Whenever innovation flourishes among children, it must be wholly harnessed and nurtured, in order to create better futures. At times, children do really come up with impressive solutions, but these may suffer a stillbirth due to lack of funding, lack of further training, among other factors.
In Nigeria, a 10-year-old boy won a tech contest with a plastic road design. The boy presented his prototype for plastic roads as a solution for a future city with roads that are remarkably sustainable.
A tech project that required children to come up with problem-based solutions was held by the Exquitec Educational Technology in the city of Ijebu-Ode. Children were required to identify a problem in the city of Ojebu-Ode that needed to be solved. Then after identifying the problem, they would offer a solution, and to test their critical thinking skills, they were required to create a prototype for such a solution.
In building the prototype, they were required to use recyclable waste materials procured from their immediate surroundings. The goal was to evoke the imagination of the children, combined with their education so that they can create solutions for Ijebu-Ode in the future. Children were put to a real test, but that only helped to showcase the creativity and intelligence they possess at such young ages.
The winner, Oluwafayokunmi Olurinola, created roads "layered with materials made of plastic and bitumen to prevent potholes caused by water and increase the lifespan of the roads. A means to reuse plastic waste for cleaner environment and while creating job opportunities"
When it comes to building cities, the ideas of these children will certainly be needed. Other concepts from other children included a smart green city running on biogas, a city run by electricity produced from solar panels and windmills with excess power being stored in batteries and others.
The CEO of Exquitec Educational Technology said, "We need to begin to expose our kids to this concept and skills, which are needed for the 21st century work-place and also to make them problem solvers and not just consumers of technology."
The hope is that these children will get the full support they need in order to make these noble ideas come to life. The future of African cities definitely depends on them.
Header image credit - All Africa