By: Editorial Team
Seventeen-year-old Nigerian student, Saviour Okusenogu, is passionate about making a positive difference with technology. He wants to ignite a similar interest in science and engineering in other students from developing countries so they can find innovative solutions to some of the problems they face.
Saviour hopes his project, “Become Inspired in Science and Engineering Technology”, will be the spark these students need. As one of the winners of Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change, he’s already well on his way to making this happen.
During his first year of university, Saviour attended a series of workshops where Aiki partner for Microsoft, Sola Amusan, told students about Challenge for Change and encouraged them to sign up. The contest is aimed at encouraging young people who are already doing amazing things, as well as those with big ambitions, and just need a little help to take action.
“I had noticed that most students were too preoccupied with academic activities, and making no time to develop innovations,” says Saviour. “When I heard about Challenge for Change I knew it was the perfect opportunity to begin my project and get funding for it to inspire other students with technology.”
After competing against thousands of entries from more than 100 countries, Saviour was made one of the 10 grand prize winners. He received $2500 to help turn his dream into a reality, as well as the opportunity to serve as a Microsoft YouthSpark Advocate and take advantage of YouthSpark training and resources. And, while the other winners went on a leadership-development trip to Nicaragua, Saviour elected to go to Kenya instead.
“The trip to Kenya was awesome,” says Saviour. “We spent most of our time learning about the social issues in a community in the country and we also volunteered to build classrooms for the community. It opened my eyes to viewing problems from a different perspective and has given me new ideas for impactful solutions.”
During his trip, Saviour also learned about the five pillars a community needs to grow: education, healthcare, clean water and sanitation, agriculture and food security, and alternative income. He hopes to use technology to make a difference across these pillars. “I’ve learned a new perspective for looking at problems and coming up with solutions. I’m even considering these key pillars as a module in my project,” he says.
Saviour feels that being one of the Challenge for Change winners has given him the tools to transform his ideas and dreams into reality. He hopes to be able to expand his project throughout Nigeria and other African countries to show students like him the possibilities of science and engineering.
He echoes our beliefs at Microsoft that the combination of technology and young people can change the world. “I believe that whatever you do, technology can have a positive impact. It is a secret ingredient that anyone needs to have a better and easier life. If everyone agrees to embrace it and improve it, the world would surely be a better place to live in.”