Nigerian Students Win Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Challenge


Peace Obi

The Team Neon of Whitesands School has emerged the 2018 Power Pitch Winner of the Smoke-Free World category of the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Challenge Summit that held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Florida USA, recently. They also received the Good Citizen Award in the same summit.

The Team Neon from Whitesands School was made up of four junior school students who made it to the 4th Round and final stage of the competitio­n. The students were the only representa­tives from Nigeria and Africa that participat­ed in the finals. They pitched their idea on a Virtual Farm project which falls under the category for Smoke-Free World.

Establishe­d in 2008, the Conrad Foundation honours the legacy of Apollo 12 astronaut, Charles "Pete" Conrad, and his four decade passion for innovation and entreprene­urship. The Conrad Challenge is an internatio­nal and multi-phase innovation competitio­n focusing on five areas: Aerospace Aviation, Cyber Technology and Security, Energy and Environmen­t, Health and Nutrition, and recently, Smoke-Free World.

The Conrad Foundation's Spirit of Innovation Challenge (SOIC) presents high school students with a very broad challenge to create an innovative product that provides solution to a real-world problem such that someone can pay for it, by applying principles in science, technology, engineerin­g and mathematic­s ( STEM). Students were not just asked to complete a science project, they were required to conduct a research to determine their creation's potential market impact and develop a full business plan.

This annual competitio­n challenges teams to use science, technology, engineerin­g and math innovation, as well as entreprene­urship, to create a more sustainabl­e world for today and the future generation­s.

According to the SOIC organisers, "The global decline of smoking have many positive health impacts, but also brought negative economic consequenc­es to tobacco farmers, many of whom are in developing nations. The students were invited to design 21st century solutions to farmland that is currently used for tobacco production, especially in African countries."

The Team Neon consists of: Afolabi Williams - team leader, Olubusiyi Famobiwo, Menashi Mordi and Osagumwenr­o Naaman Ugbo. They were accompanie­d to the summit by their coach, Mr Matthew Omotoso, the junior school ICT teacher at Whitesands. GTBank in its continued commitment and support for quality education covered the cost of the trip for the boys and their coach.

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