As part of ongoing outreach events, IFPRI connected with over 200 high school and college students during the month of May, inviting them to participate in the ReSAKSS Data Challenge. ReSAKSS’ outreach to youth and the next generation of African leaders in agricultural research, technical innovation and the arts promises to stir up exciting new participation in the second edition of the ReSAKSS Data Challenge.
By promoting the Data Challenge at high schools, colleges and technical schools, ReSAKSS rouses African youth, data users and anyone interested in Africa’s development to showcase their creativity and analytical skills using the resources on the ReSAKSS website. ReSAKSS Data Challenge participants are called to develop an innovative knowledge product or project that addresses a development challenge faced by Africa. During May 2019, ReSAKSS representatives visited:
- Agribusiness college students from Institut Supérieur de Management (ISM), School of Management. As part of the ISM Group, l’École de Management courses include total immersion in the professional world, enable students to acquire technical skills as well as learn management skills, marketing and finance for working in agricultural or agri-food business.
- High school students from Lycée d’Excellence Privé Birago Diop, part of a network of 6 ISM high schools, training students in high-level analytical skills.
- High school students from Senegalese American Bilingual School, a 20-year-old (pre-K through high school) community of more than 1000 students and 150 teachers that encourages its students to be creative, work for their communities and protect the environment. Graduates earn either a Senegalese or American high school diploma, with the opportunity continue their education at universities in North America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and even China.
- College students from SUP’INFO and SUP’IMAX technical schools, part of the SUP’INFO Group, established in 1992, which aims to accompany its students in the steps to make them dynamic and essential players in the global ecosystem, training them in management and innovative digital technologies.
Before the presentation at SUP’INFO and SUP’IMAX technical schools, students had the opportunity to meet the ReSAKSS Data Challenge’s ambassador, rapper and activist “Keyti”, who talked to the students about the importance of contributing positively to the development of Africa through knowledge. He motivated them to use their powerful creative skills to develop a project has value within their own communities by using ReSAKSS Data.
Each outreach event communicates the objective of ReSAKSS Data Challenge, competition categories, award prizes, and logistics of the application process. Additionally, IFPRI staff introduce students to IFPRI’s mission, its regional flagship ReSAKSS program, and the current goals of the African Union Member States under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). IFPRI staff demonstrated the range of tools and resources available on the ReSAKSS’ website, including the eAtlas tool, and the various ReSAKSS platforms for accessing and extracting data. Students responded with excellent questions about available data on agriculture, nutrition, health, economic growth and climate change, including thoughtful inquiries regarding data reliability, and role and responsibilities of governments in providing accurate data.
By the end of the events, many students had expressed their motivation to participate RESAKSS Data Challenge and some had already formed working groups intent to enter the competition. A number of students expressed their interest in creating visual art projects, as well as more traditional projects. ReSAKSS looks forward to their Data Challenges submissions – and the powerful innovation it brings throughout their communities and the continent of Africa. Winners will be rewared during the ReASAKSS Annual conference in November 2019 in Lome, Togo.
By Oumou Diouf, Hawa Dio and Julie Kurtz.