In celebration of the upcoming South African Human Rights Day this month, the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation will be hosting a “AI in Mitchells Plain” bootcamp for girls to discover the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the youth.
In partnership with Fliptin, Microsoft and Idea Collective, the foundation will host the much anticipated bootcamp from 15 to 17 March as an attempt to address the systematic exclusion of youth in a variety of 21st century careers by offering a powerful platform to acquire new tools and knowledge, bettering their prospects at female digital inclusion and subsequently, socio-economic forecast.
As part of a nationwide initiative, “AI in Mitchells Plain” kickstarts the 2019 “AI in Africa” tour across South Africa for girls aged 15 to 18 years old in historically disadvantaged communities to create purposeful, high impact solutions that tackle challenges ranging from community safety to unemployment and education.
60 girls from 6 schools in and around Mitchells Plain have been selected to learn the concepts and ethics of digital technology and how to apply technology to their daily lives to create solutions for their communities. The three-day exercise will expose these learners to a working environment of cutting-edge technologies including how to build computer chatbots, package their individual tech ideas and solutions, and pitch their innovations to a panel of judges.
Following the success of the programme with schools in Soweto in 2018, the girls of Mitchells Plain will be mentored by leading professionals and entrepreneurs, led by technology consultancy Fliptin and facilitated by Idea Collective, to deliver a stimulating and challenging series of workshops to excite and inspire the youth to reach their fullest.
Building a legacy for ongoing development in the education of youth is a key pillar in the work of the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation and is a fundamental feature of the AI in Africa bootcamps through the introduction of Design Thinking. Design Thinking is a revolution in traditional thought process and teaching methodology, enabling teachers and learners to explore problems, experiment with solutions and arrive at innovative and responsive designs through an integrated combination of conceptual and applied skills. This prepares teachers and learners to become flexible, problem-solving thinkers outside the boundaries of a single discipline.
Lillian Barnard, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa commented, “We are proud to be involved with such an initiative that aims to harness the STEM skills young girls need to become problem solvers and build successful careers in these fields. The AI revolution has begun in Africa, and it’s going to empower and enable us to do more than ever before. Approximately 80 percent of jobs created in the next ten years will require a blend of science, technology, engineering and maths, but right now only about 30 percent of the science and technology workforce in Africa is comprised of women – indicating a massive gap that urgently needs to be addressed.”
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