US, Telco seek tech solutions to Zim hot car deaths

US embassy charge d’ affairs Laurence Socha said his country admired the desire by Zimbabweans to expand access to, and adoption of emerging technologies.

The United States Embassy and Telco Broadband and Beyond are supporting Learning Factory, a local educational technology organisation, to expand access to, and use of contemporary and emerging technologies among Zimbabwe’s emerging technology enthusiasts.

Last Thursday, the partners hosted a reception to launch Texpo 2024, a technology showcase for contemporary and emerging technologies.

The event allowed young persons, mostly high school students, to develop solutions to contemporary challenges.

This year participants will develop tech solutions to prevent  hot car deaths.

Winners will travel to Cape Town, South Africa and the United States for additional exposure to emerging tech initiatives.

US embassy charge d’ affairs Laurence Socha said his country admired the desire by Zimbabweans to expand access to, and adoption of emerging technologies.

“Our support for this event is in line with the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) initiated by the White House during the African Leaders Summit in December 2022 to ensure people across Africa can participate fully in the global digital economy,” said Socha.

The head of Learning Factory Addi Mavengere said six teams- one from Ghana- will develop solutions to preventing hot car deaths- witnessed in the country recently.

“These incidents are likely to increase with the heat waves and changes in weather patterns,” noted Mavengere.

Recently, the media reported the death of four infants in Hopley because they were playing in a vehicle.

In November 2023, three kids died in a similar incident.

High data costs, limited internet access and technological affordability and competence limit Zimbabweans' ability to enjoy benefits that come with emerging technologies.

“With Texpo 24 we are looking at growing a community not just an expo- a community of people who believe in growing digital skills, building a pipeline for digital products and services so that we as digital organizations in Zimbabwe not only serve our local communities but are able to compete globally with the power of contemporary and emerging technologies,” Mavengere said.

TeXpo creates a platform for technology stakeholders, educators, and students to share experiences, learn about, and experience the technologies that are transforming life today and re-defining the future.

In 2023, students designed solutions that sought to ease traffic congestion at busy intersections, detect household gas leakages, and enable automatic switch overs from one source of electricity to another without human intervention.

 Mavengere, a Mandela Washington Fellowship alumnus, founded the Learning Factory after his return from the US in 2018.

“I got to see how technology is used in the United States, to enhance their business, to grow and to do things that in Zimbabwe we were not able to do back then,” said Mavengere.

His initial work sought to make education fun and inspire learning to bridge the gap between access and availability as well as the skills gap among educators and students.

The organisation created products such as Study Box which required less to no data.

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