respectively.

All top ten finalists will be participating in a six-week virtual bootcamp implemented by TechQuest STEM Academy, an incubation program to support the teams to refine and get their solutions market ready. We look forward to their participation and improvement on their innovative solutions.

Since 2015, TechQuest STEM Academy has been bridging the digital literacy gap in Nigeria and aftica by implementing programs and developing tools and opportunities for young ones, typically ages 6-35, to get skilled and prepared for the needs of the 21st-century economy. For more information, visit https://tqstem.org