Three Komani pupils who designed an app aimed at mitigating hunger in their community excelled in a national information technology competition when they were placed in the top six among 455 participants.
Get Ahead College Grade 9 pupils Ambesa Mphendukana, Ayahluma Ngcanga and Sisonke Ceke developed an app called Hope Away From Home for the South African goIT Challenge.
The competition’s participants were tasked to come up with app ideas that could solve “real-world” problems in their communities.
The Komani trio were part of the six finalist teams who had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the judges.
The 15-year-olds said the app was aligned to the zero hunger world sustainable development goal, which would enable small food donations — for those in need — in their town.
The pupils took three months to develop the app and pitched it to a panel of judges last week during a virtual session.
The school is no stranger to the competition, having come second in the 2020 edition.
Speaking to the Dispatch on Monday, the pupils said they had learnt the technology “know-how” of developing an app through the school’s Fourth Industrial Revolution and innovation classes.
Ambesa said she and her teammates had identified food security as a serious challenge in their community.
“Hope Away From Home aims to provide a helping hand to those in need,” she said.
Ayahluma explained how the app worked.
A person in need puts in their details on the app and how they can be contacted. We placed a Google map on the app so that we are able to locate the people needing food
“A person in need puts in their details on the app and how they can be contacted.
“We placed a Google map on the app so that we are able to locate the people needing food.
“The app comes at no cost to the user and does not require data,” Ayahluma said.
She said the app would be accessible with an internet link for its users.
Sisonke said: “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu [a person is a person because of other people], and this app could help a lot of people as Komani has a lot of poor people who beg for food.”
Vicki du Preez, the executive head of the school, said the goIT Challenge was a platform for pupils to produce concept pitches that could lead to further development of apps.
She said the school was extremely proud of the girls, who had “grabbed the challenge with both hands”.
“The app is meant to improve the livelihoods of the less fortunate.
“Their work ties in with one of the pillars of the school, which is a vision of excellence while encouraging innovative mindsets.
“As far as we know, we were the only school in the Eastern Cape to participate; in last year’s competition, we came second.
“We are also proud to be associated with initiatives such as the Sakhikamva Foundation — an organisation involved in skills development for young people — which are at the forefront of the competition,” Du Preez said.
She said such initiatives gave young people the opportunity to develop skills which ordinarily were out of their reach.
The pupils said they hoped to further develop the app as time goes by.
Ambesa said the app would need sponsorships and donations for its purpose of giving back to the community to be fulfilled.
The trio said they had first put pen to paper to construct the app’s design and storyboard.
They then moved it onto a software programme that allowed them to create a homescreen and include a map.