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Team Afia of UI wins 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon


United States Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks (right); Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at the University of Ibadan, Professor Olanike Adeyemo (left); with Team Afia –winners of the U.S. Consulate supported 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon Pitch Competition recently held in Ibadan. Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate General Lagos

Team Afia of the University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo State has won the 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon with their pitch for an app that will ease access of people living with disabilities to connect with providers of basic social services.

The winners were rewarded with a cash prize of N500, 000 for their impressive performance.

The students of the institution gathered for the 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon that seeks to address the challenges and needs of people with disabilities using technology solutions,

Three, Mandela Washington Fellows —Emeka Ossai, CEO, CampusLabs, Busola Majekodunmi and Tobiloba Ajayi, facilitated the five-day boot camp, which took place in the institution from April 13 to 18.

In a statement signed by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist United States Consulate Lagos, CampusLabs works across Nigerian universities to raise a community of budding social entrepreneurs capable of implementing high-impact projects that benefit their local communities.

“26 students represented seven teams and pitched their ideas before a jury of leading tech leaders and disability inclusion advocates. All seven teams in the pitch competition came up with varying technological solutions after meeting with families and people living with disabilities to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face.
“The hackathon is supported by a public diplomacy grant from the United States Consulate in Lagos”.

Speaking at the grand finale of the competition U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks lauded the students for working collaboratively to improve accessibility and mobility for people living with disabilities.

Brooks, who also served as a member of the jury for the pitch competition, explained that hackatons provide opportunities for solving problems in novel ways. “The United States government is proud to support initiatives like this which seek to leverage the exponential power of technology to solve problems and promote a culture of social innovation and inclusion,” Brooks noted.

He further explained that about 15 per cent of Nigeria’s population representing 25 million people has disability and called for concerted efforts to promote inclusion and reduce the obstacles they face. “Inclusion is a good indicator of how much we value and respect human life. We must become more actively involved in creating a more inclusive environment for all,” he added.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, who attended the event alongside principal officers of the institution, expressed his commitment to supporting students working hard to promote inclusion of people living with disabilities.

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