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GreenWavers Win’s Innovation Competition Beating South Africa

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The GreenWavers which are inclusive of 3 Kenyan students scooped the first position in the Microsoft Game of Learning (GoL) Innovation season 3 for creation of an outstanding website seeking to encourage the community to plant trees.

The competition had five students on every team. In this year’s competition, there were 8 teams. The winning team included Ian Kariuki, Purity Jangaya, and Humphrey Kimathi from Kenyatta University, University of Nairobi, and Kirinyaga University respectively.

Team Greenwavers were among the two finalists in the competition including team Suzwe from South Africa. The tree planting website uses Azure Computer Vision Object Detection to encourage people to plant trees.

The annual competition an initiative of Microsoft  African Development Center (ADC)aims at promoting digital literacy and coding skills among African graduates.

Interestingly, the website encourages tree planters to upload photos of the tree planted, and at the end of the month, the participant with the most trees planted gets an award. The site also includes informative content on tree planting.

GreenWavers were under the supervision of ADC’s Claire Limo a Software Engineer and Loki Mutua a Product Manager. Their tree planting website was reviewed by 21 judges from the Green Belt Movement, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, UNICEF, the USIU, and the Microsoft ADC.

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“The major focus of this competition is to encourage continuous learning. It pays less attention to the prize and more attention to more hands-on learning in the stipulated 5-weeks. Prices and incentives provided help boost learning including smartphones, Azure Credits, LinkedIn Learning Vouchers, and MS Certification Vouchers,” stated Ruth Ferland, GoL founder.

Additionally, team Greenwavers will have the chance to work with the Green Belt Movement to actualize their award-winning solution.

According to the African Development Center, winners in the previous two seasons have had the chance to work with reputable organizations to develop their ideas.

“From the previous Game of Learners seasons, we have seen a conversion rate of about 40% of our participants gaining meaningful employment with reputable companies, including Microsoft,” Catherine Muraga, the ADC Managing Director noted.

The teams are given 17 coaches and 16 trainers to aid in their learning and their progress is documented and shared online.

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