Microsoft is trying in the best way possible to involve students in the search for solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. That is why the tech giant has been running the Imagine Cup contest which calls for students to use technology to help achieve UN Millenium development goals.
Today, 28th Feb, marked the day when Kenya signed peace with itself and restored sanity after a very acrimonius 2007 general elections. The same 3rd anniversary saw Microsoft come out to call on Kenyan students to create solutions to UN Millenium Development goals by participating in the Imagine Cup.
Imagine Cup is a chance for University students around the world to unlock their creative side to solve world problems. The UN Millenium development goals are not a requirement but are just the guiding light to inspire competitors. The problems are hunger, poverty, disease, illiteracy just to mention but a few.
Students also have a chance to gain invaluable skills when participating and experience the real world tech competition through interaction with competitors from other countries and continents. Arnold Ogolla who is a former competitor say “Competing at the Global Imagine Cup contest has aroused in us a passion to envision a company that would help rural populations and Africa as a whole’.
Imagine Cup 2010 Winners
The winners in the cup walks away with Prize money totaling $300,000 with individual prizes of upto $25,000 including opportunities for internships at Microsoft research labs among other benefits. Vincent Mugambi who is a developer and platform manager at Microsoft East and Southern Africa said, “What begins with a burst of inspiration and a lot of hard work can become a future software breakthrough, a jump start for a career, or a flouring new industry.
In 2010, more than 325,000 students particpiated from 120 countries. A group called Skeek from Thailand won. And for the first time this year, International NGOs, intergovernmental organisations and non profits have been invited to submit real problems for the students to consider for their projects through a new program called Imagine Cup solve This. This is to provide a marketplace of ideas where students can select and address issues that matter most, according to Vincent Mugambi.
Teh imagine cup contest lasts for one year with Local, regional and online stages with the main theme being “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems. And no matter who comes with the solution-everybody wins“.
Check out Imagine Cup Contest website for more.