Super Impact Saturday
Students, individuals and organisation teams from across the country took time to attend the Super Impact Saturday event held on March 25, 2017 by Impact Hub Harare in partnership with Dandemutande, the ISP which owns UMAX, and the Discovereum. The Discovereum is Zimbabwe’s first children’s museum. The focus of the museum is to foster edutainment in a highly interactive and fun environment.
The event comprised of Zimbabwe’s inaugural Facebook Bot Party as part of the global Facebook Messenger Challenge as well as a Maker fair powered by Siemens Stiftung. Designers, creators and prototype developers took to the stage where they were able to exhibit the various projects they are working on, from automated chicken feeders to programmable robots fabricated with everyday material.
The event set out to show the diversity of innovation and creativity through the exhibition of physical products/prototypes as well as digital technical innovation. Both factions sharing a common principle of innovation and idealism. This combination of events presented a balanced overview of how innovation, idea development and creativity can be expressed digitally and physically. Fundamentally, the event served an experiential learning opportunity.
The Facebook Bot Party/Challenge had 88 participants with 40% of them being female. These young software developers and keen minds grew an interest in learning how to develop artificial intelligence in this case a Facebook messenger bot.
Two Facebook representatives Emilar Ghandi and Fadzai Madzingira came in on the day to participate in the overall presentation and activity. Ghandi addressed the Facebook Bot Party participants and present audience inaugurating the event. There was palpable excitement as participants got in their seats and the event commenced.
Mr. Nhena Nyagura, CEO of Dandemutande attended the event. His team provided excellent internet service and brought a crew of 15 students from Hatcliffe in order to expose them to local and international innovation practices and to let them participate in the discussion from their valuable viewpoint. Much gratitude is held to Dandemutande for their effort as they stretched deep into their resources to make the event a huge success.
Kuzivakwashe Muvezwa, who was the technical lead at the event, gave an introductory presentation describing key points about a messenger bot and how one can be developed. Participants began developing messenger bots. Some of the Facebook bot developers took time to observe some of the physical innovations that were being exhibited at the Impact Hub Harare Maker’s Fair.
The Maker Fair had some wonderful presentations on show, made by local innovators from vastly diverse fields including fashion, mechanical engineering and waste material art design. One group showcased an automated chicken feeder. The feeder regulated the amount of chicken feed released and at regulated time intervals. Such interaction gave the participants a glimpse of tangible creativity. As most were dealing with the digitized and virtual aspect of the event.
A notable addition to the Maker Fair was The Maker Club, which focuses on young makers. This form of edutainment kept the children engaged throughout the fair.
Such brilliant products and services can make an impact locally and foster a drastic transformation globally. Siemens Stiftung, a partner in the Makerspace project buoyed the Maker Fair event and will continue assisting as the Makerspace feasibility study in the hope of establishing the first Makerspace in Zimbabwe.
Facebook has shown great expectation as far as African tech innovation allowing organisations such as Impact Hub Harare to host events like the Facebook Bot Party–the first ever of its kind in Zimbabwe. Similarly Siemens Stiftung continues to power physical innovation all across Africa boosting neo industrialization on the African content.
The dual event was certainly lively and vibrant with all age groups from different backgrounds educationally and socio-economically interacting and sharing great ideas. Surely everyone and anyone left with an innovation hangover and had an eye-opening experience. The future certainly seems optimistic with Zimbabwe’s youth. A true seed of hope has been sown.