Quoi de Nerde?

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Voici Quoi de Nerde, le bulletin d’iNERDE, une entreprise sociale créant l’opportunité pour la jeunesse de l’Afrique.

iNERDE amène le Mali à Washington, DC !

Appel à la jeunesse du Mali ! iNERDE va amener une équipe des élèves lycéens maliens à Washington, DC – le capital des États-Unis – pour une compétition internationale en robotiques. Pas besoin d’être déjà former en robotique,  nous allons t’enseigner, gratuitement, tous qu’il faut savoir. Mais, nous cherchons les élèves sérieux et travailleurs, dotés d’une grande envie d’apprendre et passionné par la science et la technologie. Nous allons montrer au monde que la jeunesse du Mali a du talent !

TeamMali

124 pays vont participer à la compétition robotique FIRST Global du 16 au 18 juillet. Cet évènement est les « jeux olympiques » de l’éducation moderne. FIRST a confié à iNERDE la responsabilité de former l’équipe nationale du Mali et de l’amener aux États-Unis pour la compétition.

CarteEquipes

Ce n’est pas tout. Du 11 au 13 mai, le Panafrican Robotics Competion PARC sera tenu à Dakar et iNERDE sera là avec les équipes maliennes de l’école fondamentale (2ème cycle) et du lycée.

 

PARCWeb

Afin d’assurer que les équipes soient les vraies équipes nationales, iNERDE a sollicité le gouvernement du Mali à parrainer l’activité et nous avons rassemblé des autres organismes concernés par l’éducation et le développement du Mali à se rejoindre à nous. Beaucoup a répondu.

Cette semaine le gouvernement du Mali va diffuser l’annonce suivante :

Sous l’égide du Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique, dans le cadre de la promotion du domaine des sciences, de la technologie, de l’ingénierie et des mathématiques appelé STEM et en continuité de la Fête des Sciences, iNERDE, en partenariat avec la Cité des Enfants, l’ESIAU, l’AFIMA, CREATEAM, le Collège Horizon, et l’USTTB lance un appel à candidature pour la sélection des élèves du lycée et du second cycle pour la participation à deux compétitions internationales de robotique. Il s’agit des compétitions PARC au Sénégal, du 11 au 13 Mai 2017 et FIRST GLOBAL aux États-Unis, du 16 au 18 juillet 2017. Les élèves ainsi sélectionnés suivront une préparation intensive et gratuite en robotique et les meilleurs feront partie d’une équipe malienne. Les formulaires d’inscription seront disponibles à la Cité des Enfants de Bamako et le site web inerde.org/club. La date limite de dépôt des dossiers de candidature est fixée au 18 février 2017, à 9h00. Allez les jeunes, déposez rapidement vos dossiers!
Ensemble, montrons au monde que la jeunesse du Mali a du talent!

Nous lançons une campagne de communication pour informer et pour inspirer les maliens et le monde du travail de notre équipe nationale. Nous cherchons les sponsors pour soutenir les équipes et pour nous aider à saisir l’occasion pour répandre l’éducation STEM partout dans le pays. Pour plus d’informations, contactez notre chef du développement, Michael Leventhal, mleventhal@inerde.org.

La formation durera 10 semaines pour les élèves de l’école fondamentale, deuxième cycle et 5 mois pour les élèves du lycée. Vous pouvez accéder directement aux informations et au formulaire ici. Fais-le tout de suite! Un dossier complet doit être amené à la Cité des Enfants soit le 11 février soit le 18 février.

Depuis nous avons créé un bureau et notre centre à Bamako, iNERDE a fait les grands efforts pour construire les partenariats avec les autres organismes au Mali qui travaillent dans les domaines de l’éducation, les sciences, la technologie, et le développement économique afin que tous nos efforts soient amplifiés. Nous sommes très reconnaissants à FIRST pour leur recognition de notre travail. Nous avons, de maintenant, l’opportunité à offrir nos élèves une expérience insolite qui va changer leurs vies et nous avons l’opportunité à offrir au Mali une activité qui va inspirer tout le pays avec les accomplissements de leur jeunesse. iNERDE est aussi très reconnaissant à vous, nos supporters et nos amis, qui nous a soutenu au Mali depuis les derniers trois ans. Nous sommes là où nous sommes grâce à vous.

 

What’s Nerde

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Welcome to What’s Nerde, the newletter of iNERDE, a social enterprise creating opportunity for African youth.

iNERDE is bringing Malian kids to Washington, DC!

We have big news from Mali. iNERDE is going to bring a Malian high school team to Washington, DC for an international competition in robotics. We’re selecting Mali’s most nerdy kids and are going to teach them everything they need to know to shine on a world stage. We are going to show the world that the youth of Mali have talent, an enormous appetite for knowledge, and passion for science and technology.

TeamMali

124 countries are participating in the robotics competition FIRST Global July 16-18. This event is the “Olympic Games” of modern education. FIRST has asked iNERDE to train Mali’s national team and to bring them to the US for the competition.

 

MapTeams

That’s not all. The Panafrican Robotics Competion PARC will be held May 11-13 in Dakar, Senegal and iNERDE will be there with middle school and high school teams.

PARCWebWe’ve worked hard to ensure that the teams selected will represent the entire country. We asked the government to officially sponsor this activity and we asked the organizations working to improve education and further economic development in Mali to join with us. Many have.
The government of Mali began broadcasting across the various medias the following announcement:

Under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research as part of its mission to promote the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, commonly called STEM, and as a continution of the initiatives launched during Mali’s Celebration of the Sciences, iNERDE, in partnership with the City of Children, the School of Engineering, Architecture, and Urbanism, the Association of Women Engineers of Mali, CREATEAM, College Horizon, and the University of Science, Technical Disciplines, and Technology of Bamako, launch a call for candidates from middle schools and high schools to participate in two international robotics competitions. The compeitions are PARC, to be held in Senegal May 11-13 and FIRST Global to be held in the United States July 16-18. The students who are selected will participate in an intensive, free training program in robotics and the best students will represent Mali in the competitions. Applications will be available at the City of Children in Bamako and from the web site inerde.org/club. Applications must be completed by February 18 at 9am. Youth of Mali, get your applications in as soon as possible!
Together, we are going to show the world that the youth of Mali have talent!

 

We are launching a communications campaign to inform and inspire Malians and the world with the efforts of Mali’s national youth robotics teams. We are looking for sponsors to help support the teams and to help us seize this unique opportunity to implant STEM education in schools throughout the country. For more information about team sponsorship, please contact our Chief Nerdy Development Officer, Michael Leventhal, mleventhal@inerde.org.

The preparation of the teams will last 10 weeks for middle school students and 5 whole months for high school students. Malian students can download information and the application (in French) here. If you are interested, act quickly! The completed application and supporting documents must be presented at the City of Children, Bamako on either the 11th of February or the 18 of February.

Since having created a permanent office and learning center in Bamako, iNERDE has been working hard to build partnerships with other organizations in Mali working to advance education, science, technology and economic development. We are very grateful to the FIRST Foundation for their recognition of our efforts. We now have the opportunity to offer our students an extraordinary experience that we know will change the course of their lives in wonderful ways. We also have the opportunity to offer to Mali an event that is going to inspire the country with accomplishments of their youth that most would have believed to be unattainable for Malians. We are also very grateful to you, our supporters and our friends, for having stood with us these last three years. We are where we are now thanks only to you.

French Is NOT Spoken Here

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This is not French. It's N'ko, a script used for Manding languages.
This is not French. It’s N’ko, a script used for Manding languages.

In francophone Africa, no one speaks French.

The same is true for other countries where the languages imposed by colonizers, English, Portuguese, and Spanish, has been adopted. These are official languages of most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, yet, no one speaks these languages.

Speaks, so to speak. In the country where I live, Mali, no one speaks French as their mother tongue, and very few use French for everyday communication. Yet, virtually all written communication is in French, everything from the national ID card to billboards advertising Malian milk to warnings labels on pesticides. French is not only a language that Malians learn in school, it is the language of instruction, the language that teachers, from elementary school on, use with their students, even though both teachers and students speak a different language at home.

Mali, along with most African countries, has astronomically high levels of illiteracy. In my experience, the level of functional illiteracy is also astronomically high – people that have learned to read and write but not at the level needed to manage daily living and employment tasks.

French language is a big part of the problem. To become literate Malians must master a foreign language, a language that could not be more different than their mother tongue in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. In the United States, the level of functional illiteracy is estimated to be 14%. Imagine what that would become if Chinese were to be declared the language of instruction and the sole written language. Now, imagine that, at the same time, the resources for education in the United States were about 1/100th of what they are today. That is, to a reasonable approximation, the situation of Mali today.

French is the language that divides Malians. City and country. Cosmopolitan and traditional. Rich and poor. Social class can usually be instantly determined by the level of French of an interlocutor. The elite dazzle with a sophisticated spoken and written French that would not be out of place in the chic quarters of Paris. Government officials speak in French, meetings in the Ministries are conducted entirely in French. Most native Bamako residents communicate readily in spoken French, though often with an approximate grammar and a limited vocabulary. Tradesmen, merchants, and simple workers usually manage only the bare minimum. Not many write well in French, and not a few can’t write at all. Then there are the villagers, the immense underclass that come to the city to work as guards, maids, and laborers. Producing more than a few words of French puts them into the upper reaches of that underclass. The situation is similar in other cities of Mali, though with less and less French as the importance of the city decreases. Outside of the cities, knowledge of French is not common.

Why don’t Africans learn African languages instead of the foreign languages of the colonizers? In fact, it would help alot to raise the level of literacy. The reason that is most commonly given is, in my opinion, preferred only because it originates as a key element of the apologetics of the colonizers. In the African nation states there are many languages. Mali has one dominant language, Bambara, but it has 12 other minority languages. That is actually a somewhat manageable situation. Nigeria has over 500. Using the language of the colonizer favors no one group. It keeps the peace. Just as colonial armies imposed a peace over vast geographical areas and created the nation states that exist today.

The more potent reason African countries have no choice other than to use the language of the colonizers has been … money. African languages, with a handful of exceptions, were not written until the 20th century and there is drastic dearth of pedagogical materials and all kinds of books. The francophone African island country of Madagascar has attempted to replace French-language instruction with its national language, Malagasy. Malagasy is the sole native language of Madagascar and it has been written using an Arabic-based script for several hundred years. Despite the advantageous situation of Malagasy compared to other African languages, several waves of national initiatives have failed due to the lack of resources. Trained teachers, schoolbooks, and all the other trappings of a literate society. Madagascar is able to educate a small percentage of its population in French. When it attempted to educate all of its population in Malagasy, no one was educated.

In Mali, Bambara would likely be an acceptable choice, eventually, to replace French as the national language. There are the other 12 languages, but Bambara has, nonetheless, become the lingua franca of Mali. About 80% of the population can speak it and it is used for spoken communication between different language groups in Mali more often than French. It has been written using Latin characters for about 50 years. There are a small quantity of pedagogical materials, children’s books and dictionaries available in the language. Bilingual signs in Bambara and French are not an uncommon sight. Most Malians, however, cannot readily read written Bambara. In the last few decades, basic alphabetisation in Bambara is taught in many primary schools, but it doesn’t get much emphasis since everything is written in French.

There are only about 5 million native speakers of Bambara and perhaps another 10 million second language speakers. Economics render the creation of an educational system based on Bambara improbable. There are, however, possible paths forward to making an African language a first class language of education and communication. Bambara is a member of the Manding language family. Manding languages are close enough to each other to be considered mutually intelligiable. A writing system for all Manding languages, N’ko, was created in 1949 and has attained some level of acceptance in several countries. N’ko is based on the phonology of the Manding languages. As movements to teach phonetic spelling to English-speaking children promised some years ago, alphabetisation should be far easier in N’ko than in an ill-fitting Latin script. Unlike English, there is not an enormous body of written material which already exists in the Latin script, and therefore no need to go through a second stage where the student has to learn the actual writing system in use. N’ko could potentially lead to the development of a standardized Manding language, following a trajectory akin to Swahili, a constructed standard that now has 100 million speakers. Standard Manding would have 30-40 million native-equivalent speakers, forming a language group with an economy of scale.

For the time being, an N’ko-based standard Manding and many other projects to increase literacy through the development of African languages throughout the continent, is likely to rest the dream of a modest number of visionaries. Although such projects could have dramatic long term effects on development, there are always shorter term, urgent, problems in these countries which consume the meager resources available. I do, however, see a path forward. It’s technology. I’m here in Mali to teach technology to young people because I believe: 1) it can push Africa into exponential growth that will allow it to time warp the current growth curve that has most countries reaching developed world economic levels in 75 years and, 2) it will give African nations a fighting chance to end the 400-year old era of colonial and neo-colonial exploitation and to chart their own future. I’ve been using $15 Affordable Education robot to teach computer science. We’re going to start using the $1 foldscope microscope to teach biology. Eventually, technology wins because it is cheap and cheap is what we need here. I see a lot of potential uses for artificial intelligence in Africa to advance development; promotion of African languages is one of them. Machine learning techniques are getting very, very good at translation, language understanding, and contextual analysis. They have also become cheap, found for pennies a minute in the cloud. What if AI were used to produce a Manding pedagogical system and literature from translation and synthesis of existing Manding resources? Print is expensive and books are a luxury item for most Africans. But that problem is already almost solved, with $25 tablets and internet connectivity that – still too slowly! – is reaching to every corner of the world.

OK, in the very short run such a project won’t help Google sell many Adwords – but in the long run, it will. The African economies are the El Dorado that will grow unlike anywhere else on earth. The only question is how long it will take. And that question is tied to the education of African youth, whether that education will include the tools needed to apply technology to development. It’s a bootstrapping strategy. Technology can accelerate widespread education which will accelerate application of technology for economic development.

And the French language in Africa? Don’t get me wrong, having acquired French with decades of painful effort, I’m entirely in favor of its use in Africa and everywhere else in the world where there are still civilized people who want to understand why an entrée cannot be the main dish. But in Africa, as elsewhere, its proper place is as a true second language that does not supplant learning in one’s mother tongue.

Michael Leventhal lives in Bamako, Mali where he serves as Chief Nerdy Development Officer of iNERDE and also leads iNERDE’s computing education program. He may be contacted at mleventhal@inerde.org.

Empowering Youth with Opportunity in Africa

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All young people generally are going to go into business at one point in their life or the other. So why not prepare for it? Why not be ready for it? Why not get all the skills and the information you need? Dr. Kigozi, who has worked throughout Africa to teach better STEM education, has said time and again that a knowledgeable woman is an empowered woman, a confident woman. And she will speak up. But when she does not know things, she becomes society’s problem, because women will sit quietly and let opportunities pass them by. That being said, capacity building for women and gaining additional knowledge is how you can truly enjoy success in your business endeavours. But this requires education, training, and mentoring.

Give STEM a chance

Continuing Education and Training

There are internships and programs to help in industries like manufacturing. In fact, the World Bank has supported interns to come and work with companies like Pepsi in order to gain the experience they need to start their professional path. But you do not have to be in a big company, according to Dr. Kigozi. You can gain internships with small shops and still learn quite a bit. Knowledge is power. And some knowledge comes at a cost. That cost might be working in an unpaid internship. But you must understand that this is an opportunity to be appreciated, valued. Just because you do not earn an income from an internship does not make it useless. In fact, most of them are more useful than you might think.

Emergency Locksmith Services for Your Office

For those who work with young people in mentoring programs, in offices as interns, even in small shops, making sure the office stays safe is important. There are a few situations more frustrating than slamming shut the office door or the company car door and seeing the keys are still inside and all the doors are locked up tight. Fumbling around for your office keys only to remember that you left them on your desk the night before can cause a serious panic. That is why there are professional locksmith services which offer mobile year-round support for lockout situations just like this. These locksmith services can be called upon to get your company door open as quickly as possible. Locksmiths understand that companies need to make sure everything is not only secure but that business is not compromised in any financial detrimental fashion.

One of the best ways to guarantee that nothing was compromised is to make sure that the business runs as smoothly as possible no matter what pickups might appear. A single phone call can help you to overcome the feelings of frustration or embarrassment by dispatching someone to the office location immediately to handle the situation. Keeping your office secure is well worth the cost.

Everybody makes this mistake. In fact lockout services of the most commonly called upon locksmith service. Lockout services can even happen unexpectedly when equipment malfunctions for unforeseen circumstances cause keys to be lost or stolen. In each of these situations you can call upon professional services to quickly and effectively open the doors for you and get you back on track.

The Africa You Don’t Know

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TheAfricaYouDontKnow

I was scared the first time I came to Sub-Saharan Africa. The country where I now live, where, perhaps, my future lies, is very near the bottom of every ranking of human progess. Mali sits at 10th from the bottom on the venerable United Nations Human Development Index – in the bucket of countries with Low Human Development. A click-bait list of most dangerous countries put Mali at 3rd, Save the Children pegs Mali as the 4th worst country in the world to be a girl. Ebola, coup d’état, islamists, female genital mutilation, child soldiers, AIDS, genocide, war and famine, misery on a dantesque scale – Hello Africa! My formerly great country, languishing at 6th from the top, has a nominal per capita GDP of $56,000, Mali’s is 1/80th of that, $700. As my plane descended on Bamako my gut tightened as I imagined the scenes of horror I might encounter, the begging, the misery, the corruption, the insecurity.

I have not encountered scenes of horror, though the difference in economic development between where I came from and where I am now is real. Some might be shocked by the difference, but having been throughly mediatized to expect the worst my first impressions were more positive than not. Here is first thing you don’t know about Africa: life here is mostly “normal”. Normal, as in a large portion of the population goes to work every day, feels stressed on the job, has a home they are proud of, loves their children, worries about their future, and sacrifices enormously for their education, enjoys time with family, looks forward to holidays, spends a lot of time in traffic jams, discusses politics, watches many of the same television shows as people in Lincoln, Nebraska (though they have a vastly more international menu of choices), and are constantly staring at their smartphone screens. Yes, there are a lot more poor people and, yes, the absolute economic level of both well-to-do and poor is considerably below the respective categories in the high development countries. I live in the capital which has basic services (electricity, water, phone coverage, hospitals, police, public transportation); elsewhere in the country, such services can be rare. Many people have truly hard lives here – one witnesses this every single day. But the vast majority of people get by, and, for many, there is a normalcy to life that does not differ greatly from normal in Lincoln.

Mali is “normal” in other ways you don’t know. It’s a fiercely democratic, secular country. The press is diverse, active, and, extremely critical of the powers that be. It’s a country with a large muslim majority – a deeply religious one at that – which has never deviated from the complete and unequivocable practice of freedom of religion and tolerance. It is a country of laws which follows international standards in labor, protection of children, women’s rights, and individual liberty. Yes, there are violations of those laws and areas where enforcement may be lax. Many, in government and outside it, are working to improve these situations. There certainly must be corruption – there is corruption everywhere – but bribery, at least, is not an integral part of daily life here.

The thing that you have never imagined is that an African country can have 1/80 of your per capita income but be better than you in some very significant areas: preservation of the extended family, national pride, a sense of national purpose, social solidarity, and a belief in the future of the country and a determination to work together to make that future bright. Malians organize, there are a multitude of associations working to solve problems and build a better country. For example, Mali is the only country I know of that has formed a “Parliament of Children”, an official body representing all the regions of the country where the children themselves have a national platform to talk about their problems. In Mali, I feel more hope in the future than I did my own rich but fractured country that seems to have lost social cohesion, sense of purpose, gratitude for its gifts and … humility.

When I left the life I had known in Silicon Valley to come to Mali I wrote a blog that explained why I believed it was time for me to move on other things. I promised to answer later, Why Africa? Here is my answer. The African continent is growing at a much higher rate than anywhere else in the world and this will continue for a long time. There is everything to do here. There are real needs, everywhere, and the opportunity to build things that will profoundly enrich countless lives – not just momentarily distract the already over-satiated. The Africans are ready. You may think that they are not because they are starting with an 80X deficit and you don’t see the progress, only the overwhelming problems. You definitely don’t see the numbers of capable people Africa is producing now with the determination to seize the opportunity. They are here.

It will not be easy for Africans to eliminate an 80X deficit. But the deficit is in infrastructure, not in individual attainment. While education has a cost, knowledge is free and there is no insurmountable barrier that prevents a kid in Africa today from acquiring the same intellectual tools as a kid in the US. I’ve taught talented kids in the heart of Silicon Valley and I’ve taught kids in Bamako. The ability to learn is the same, but the African kids have the advantage in motivation. Education is the one area where a small investment early on yields a lifetime of elevated productivity. How small an investment can make a significant impact? Let me give an example. I used the Affordable Educaton Robot (AERobot), designed for Africa, as a tool to teach programming, robotics, electronics, and physics here in Bamako – with great success. What is the number one thing that makes it an “African robot”? Cost. $15. It does everything I need a robot to do to teach computer science at any level of depth and rigor, it moves by vibration motors, is programmable with C and a visual block language, has infrared and visibile light sensors, and can blink its LEDs. Yes, it would be nice if, as in Silicon Valley, each kid had a tablet computer and a robot equipped with servomotor actuators … but my $15 robot is enough to allow me to give my students the same hands-on experience with technology as the kids in an environment with 80 times the resources.

The $15 Affordable Education Robot (AERobot)
The $15 Affordable Education Robot (AERobot)

The last thing that you don’t know is that it is fun and exciting to be here. I’m sharing things I learned in Silicon Valley because I believe they will be useful here. It is deeply appreciated. I don’t believe, ultimately, Africans are going to create Silicon Valley’s imitation, “Silicon Savannahs”. It will be … something else … I’m curious to see what. I’m hopeful that it will integrate the great strength of African culture, social solidarity, showing us a less fractious path forward for humanity.

Michael Leventhal lives in Bamako, Mali where he serves as Chief Nerdy Development Officer of iNERDE and also leads iNERDE’s computing education program. He may be contacted at mleventhal@inerde.org.

What’s Nerde?

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Welcome to What’s Nerde?, the newsletter of iNERDE, a social enterprise dedicated to creating opportunity for African youth.

iNERDE does speak French, finally!

For the first time, this newsletter is being published in French, alongside the usual English language version. If you’d like to read the newsletter in its sister language, click here.

Given that iNERDE projects take place in french-speaking countries, a little explanation of why this has taken us until now is in order. iNERDE began as an initiative of expatriate Africans studying in the United States. Determined to give back to their home countries, these young university students got together to bring innovative methods of education developed in North America to Africa. However, having become used to using the language of their adopted country, and having, as well, developed a network of English-speaking supporters, iNERDE naturally fell into using English as its working language. We came to recognize that our exclusive use of English made it increasing difficult to be fully connected to the communities we serve. We’re proud to announce that we’ve returned to our roots, with the opening of an office and a permanent learning center in Bamako and that we are, now, officially a bilingual organization.

APPEX : African Program for the Promotion of Educator Excellence

APPEX-Logo_Final

To our Malian friends : mark the date December 17 ! iNERDE is searching for the best teachers in Mali (this year, limited to the region of Bamako). iNERDE will award the prize « Ciwara of Education » to three teachers (from primary, secondary, and university levels) at the APPEX Gala – « A night of elegance and excellence ».

While APPEX is a new iNERDE program, it is integral to our core mission to « change the equation » in Africa, starting from its system of education. There are, among Mailain educators, real heros – a lot of real heros – who give everything for their kids and for the future of their country, often in extremely difficult conditions. A country that understands the importance of honoring its best teachers is a country that is on the path to a prosperous future.

For more information on APPEX in French, click here. Go directly to the french-language web form to nominate a Ciwara candidate here. Nominations are open until November 17.

Coming Soon ! The Grand Opening of the iNERDE Learning Center in Bamako

enconstruction

The iNERDE team is working around the clock to open our Learning Center and office in our Bamako headquarters. It is located in the little « Latin Quarter » of Faladiè alongside the School of Progress, the Ecole Supérieure of Technology and Management, and the campus of Malian Union for the Blind. The Learning Center will boast a climate-controlled Computer Room with 30 desktop computers and a high-speed DSL connection. The preparation of the Computer Room was only possible thanks to a donation from the just keep livin Foundation. The just keep livin Foundation works for the well-being of young people in the United States. It is very unusual for this organization to fund projects outside the United States but it seems that jkl has a particular soft spot for Mali ! EMC Corporation, TechWriters Without Borders, and OvaScience are also valued contributors of hardware that will be essential for our Learning Center.

QuartierSavoir__small

Robots will be the centerpiece of our Learning Center will the creation of iNERDE Robotics Clubs. The Robotics Clubs are the continuation of CodeNERDE, the new programming and robotics bootcamp we launched in the Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016. The Clubs are just the beginning! iNERDE is making plans to train national youth teams to represent Mali in international robotics competitions. We’ll have exciting news to report about this in our next newsletter. Stay tuned!

Ntomo Innovation Academy, 2017 Edition

iNERDE’s STEM summer camp program grew in 2016 with the addition of a second camp, CodeNERDE, for older children. Our expansion will continue in 2017 with new learning modules and a range of activities for an even larger range of ages. To be continued …

Recap Ntomo Innovation Academy, 2016 Edition

CodeNERDE 2016 Graduation

CodeNerde 2016 Graduation

We brought the 3rd edition of our educational camps to a successful conclusion, perhaps even a brillant culmination of our best camps ever. We added lots of new lessons to our core camp around computer science, robotics, the internet, and biology. We launched a new camp for advanced students in programming and robotics, CodeNERDE. And we improved the training of our dedicted teachers, getting all of our lesson plans onto an online platform.

You’ll find lots of information about the Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016 here on our website. There are weekly reports and quite a few videos. The videos are in French (and sometimes in the local language, Bambara), but almost all of them have English subtitles.

Meet us at the Bamako Children’s Conference (SEBA), December 22-26

iNERDE will unveil its Learning Center, the Robotics Clubs, and Ntomo Innovation Academy 2017 at the Bamako Children’s Conference (SEBA – Salon de l’Enfance de Bamako), December 22-26. SEBA is a major national conference for and about the children of Mali. It is sponsored by the Malian Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Families, held at the City of Children (La Cité des Enfants) in Bamako. iNERDE is going to greet the world there at its exhibition booth. We are also going to hold workshops for children and their parents to give everyone a preview of the activities planned for Ntomo Innovation Academy 2017 and the Robotics Clubs. Our program for the coming year will be available, our Learning Center will be open to the public and we will begin accepting enrollments. If you have the good fortune to be in bustling Bamako at the end of December, be sure to be there!

Quoi de Nerde?

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Voici Quoi de Nerde, le bulletin d’iNERDE, une entreprise sociale créant l’opportunité pour la jeunesse de l’Afrique.

La langue française, enfin, à l’honneur !

Pour la première fois, ce bulletin d’iNERDE est publié en français, à côté de sa version habituelle en anglais. Pour lire le bulletin dans sa langue sœur, cliquez ici.

Etant donné que les projets d’iNERDE déroulent en pays francophones, une petite explication de notre retard est due. iNERDE a été commencé comme une initiative d’africains expatriés aux États-Unis. Restant toujours fortement liés à leur pays d’origine, ces jeunes universitaires ont rassemblé pour amener les nouvelles méthodes de l’éducation développés par les américains à l’Afrique. Mais, ayant adopté la langue de leur pays d’accueil, et, en développant les liens là-bas avec les supporteurs anglophones, iNERDE a adopté l’anglais comme langue de travail interne. Mais, nous avons rendu compte que l’usage exclusif de l’anglais nous a éloigné, progressivement, de nos communautés en Afrique. Nous sommes fiers d’annoncer que nous sommes de retour au sein de l’Afrique, avec l’ouverture d’un bureau et un centre éducatif permanent à Bamako et nous sommes, officiellement, une organisation bilingue.

APPEX : Le Programme Africain pour la Promotion de l’Excellence des Enseignants

APPEX-Logo_Final

Les Maliens, notez le date 17 décembre ! iNERDE a lancé la recherche pour les meilleurs éducateurs du Mali (cette année, restreint à la région de Bamako). iNERDE remettra le prix « Ciwara de l’Education » à trois enseignants (de primaire, secondaire ou d’enseignement supérieur) lors du Gala APPEX – « une nuit de l’élégance et l’excellence ».

APPEX est une nouvelle initiative d’iNERDE, mais une partie intégrale de sa mission de « changer l’équation » en Afrique, commençant par son système de l’éducation. Il y a, parmi les éducateurs du Mali, les vrais héros, beaucoup même, qui luttent chaque jour pour ses enfants et pour l’avenir de leur pays, souvent dans les conditions très, très difficile. Un pays qui sait les honorer est un pays sur le chemin vers la prospérité.

Les informations sur APPEX se trouvent ici. On peut aller directement au formulaire pour nommer un enseignant candidat ici jusqu’au 17 novembre.

Prochainement, la grande inauguration du Centre Educatif d’iNERDE à Bamako

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L’équipe iNERDE est en train d’accomplir les travaux acharnés pour préparer notre siège social à Bamako avec son centre éducatif et ses bureaux. Il sera situé à Faladiè, dans le petit quartier de savoir constitué par L’Ecole du Progrès, ESTM, et UMAV (IJA). Le centre éducatif sera muni d’une salle informatique climatisée avec 30 ordinateurs et une connexion internet DSL haut débit. Les aménagements pour la salle informatique a été rendu possible grâce à un don de la fondation just keep livin. La fondation just keep livin travaille pour le bien-être de jeunes personnes aux Etats-Unis. Un don pour un projet en dehors des Etats-Unis est exceptionnel mais il parait que jkl a un faible pour le Mali. EMC Corporation, TechWriters without Borders, et OvaScience sont aussi les contributeurs précieux des équipements qui seront utilisé dans notre centre éducatif.

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Les robots seront les vedettes de notre centre avec la création des Clubs Robotiques iNERDE. Les Clubs Robotiques sont la continuation de CodeNERDE, le nouveau programme de formation en la programmation et la robotique lancé au Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016. Mais, ça, c’est juste un début. iNERDE va former les équipes nationales pour représenter le Mali dans les compétitions internationales pour la jeunesse en robotiques. Il y en aura les annonces intéressantes dans notre prochain bulletin. Restez à l’écoute !

Ntomo Innovation Academy, Edition 2017

En 2016, le programme d’iNERDE s’est élargi avec l’addition d’un deuxième camp de l’été, CodeNERDE, pour les élèves plus âgés. Notre épanouissement va continuer en 2017 avec les modules de formation nouveaux, et avec une gamme des activités pour les tranches d’âge encore plus large. A suivre !

Récapitulation Ntomo Innovation Academy, Edition 2016

CodeNERDE 2016 Graduation

CodeNerde 2016 Graduation

Nous avons mené la troisième édition de nos camps de l’été éducatifs à une conclusion heureuse, voire éclatante. Nous avons ajouté beaucoup de nouvelles leçons autour de l’informatique, la robotique, l’internet, et la biologie à notre camp phare. Nous avons lancé un camp pour les élèves du niveau avancé en la programmation et la robotique, CodeNERDE. Et nous avons amélioré la formation de nos braves formateurs, informatisant tous nos plans de cours.

Vous trouvez le récapitulatif du Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016 sur notre site web ici. Les rapports hebdomadaires sont écrit en anglais, mais les vidéos sont tous en français (et parfois en bambara) avec sous-titres en anglais.

Trouvez nous au Salon de l’Enfance de Bamako (SEBA) 22-26 décembre

iNERDE va lancer son centre éducatif, les Clubs Robotiques, et le Ntomo Innovation Academy 2017 lors du Salon de l’Enfance de Bamako (SEBA), 22-26 décembre. SEBA est une grande conférence nationale sur les enfants du Mali hébergé par le Ministère de la Promotion de la Femme, de l’Enfant et de la Famille à La Cité des Enfants, Bamako.  iNERDE va être au rencontre de tout le monde avec un stand dans les expositions. Nous allons animer les ateliers ou les enfants et leurs parents peuvent avoir un avant-gout de nos activités planifiés pour Ntomo Innovation Academy 2017 et les Clubs Robotiques. Notre programme sera disponible, notre centre éducatif accueillera le public et l’inscription sera ouverte. Si vous avez le plaisir d’être à Bamako la fin de décembre, ne le manquez pas !

Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016 – Week 1

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iNERDE Summer Camps
2016 – Week 1

N’tomo Innovation Academy (NIA) organized an intensive teacher-training session with the Local Teachers (LT) during the first week of July. Each local teacher is from one of our local partner schools: École du Progrès, Ecole Publique de Badalabougou, École de la Paix, École des Castors, and Groupe Scolaire Dianguina Coulibaly. Our Empowerment Agents (EA), young women and men who help with the instruction, were also trained at that time. They went through the different exercises in the curriculum and performed several dry runs to ensure that everyone understood the spirit of the NIA knowledge transfer process.

 

Our third year of summer camps and we couldn’t be more excited! Click here to see the video of our launch on Facebook (French only)!

On Saturday, July 9th, the 2016 NIA Launch Event took place! The students, our future “Nerds”, arrived dressed up and eager to learn more about the upcoming activities! The VP of iNERDE-Mali, Mohamed Sangaré, gave a warm welcome speech followed by a young representative of the Cité des Enfants. Next, our Chief Nerd, Mohamed Kanté, gave an inspiring address. Program information was given and a camp alumni gave testimony. The event concluded with words from M. Diamant, the Director of Ecole du Progrès.

This week, we will learn a bit of what happened at the camp in Bamako, Mali. The theme for this year is Trans4M: What will you Transform? Inspired by the characters from the popular Transformer movies, the students are each assigned to one of four classes: Bumblebee, Starscream, Optimus Prime, or Megatron.

The first day was a busy one! The students were we welcomed in the Parlement des Enfants theatre by Chief Nerd Mohamed Kante as he introduced the LTs, EAs, and the onsite iNERDE Core Team members to the kids as well as reviewed the activities to come. They also had a delicious meal (Tchiepboudjene) especially cooked for our future scientists. The students are very excited to learn and transform the world!

The NIA summer camp is all about learning new things from various learning styles and fun activities! Rayelle Itoua Maïga, a PhD candidate in Biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, introduced them to the world of Science. Mohamed Niang, Director of Network Reliability at Orange Mali, highlighted the importance of mathematics in science to our students by sharing his personal story and career path as a telecommunication engineer. This theme was continued through a documentary on Alan Turing, an English mathematician who helped defeat the Nazis during World War II by inventing a decryption device called BOMB.

These are just some of the highlights of the first week. We look forward to bringing you more information next week!


Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016 – Week 2

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iNERDE Summer Camps
2016 – Week 2

First, we are pleased to announce that both iNERDE and Mohamed Kante, Chief Nerd, were nominated for recognition by African Youth Excellence, Inc., a research and youth advocacy organization committed to developing an honing the skills and talents of young Africans between the ages of 18-35, particularly in the areas of art, education, information technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and humanitarianism. iNERDE was presented with the Organizational Award for continued pursuit of excellence at their award ceremony held on July 23rd, in Worcester, Massachusetts!

In attendance and accepting the award for iNERDE were (from left to right) Chinmaya Gogineni, Director of Products and Technology,
Maya Ba Cisse, Branding and Business Strategy, and Rakibou Ouro-Djobo, Chief of Nerdy Operations.

Lots of news from our camp in Senegal this week! The first week had been amazing with treasure hunts and various projects to get the students to understand the process of conception and engineering. One project had them coming up with ways to entertain the inhabitants of a village that has no electricity.

Week two was a science extravaganza for the students! They learned the concept behind molecularium, blew up balloons using baking soda and vinegar, and extracted the DNA of an onion. The students gained a new understanding behind the conservation of water and purified water themselves using sand and gravel. In addition, they were introduced to PowerPoint, worked on a solar car, and built houses. It was a great week for the students with amazing interactive projects and team building. They also went on a field trip to RTS, touring the inside of a television studio and meeting journalists!

The Mali camp had some local challenges this week with a few of the students falling ill, heavy rains (though they were a much appreciated relief from the summer heat), and an attack on an army base which claimed 17 lives and put the whole country on a state of alert. However, teachers and volunteers rose to the occasion and ensured care and activities for the students. A special note of thanks to one of our volunteers, Rayelle Maiga, as she concludes her time at the Mali camp and returns to the US.

In addition, one of the parents made a generous donation and conveyed that this was not the last show of gratitude that would come from the parent community. The love and support has been greatly appreciated by the iNERDE team.

More news to come next week!


Ntomo Innovation Academy 2016 – Week 3

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iNERDE Summer Camps
2016 – Week 3

iNERDE and our very own Chief Nerd, Mohamed Kante, were just featured in an online publication with The Innovative Science & Technology Group (ISTG), a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of science and technology in under-served communities primarily within the US and Africa. Read the article and discover more about Mohamed, the origin or iNERDE, and our current programs and challenges!

The camp at Senegal concluded this week with laughing, playing, and a few tears. The students made kites, built catapults, and learned the concept behind Newton’s apple. They wrapped up various projects and created a PowerPoint presentation.

iNERDE Senegal’s Graduation Ceremony was enjoyed by the students who proudly showed off their projects to parents and guests.

Students at the camp in Mali had another busy and exciting week.

The students in Mali had two field trips this week. They visited the hydroelectric dam at Energie du Mali and the national TV station ORTM (office de radio-diffusion television du Mali) where they got a behind-the-scenes look at the technology behind broadcasting. Join the kids on the bus ride to ORTM by clicking on this link to go to the video on our Facebook page.