AfrikaBot: Design of a robotics challenge to promote STEM in Africa

Hannelie Nel, Michael Ettershank, Johan Venter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for high school learners in developing countries is a challenge for two significant reasons: equipment for education is expensive and complex, and economically-marginalized youth must be integrated in pre-engineering programs to prepare them for technical programmes at university. The goal of establishing AfrikaBot is to prepare high school learners to study engineering at the University of Johannesburg; thus to train teenagers from disadvantaged communities with no prior experience in STEM to participate in a challenge to build and program a robot. Also, AfrikaBot aims to equip teenagers from low-income households with technology and entrepreneurial skills in a repressed economy. AfrikaBot achieves the above with a build-it-yourself robot that can be used after the competition to invent systems with real world applications. Anticipated long-term outcomes of the AfrikaBot program will influence the structure of future robotics challenges, and promote a higher number of technical candidates from marginalized communities. By transferring enabling technology skills in a fun and engaging way, participants will rapidly build the confidence to pursue careers in STEM fields. Participants can also acquire entrepreneurial skills that may lead to the establishment of new businesses and the creation of local jobs in both the formal and informal sectors in Africa. This paper presents the organizational and physical design of AfrikaBot, a robotics challenge that will be held in the latter half of 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Collaborative Learning - Proceedings of the 19th ICL Conference - Volume 2
EditorsMichael E. Auer, James Uhomoibhi, David Guralnick
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783319503394
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event19th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2016 - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Sept 201623 Sept 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
ISSN (Print)2194-5357


Conference19th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • AfrikaBot
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Robotics
  • STEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science


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