As the world continues to evolve with advances in technology, emerging economies surely don’t want to be left behind in this growing innovation.
Education has been the key in championing this course, however, it has to be a tailored form of knowledge sharing that will ensure its equal distribution.
The advent of STEM education has proven effective in making this needed change across developing and underdeveloped countries.
Recently, we had a chat with Stanley Anigbogu, Chief Executive Officer, ArtecHubs, who is championing STEM education to equip young people from the age of 6 to 18 years old, with skills in coding, robotics, local technology and entrepreneurship.
Stanley is a young Nigerian techpreneur currently in his third year at Ecole Nationale Des Sciences Appliquees, Morrocco, where he is studying Multimedia Development.
A quick background
Stanley explained that he was inspired owing to the kind of movies (Science fiction ) he was exposed to while growing up. The movies according to him gave him the ability to imagine outside the world around him.
“I started with wires, batteries at the age of five, since then, I have been exploring, trying to come up with my own inventions, solving problems using science and technology. I am also passionate about problem-solving. “
Stanley started STEM training for young people in 2018 a project he has continued to date and has partnered NGOs like Atlas for development in Morocco, to conduct stem training for students, in rural communities and according to Stanley the project has impacted over 5000 students.
ArtecHub is focused on conducting free and paid training for students in schools at a very affordable rate
“So our aim and focus is to use the materials that students could find around them to solve problems, reorientating them that they need a million dollar to solve problems”
Project T Free
Project T free was a one-time project by ArtecHub during the heat of the pandemic, however, Stanley stated that COVID-19 is no longer prevalent, thus some people are no longer interested in having that type of technology.
Stanley explained that the T stands for ‘touch’, which is an automated hand sanitizer dispenser that deploys motion sensors to eject sanitizers.
The inbuilt security system indicates an individual who hasn’t use the hand sanitizer, therefore it bars you from making entry unless you sanitize your hands.
But during the pandemic, ArtecHub sold 21 units of T Free across NGOs, hospitals, and rural communities.
NGOs like Peace First and the French Embassy in Morocco actually purchased 15 of the 21 units of T free which was distributed to rural communities that needed the device.
“This was something that we did during the pandemic, after that, it was just a one-time project, but in that the future we hope to come up with that type of technology that is going to be way more advance.
In the future, you’re going to have more viruses or more diseases that are going to come up and we have to be ready with the logical solutions to solve them, however, the focus of Artech bub is to solve problems at hand using science and technology.”
“So that was what made the product innovative, that it doesn’t allow anyone to pass into a given space unless you get to sanitize your hands. And that gave us the opportunity to be the very first people to design such automated hand sanitizer dispenser with a security system that is 100%.”
Stanley’s STEM project for young people through ArtecHub landed him as a finalist at the 2020 Falling Walls Foundation, a German-based Foundation in Berlin.
According to Stanley, the program exposed him to top people in the field of science and technology. In the category he participated in, a Nobel prize winner in Physics emerged.
Stanley also again participated in this year’s edition of the same program that saw him elected as a winner in the Breakthrough in science engagement category to represent Nigeria in Berlin.
Stanley’s project in STEM has also seen him bag the Diana Awards, an award given to young people across the world, in memory of Princess Diana Wales.
The award is targeted at young leaders doing incredible things to change and solve problems in their communities.
“I was one of the eight Nigerians to receive the award, because of all we’re doing using STEM education to promote gender equality in the STEM field and also solving problems using science and local technology.”
Stanley was also the winner of the SA innovation summit Facebook garage competition 2019 and Alinov International boot camp Morocco 2020 amongst many others.
“So these are all the experiences that we get. And it was really getting that global exposure to what science and technology is doing outside Africa and what it can do inside Africa.”
Combining two responsibilities
On schooling and managing his position as the CEO of Artechub, Stanley mentioned that when you have a passion for what you do, it will no longer be stressful for you, because your passion drives the required necessity.
According to Stanley, it takes some energy and effort in trying to make a balance, while pursuing his undergraduate degree and planning for further studies, there is also a need in dedicating time to what you love doing.
“We have 24 hours, it depends on how you want to use it. And for me, I tend to divide my time I study and given that what I am studying is aligned with what I am doing, it helps me grow both ways.
But at the end of the day, it takes a lot, and sometimes I give myself a break. And also when you have a team, you are able to remove some of the stress from your side and have people that would work for you and get paid.
So that’s quite different. And that’s what makes it easier. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t lie. It’s really stressful. But for passion, it keeps you moving”
Hardware vs Software technology
As stated earlier, T free wasn’t ArtecHub’s major focus in deploying hardware tech or using that type of technology to solve problems, however, the hardware infrastructure hasn’t enjoyed much concentration on the African continent.
There is no doubt that the software ecosystem in Africa has recorded significant success, with as many African startups raising funds in huge numbers.
The question now remains why do we not invest in hardware because, at the end of the day, the software is always going to need hardware infrastructure to run.
“And I think the problem that innovators are not leveraging is owing to the industrialization pace and the number of industries in Africa that are actually working on hardware are very low compared to China, the USA
In Africa, we didn’t evolve in that industrial age as fast as they did, and because the world is moving fast into the digital age and into the age of AI. Africa is trying to catch up.
And that’s why Africans are always going to rely on the western world for those components to run their software.
So the truth is, I think we have to start slow start with small devices, we could start with hairdryers, we could start with washing machines.”
According to Stanley, ArtechHub is also providing reading lamps built-in plastic containers for students in rural communities as part of how it is leveraging on hardware.
“It’s hard for us because some of the components used, like the batteries, have to be ordered from China. When you look at ordering from China and producing in Nigeria, the cost is not favorable for production in Nigeria.
So the major thing is, if our government and our leaders can invest more into the industrialized industrial sector, I think that will help us a lot, it will make the job easier.
We could start small then evolve, then software, we’re always going to be updated in software, because Nigerians are always tech savvy when it comes to digital still true blue, I believe that we are already on a global scale when it comes in the software tech even in Africa.
We are currently the software markets in tech companies in Africa. So I believe we already have that gap. And also take a leap back and look at how we can industrialize and want to move forward from that.”
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild.africa weekly digest for updates.