KAMPALA – Uganda’s 23-member robotics team from Young Engineers Uganda is set to represent the nation at the Vex Robotics World Championship come 2023 in the USA.
Young Engineers Uganda – a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education programme of the African School of Innovations Science and Technology (ASIST) Ltd, whose mission is to nurture the next generation of Uganda scientists, innovators, problem solvers and creative thinkers – using a LEGO and Robotics after school curriculum was invited by Mr. Dan Mantz CEO Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
“We are pleased to invite VEX Robotics team 40155A from Uganda to the United States for the 2023 VEX Robotics World Championship presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation in Dallas, Texas, from April 25-May 4. In addition to competing in this prestigious event, there are several schools and educational institutions in the region that the team may be interested in visiting,” reads part of his invitation.
Young Engineers Uganda will be battling over 2,200 teams from over 50 countries at the competition happening in Dallas, Texas from April 25- May 4, 2023.
Mr. Matnz also encouraged the Embassy of the United States’ Consular Services in Uganda to extend Visas to the team, noting that the VEX Robotics World Championship presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation is the culminating event of the robotics season and unites the top student-led robotics teams from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments and to compete as we seek to crown World Champions.
“The experience is designed to motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math while building self-confidence, communication, and problem-solving skills,” he added in a letter dated December 20, 2022.
He explained that the experience is designed to motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math while building self-confidence, communication, and problem-solving skills.
“We are confident that participating teams will have a great experience at the event. We are also providing participating teams recommendations on activities and local attractions. Please understand that all expenses in the US, including air tickets, domestic transportation, food, lodging, and insurance as well as personal costs will be the responsibility of the visiting guest,” he concluded.
Speaking on the development, Mr. Arinaitwe Rugyendo, the Young Engineers Uganda Founder noted that team comprises 23 participants, 18 of whom are teenagers, 5 are adults who also double as team coaches.
“Out of the 18 competitors on our team, eight are girls, a move that is in line with one of our missions which is to place as many young girls as possible onto the STEM Education grid,” he said.
Team Uganda made the country proud in July this year when they won a bronze medal at the Pan African Robotics Competitions (PARC 2022) in Dakar, Senegal.
The children came fourth on the continent and number one in East Africa in competition that drew 30 countries together from July 1-5.
The competition was held under the theme: “Sustainable Impact” and participating students from the entire continent were challenged to create robotics and drone solutions for climate change adaptation, hunger, water, sanitation and transport in Africa.
Participating students got a unique opportunity to learn how to use science and technology to find innovative solutions to societal problems.
The competition was sponsored by such big names as the World Bank Group, Vex Robotics, Freedom Robotics, MathWorks, Deloite, Carnegie Mellon University-Rwanda, the Republic of Rwanda, MasterCard, UB.Tech, among others.
Participating team received free robotics kits while winners were placed on a pedestal for potential scholarship opportunities in different technology institutions around the globe.
What Team Uganda will do at Vex
Team Uganda has been placed under VEX IQ category where they will compete in the competition themed “Slapshot.” VEX IQ Competition Slapshot is played on a 6? x 8? rectangular field. Two robots will compete in the ‘Teamwork Challenge’ as an alliance in 60-second-long teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points.
The field hold disc dispensers, which are scored into the goal zones. The object of the game is to score as many points as possible with your alliance partner by scoring Discs in Goal Zones, removing Discs and touching Contact Zones at the end of the Match.
“Our students are supposed to build a robot that can slap/shot the discs into the goal zones,” says Ms. Allen Nanyonjo, Head of STEAM at Young Engineers and also Head Coach -Team Uganda.
She adds that our world “faces a serious problem and without explicit and intentional action, we will eventually stagnate global progress and lead to a workforce that is unmotivated and ill-equipped to solve its future problems.”
“As the world grows more technologically complex, the challenges become more complex leading to an acute need of problem solvers. That is what we intend to achieve with our children at Vex Robotics Championship 2023,” she says.
Team Uganda Composition:
Maureen Karamagi Rugyendo – Team Leader
Sheila Ankunda Kajwengye – Deputy Team Leader
Allen Nanyonjo- Team Coach
Mellon Kenyangi- Assistant Coach
Monica Arinaitwe- Assistant Coach
Queen Ankunda Kajwengye – Student
Lowena Mwiza Rugyendo – Student
Gabriel Josephat Kawalya – Student
Pearl Mukama Ayebare – Student
Ethan Samuel Kazoora – Student
Celine Bwesigye Nyonyozi – Student
Leona Pauline Muhangi – Student
Aleem Israel Mangalji – Student
Gillian Victoria Namubiru- Student
Liam Mukisa- Student
Adreal Kendrick Atuhaire- Student
Timothy Rwasiina- Student
Jonathan Magezi Nteza- Student
Alvin Carmi Kyambadde- Student
John Gideon Ssengendo- Student
Micthell Salter Chibuike- Student
Ciara Bwesigye Kyamutetera- Student
Leonard Ssengooba Kabanda – Student
About Vex World Robotics Championships
The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest growing middle school and high school robotics program globally. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete year-round.
In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking. The VEX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators with 95% of participants reporting an increased interest in STEM subject areas and pursuing STEM-related careers.
About Young Engineers Uganda
Founded in 2016 by media entrepreneur and journalist, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Young Engineers Uganda is part of the worldwide Young Engineers educational enrichment programme Founded in 2008, in Israel. Globally, Young Engineers operates Engineering after-school activities in over 50 countries. Its mission is to prepare 4–15-year-old students for the changing demands of the 21st-century workforce. With over 30,000 happy students globally, Young Engineers has been recognized by the Harvard School of Education and the European Union Commission.
“At Young Engineers, we believe in engaging our students’ education processes while developing their learning skills. We understand that every child has a different technique for learning and retaining information; yet, we have found out that making learning fun is the lowest common denominator for a successful education. We have meticulously generated hands-on curricula, which combine education and entertainment, creating our unique “edutainment” method, using a LEGO and Robotics curriculum,” Rugyendo says.
In Uganda, the programme runs in partner schools, most especially Heritage International School, British School of Uganda and several other private schools.